No matter your skin tone, you’re bound to experience breakouts and blemishes here and there. And while each skin tone carries its own unique qualities, the factors that lead to imperfections are the same. Still, how your skin reacts to blemishes in the aftermath – from dryness to scarring – can vary greatly depending on pigmentation intensity..
It’s all in the melanin
What determines skin color? It has mainly to do with the manufacture of melanin by melanocytes. The darker the skin, the higher the concentration of melanin. However, the physiological characteristics of fair and dark skin are exactly the same.
What really causes imperfections ?
We often hear that dark skin is more prone to acne, but this is not the case. As many people with fair skin as with dark skin consult a dermatologist about acne. “The factors are above all environmental or hormonal. The mechanism is always the same: abnormal keratinisation in the opening of the sebaceous gland. The sebum does not secrete properly, it accumulates and forms comedones, blackheads and microcysts.”
As soon as sebum collects on the skin, pores dilate, the complexion becomes uneven and skin can appear shiny. Redness becomes more visible on fair skin and superficial epidermic lesions can cause persistent, pigmented marks on darker skin – known as post-inflammatory pigmentation with an overproduction of melanin. However, not all dark skin is oily. Thus, it’s essential to keep skin hydrated to avoid white marks and discomfort.
Choose skincare products wisely
Blemishes and imperfections don’t stand a chance with those tips. Above all, remember to be gentle with your skin to keep it looking radiant. What products do dermatologists recommend?
The No. 1 rule is to choose products that are suitable for sensitive skin and non-comedogenic. “This is essential, whatever your skin color. If your skin is prone to acne, use a purifying cleansing gel beforehand and treat spots as soon as they appear: if you prevent the spot from getting worse, you’ll avoid residual marks. To do this, apply a moisturizing spot treatment to prevent and treat all imperfections.”
Need more ammunition to battle against blemishes and keep imperfections away? Use a mild scrub once a week if skin is not irritated, or at longer intervals if skin is dry or itchy. Protect yourself from the sun as much as possible. If you have dark skin, you may not think you need sunscreen but rest assured: the sun will only provoke angry blemishes. And what do you do if you’ve already started breaking out? Above all, don’t touch them, don’t try to squeeze them. “Apply a treatment that isolates the pimple from bacterial contamination and only go out in the sun with sunscreen on. A few hours are all that’s needed to avoid secondary infection and persistent scarring for up to 18 months on dark skin.”