Q: I am an African American woman and would love some tips for naturally caring for my skin. Thanks!

MyChelle Dermaceuticals licensed esthetician Catie Wiggy replies:

This big, beautiful world we live in encompasses people from all walks of life and numerous ethnic groups and cultures. Each group tends to have certain generic characteristics with regards to eye, hair and skin color. Skin can be the fairest of fair to a rich, beautiful, dark hue and everything in between – and here at MyChelle we believe all skin colors are uniquely beautiful!

shutterstock_45359452There are a few misconceptions about skin care for women of color. Some of those misconceptions include the ideas that dark skin tones don’t need to wear SPF, or all African American skin is “oily.” Guess what?  False and false. Darker skin does naturally provide some protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays, but don’t count on that on its own. Skin cancer is less common but can in fact be more deadly to those with darker skin. Start each day by applying a sunscreen or moisturizer with an SPF 15 to 30, and always reapply sun protection while in direct sunlight.

MyChelle’s Replenishing Solar Defense SPF 30 will repair and avert photo-damage brought on by the sun’s rays while maintaining protective moisture. ZinClear™ is a non-opaque zinc oxide which provides natural protection against both UVA and UVB rays without harsh chemicals, and it doesn’t leave a milky white residue on the skin. A blend of kukui and macadamia oils combine with red algae to reduce the look of lines and wrinkles brought on by environmental stress. Tip: Use with a hydrating serum (like our Ultra Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum) and skip your cream for a lightweight effect.

What about the myth that darker skin needs vitamin D, and therefore you should avoid sun protection? Wrong! Everyone needs sun protection. UV rays damage the skin and lead to aging, hyperpigmentation, and (in some cases) skin cancers. It’s true that darker skin colors and specifically African Americans tend to be deficient in vitamin D, but somehow the terrible rumor that you should skip sun protection to help your skin manufacture vitamin D started. This is just flat-out false.

You see, in the body, vitamin D is produced by sun exposure. The body uses ultraviolet rays from the sun to manufacture vitamin D within the layers of the skin. Melanin (pigmentation, which gives the skin its color) protects the skin against ultraviolet light. When blocking the sun’s rays through natural increased melanin (pigmentation) or a sun protection product, this disrupts the skin’s ability to activate vitamin D. Therefore, the darker your skin, the less vitamin D you produce.

Furthermore, research shows it is increasingly apparent that vitamin D supports other areas of health. Don’t skip sun protection in order to get your vitamin D; instead, make sure you are getting enough vitamin D through foods and supplements. Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about what recommended daily doses of vitamin D you should be taking.

Now, how about that other misconception – the one that says that dark skin is always oily? Again, not true! Skin color does not indicate your skin type. First thing’s first: Determine what your skin care goals are (to increase hydration, minimize pores, decrease wrinkles, etc.) By determining what your skin care goals are, you can determine what your skin care needs are. Next, be consistent with your regimen. Develop a good morning and evening routine, and look to add serums and treatments that specifically address your goals.

OK, so when does skin color play a role in your skin care needs? The answer is, when it comes time to pick out your cosmetics! Finding the right color and consistency for your skin is important for looking natural and feeling beautiful.MyChelle has created a wonderful mineral makeup line that is suitable for all skin types. We have a complete set of foundations, blushes and concealers to naturally match and adjust to your skin’s tone and color.

All three mineral concealers are excellent neutral shades designed for all skin tones. They counter the reds and pinks of blemishes as well as dark circles and purples under the eyes. For women of color, our Solar and Terra concealers are perfect options. Solar is just right for medium skin tones with a yellow hue, and is a good complement to the Cashmere and Latte foundations. Terra, designed for dark skin tones, is a great complement to the Chai and Coco foundations

Our exceptional Cream Foundation provides sheer matte coverage for a beautiful, polished, finished look that is light and fresh. This foundation brightens your complexion, evens skin tone, and diminishes the appearance of fine lines due to the light reflecting qualities of micas and silica. Latte looks great on Mediterranean, Latino, fair-skinned African American, or mixed-race skin tone. This is a great olive hue that neutrally blends into a variety of skin tones. Chai is an earthy tone infused with warm that is caramel perfect for a fair-skinned African American, or darker mixed-race skin tone. Coco is a scrumptious shade packed with delightful chocolate hues perfect for giving darker skin tones a warm, healthy glow.

Packed with nourishing plant-based oils, this glamorous foundation comes in a convenient, portable, cream-based package that provides a savvy option to messy mineral powders. These standout cosmetic products will consistently deliver a beautiful, natural finish for normal, combination and dry skin.

At MyChelle, we work to develop the most efficacious skin care with the highest quality ingredients. Nature didn’t cut corners when she made the ingredients we use in our beautiful skin care products. Not only do we use nature’s most effective ingredients, but we also skillfully and scientifically combine them to create unmatched, visible results—ones you won’t get from anyone but MyChelle. We have infused these products with amazing ingredients that will ensure their performance exceeds your expectations – no matter what your skin type or skin color happens to be.

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thumbnail-2Catie Wiggy is Innovative Programs Manager for MyChelle Dermaceuticals. She has been working in the skin care industry for over 10 years as a makeup artist and licensed esthetician. She holds several certifications in esthetics and has hands-on experience with chemical peels, microdermabrasions, acne management and anti-aging treatments.