Skin solutions for dark complexions

Pro secrets for treating the skin you’re in

marie claire Contributor / May 25 2017

There’s no one skin care routine that suits everyone. It’s important to adjust the products you use to suit your skin type. For dark complexions, the good news is that according to an Olay study, women of African descent age ten years slower than those of Caucasian heritage. The higher melanin content means darker skins can withstand the damaging effects of sun exposure better than those with paler complexions. Despite this, darker skin still requires TLC. Here’s how to prolong and protect a youthful glow when you have dark skin.

Your biggest skin concerns

Melanocytes (melanin-forming cells) create pigment to protect skin from cancers and creasing, but these cells can go into overdrive due to inflammation. The result? Dark marks, pigmentation and uneven texture. These are problematic, as are “pores and blackheads”, explains Dr Véronique Delvigne, scientific director at Lancôme.

Skin care treatment tips

Regular exfoliation, refining serums and masks help keep pores and blackheads under control and smooth the skin’s surface, but don’t overdo it. “African-American skin is also sensitive, so doing too much can lead to inflammatory pigmentation,” warns Dr Delvigne. Avoid harsh cleansers and scrubs and opt for gentle milk or cream formulas and brightening serums. Dark spot correctors boasting lightening agents like vitamin C and niacinamide will help fade unwanted spots. To refine texture and even tone, incorporate AHAs into your evening routine. These will plump up a parched complexion and dissolve dead skin cells, minimising the appearance of pigmented areas.

Benefits of dark skin types

“This skin type has mostly positive attributes and ages very, very slowly,” says Dr Delvigne. “A recent study found that 32 is when Caucasian skin shows the first signs of crow’s feet and eye bags, while for African Americans it’s 47 and 62, respectively.” The reason? Thicker skin has greater resistance to movement (particularly important in terms of wrinkles), while more melanin offers natural UV protection, so photoageing is less apparent.

Lancôme DreamTone Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector

Chanel Précision Purifying Cream Mask

Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Retinoid Eye Repair

A beauty editor and vitamin C fanatic who has worked across a range of print and digital publications, including Stellar, marie claire, Gritty Pretty and Badlands Journal.