In honor of Black History Month, Master Licensed Esthetician, highlights some of the wonderful qualities of more melanin-rich skin and the key strategies of caring for it long-term!

Master Licensed Esthetician Emily Trampetti

Hello dear friends and readers, recently I had a little chat with Master Licensed Esthetician, Emily Trampetti and she shared with me very important tips for protecting your skin.

Here they are:

Master Licensed Esthetician and founder of Skin Property Virtual Esthetics, Emily Trampetti, about how to take care of melanin-rich skin? Emily has been featured in Well + Good, Puckermob, Medium, The Well Well, StyleCraze, and more!

Melanin is what gives your skin its uniquely special color. For the most part, the ingredients and types of products needed to address skin concerns remain the same regardless of skin color. While different ethnicities have unique skin care needs, there are also cultural, genetic and environmental factors that can influence the specific needs that people may have. It's important to keep in mind that even within similar skin tones and shades, skin care needs can vary widely

Emily is a skincare expert and strategist that provides her clients with advice and product recommendations based on their personal needs, life situations, varying emotions, and seasonality changes. She can provide expert insight and commentary into all things skin-related, but this month, we take a deeper look at skincare for POC in honor of Black History Month. 

In honor of Black History Month, Emily’s Master Licensed Esthetician, Emily Trampetti

Skin comes in a large variety of color shades, mostly derived from genetics and place of origin. Melanin, a substance produced by our skin, is the key to unlocking this color - along with our hair and eye color as well. Its main function is to protect us from the sun by absorbing harmful UV radiation by producing pigment onto the skin’s surface. In those of us with darker skin, there tends to be more melanin produced, which by many is believed to be determined from our ancestral place of origin. Generally speaking, darker skinned individuals’ ancestry can be commonly traced to sunnier and warmer climates, where the production of melanin needed to be higher to protect the body from UV damage.

Darker-skinned individuals also have been observed to have slightly more hydrated and lubricated skin, which can help slow the aging process and prevent skin dehydration. This is often one of the most important qualities in keeping skin healthy, strong and maintaining a youthful appearance.

And although these qualities are worth celebrating - slower aging, less sun damage - dark-skinned individuals need to create focused skincare strategies to prevent the downsides of a more melanin- and oil-rich complexion, and that is preventing excess pigmentation disorders, inflammation and even adult acne. Here are my top tips for protecting all of my beautiful brown complexions out there:

  1. Always wear sunscreen daily. 

Although your melanin offers you some protection, it can easily be “over stimulated” to create unwanted pigmentation and dark spots like other complexions. In fact, the darker your skin is, the more prone your skin will be to over-producing melanin, leading to various unwanted dark patches and spots. The best way to prevent this is to wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ each day. To avoid an ashy or white cast appearance, opt for a tinted sunscreen or chemical-based sunscreen as many of the mineral sunscreens will leave a white cast on your skin.

  1. Avoid skin trauma of any kind. 

Because you have more “sensitive” melanin-production, even the smallest of internal disturbances can trigger hyperpigmentation and/or melasma. UV radiation is one trigger, but there are many other triggers that can activate the process of melanogenesis (pigment being released by the skin) including hormonal changes, medications, cuts, scrapes, wounds, scratches, bruises, bug bites, piercings, tattoos, lasers, and more invasive skincare treatments, etc.. This is also why skincare professionals need to be much more cautious with dark skinned individuals as it is extremely easy to trigger unwanted hyperpigmentation through inflammatory body responses.

  1. Use a tyrosinase inhibitor

These are specific skincare ingredients that have been proven to help regulate or reduce the over-activity of melanocytes in the skin. In other words, they can help to prevent hyperpigmentation and brighten the appearance of the skin. Some great examples of such skincare ingredients are stabilized vitamin C (look for tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ethyl ascorbic acid), arbutin, kojic acid, bearberry, and retinoid like retinol and retinaldehyde.

  1. Use the right cleanser and moisturizer for your oil production

For more oily–prone dark skins, it is imperative to be in the cleansers and moisturizers. The trick is to find the right balance of oil control and hydration. Work with your esthetician to determine the right products for your individual skin type, and evaluate every season.

  1. Opt for gentle, no downtime treatments

Since dark skin is more prone to hyperpigmentation and inflammation, it is usually best to avoid more aggressive or invasive treatments. Today’s skincare technology is becoming much better at protecting our more “melanin-sensitive” clientele, but it is still best to play it safe as it is easier to prevent damage than correct it. So in lieu of lasers, microdermabrasion, microneedling and advanced chemical peels, look for no downtime peels, LED acne light treatments and targeted anti-age electrotherapy like ultrasonic and microcurrent.

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