Spring has officially sprung!
And while many people are thinking about decluttering their space and breaking out sundresses and shorts, they may forget that their skin care regimen could use some spring cleaning, too.
Dermatologist Brooke A. Jackson, M.D., told The Huffington Post a few key things people of color should be doing to ensure our skin, our body’s largest organ, remains glowing and healthy through the seasonal changes.
From sun protection to getting rid of discoloration, the North Carolina-based doctor has five necessary tips that keep your melanin on fleek this spring and summer.
1. Lighten up your routine
Just as you change your wardrobe, you should change your products. Put away the jars of heavy body butters and creams, and opt for something lighter, Jackson advises.
“You start wearing shorts and T-shirts and so you should do the same with your products,” she said. “So generally we recommend in the winter time, you use a big jar of something you actually scoop. And in the spring and the summer, you can go a little bit lighter with something that has a little bit more lotion; like Vaseline Cocoa Radiant is a good choice because you still get the moisturizing effect because it’s got the micro droplets of Vaseline jelly and 100 percent pure cocoa butter in it but it’s not quite as heavy as some other jar products are.”
2. Stay moisturized
We tend to do more activities that can dry out our skin in the summer, like going to the beach or taking a dip in the pool. Jackson told HuffPost that it’s important to moisturize afterward, especially after being exposed to chlorine, which is “very, very drying.”
In addition to lathering up in the morning, she said swimmers should rinse all of the saltwater or pool water off and use lotion. Jackson said this doesn’t just apply to people who swim but people with certain skin conditions as well.
“Generally, I would say you should moisturize once to twice a day depending on what’s going on with you,” she said. “Certainly, if somebody has drier skin or if they’ve got eczema, they probably need a little bit more moisture and so two full moisturizing processes a day would be great … A lot of people during the spring and summer will probably do just fine with the once coming out of the shower in the morning.”
3. Go with your own glow
Despite the widespread myth, black people do need sunscreen. Jackson said this idea probably stemmed from people of color historically being excluded from certain medical research.
“Historically we focused on sunburn and a direct correlation between sunburn and skin cancer and so therefore [the message was only] our fair-skinned counterparts get it,” she said. “That message has been loud and clear for many, many years but [there’s an assumption that] people who have darker skin tend not to burn.”
If you’re going to chase the sun, protect yourself, she said.
“I think it’s really important to make sure that we are all sun protecting ourselves because it is not out of the realm of possibilities that skin cancer will develop,” Jackson explained. “So going with your own glow, not actively seeking tanning at the beach or just going out for a run, just making sure that you’re sun protected.”
It also doesn’t hurt that sunscreen can help get rid of discoloration.
4. Remember less is more
One product that locks and seals moisture is better (and more practical) than a cabinet full of products that you hardly use. Jackson said people should pick a product that can do multiple things for you and stick to it.
“Keep your regimen simple,” she said.
5. When all else fails, see a doctor
Dermatologists have the answers specific to your skin that your favorite YouTube vlogger may not have. Jackson said many of the skin problems people of color face (discoloration, hyperpigmentation, etc.) can only be healed by getting to the root of the issue.
“I have a lot of patients who try everything under the kitchen sink and then with their girlfriends and everything on the internet and they don’t make an appointment with a dermatologist who can help them out in 10 minutes or less,” Jackson said. “Discoloration is a huge issue with skin of color and we get discoloration from any inflammatory condition, acne, eczema, etc., so again, a reason to make sure that you’re getting the treatment that you need to make sure that that is controlled is because 9 times out of 10, the number one complaint of patients with skin color is I want an even complexion and I want this discoloration to go away.”
Jackson also said since black dermatologists aren’t accessible to everyone, it’s important for people with melanin to ask if their dermatologist knows how to treat darker skin.
Now, go forth and prosper with a fresh glow to your skin.