To a great extent, the amount of pigment in one’s skin dictates their beauty concerns
It may not come as a surprise that different skin tones tend to come with distinctive sets of concerns. Rosacea and redness, for example, typically plague those with less melanin, while more melanin can translate into a dull or ashy complexion. One issue all complexions face, however, is sun protection. Yes, every single person should be wearing SPF daily. “People with dark tones can burn, get skin cancer and notice a worsening of their dark marks or the onset of uneven skin tone,” says Dr. Susan Taylor, Harvard-educated dermatologist and founder of the skincare line Rx for Brown Skin.
To Taylor, the biggest difference between lighter and darker skin tones is hyperpigmentation. While most anyone can—and probably will—experience dark marks or spots due to acne scars, sun or any other damage to the skin, they can be dramatically worse the more melanin someone naturally has in their complexion. “Any type of injury to the skin, rash or even surgery or cosmetic procedure can lead to dark marks,” says Taylor. “An additional difference is how easily darker skin can become irritated or inflamed, which may lead to even more inflammation.” Her Rx products directly address these issues with soy, a complex called MFA and brightening ingredients including melanostatin to combat dark marks; pomegranate to decrease inflammation; and hyaluronic acid to deal with ashen and dull complexions.
Since darker skin can be sensitive, Taylor recommends avoiding any product “that is irritating or that causes itching, tingling or burning of the skin.” But, she adds, acne must be treated aggressively as early as possible—and without irritating skin—to help stave off those dark marks. Fortuitously, those with melanin-rich complexions can forget wrinkle-busting formulas as “darker skin usually does not have fine lines or wrinkles, so those products are not necessary,” says the derm. While paler skin battles wrinkles as the main signs of aging, Taylor says she finds sagging and uneven skin tone more important for darker skin. The moral? Knowing the struggles of one’s skin tone can have a dramatic impact on how you treat it.