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The Best Ways to Care For Your Melanin: Five Top Tips

Life can be very stressful, both on a micro and macro level. While one person worries about how best to prepare for that big presentation that will get them that promotion, many others have the uneasy feeling of what the future entails for us all, as the COVID pandemic remains ever-present. Stress, worry, and anxiety are not conducive to our internal or external health. One external organ that is especially at risk is our skin.

Everybody has different skin types that range from normal, to combination (normal and oil), too oily, which requires different types of care. We can all benefit from a steady care routine, especially as black women, seeing as black skin contains more melanin than other skin tones. Different skincare routines benefit different skin tones due to the structure and function of skin, but these are 5 top tips that are beneficial, regardless of your shade, and can be done whilst working from home or for those returning to offices:

1. Cleanse and moisturize daily

To ensure your skin stays radiant and soft, it is essential that you cleanse and moisturize it daily after having a shower and use cleansers that do not clog your pores to avoid acne.

Massage the cleanser into your skin with clean fingers in a circular motion. Once done, rinse your face with warm water and dab your face clean with a towel that you use specifically for your face.

As black skin loses moisture faster than lighter skin tones, make sure that you use a moisturizing cream directly after that contains softening agents like glycerine.

2. Always wear sunscreen

It is a big misconception that black skin does not burn and therefore does not need sunscreen. Although black people are less likely to get skin cancer from exposure to the sun, there is a higher chance of dying from the condition if it does develop; probably due to the condition being hard to spot.

To avoid skin damage, use a waterproof sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 to ensure protection from ultraviolet and VB rays. Incorporate sunscreen in your beauty routine as often as you can, regardless of the weather, to really protect your skin. Face creams with SPF are available in pharmacies like Walgreens and Sephora if you’re in the USA or Superdrug and Boots if you’re in the UK.

3. Eat a balanced diet

We all know the saying – “you are what you eat.” Truer words were never spoken. Good skincare starts from the inside out. To give your skin the goodness that it needs to grow and repair itself, make sure that you eat a healthy diet that consists of:

  • fruits and leafy, green vegetables like green apples, broccoli, and spinach

  • whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and wholewheat bread

  • lean meats like eggs, fish, and chicken

  • healthy fats that come from avocado, dark chocolate, and olive oil

4. Drink lots of water

Drinking water aids the cells in every part of the body to get hydrated through the bloodstream. Skin is our largest organ and needs water to stay hydrated and flush out toxins.

Water benefits the skin in many ways. One powerful way is it improving your skin tone. Studies show that drinking just two glasses of water increases your blood flow, which evens out tone so imagine what you’d achieve if you drink the recommended 8 to 10 glasses a day.

It also prevents premature aging due to the hydration of water, helping to increase the elasticity of the skin because of the moisturizing properties of water. The more water you drink, the more your skin stays moisturized which ensures elasticity. This helps to delay the sagging of the skin and keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay.

5. Exercise regularly

Anyone who is a fan of running on the treadmill in the gym, stretching out on a yoga mat, or going for morning jogs has a secret only physically active people know: the benefits of exercise go far beyond keeping slim and building muscle. Every cell in the human body benefits from physical activity.

Working up a good sweat with exercise is the equivalent of a facial at the spa. Exercise causes your pores to dilate, and sweat helps to remove dirt and oil that are trapped in the pores (which are the causes of acne). Cardio is a sure-fire way to improve blood flow all over your body as increased circulation dilates your blood vessels which gives your skin cells more nutrients and oxygen and leaves you with healthy, glowing skin. Ideally, it’s best to aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, but if that’s not possible due to a busy schedule, engaging in physical activity twice to thrice a week is a good alternative.

Following these five tips will guarantee your skin remains soft, supple, and clear and keep people wondering what keeps you looking eternally young.

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