Ok, before we talk about make-up, we HAVE to talk about skin care.
We have to have a good foundation to apply the make up to. What good does it do us to just cover up our bad skin? It doesn’t help and can actually make your make up/skin look worse than it is. If you have underlying problems with your skin, such as acne, you are more prone to over apply your concealer and foundation which can cause a “caked on” appearance. We don’t want that. We also want our foundation and concealer to match our skin tone. If we have an uneven skin tone from scars, age spots, or general discolorations and dark spots, this can be very challenging.
There are 3 basic steps to BASIC skin care:
1) Cleanse/exfoliate 2) toner/astringent 3) moisturize/protect
As far as technique goes, just be sure to do everything in an UPWARD motion. This goes for everything from washing your face- to applying foundation. Pulling/tugging on the skin causes WRINKLES and we don’t want those. And lastly, do not forget about the skin on your neck!
So let’s get into some skin care regimens for different skin types:
Acne Prone Skin
Acne is caused by bacteria on the surface of the skin infect a hair follicle and can cause small bumps in the skin. Acne is characterized by areas of skin with seborrhea (scaly red skin), comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), papules (pinheads), pustules (pimples), Nodules (large papules) and possibly scarring. Usually occurs on areas of the face that are prone to oil. The oil (sebum) and bacteria get clogged inside of the follicles causing pain and inflammation. It can be difficult to treat for the more serious acne cases and those require prescription therapy if over the counter products do not adequately control it.
Any deep cleansing face wash will do. As long as it can get dirt and oil off of the skin really well. You must cleanse TWICE A DAY, morning and night.
Every time you cleanse, follow with an astringent that contains 2% Salicylic Acid. Put some on a cotton ball, and in an upward motion, gently rub against your face. This will get rid of dirt and excess oil that your cleanser possibly left behind. Also, the salicylic acid will cause the cells of the skin to shed more readily, opening clogged pores and neutralizing bacteria within the pores, preventing pores from clogging up again by constricting pore diameter, and allowing room for new cell growth.
Apply a light weight moisturizer with SPF protection that won’t clog your pores (non-comedogenic). This should be done TWICE A DAY after you apply your toner/astringent. Just because we are African American does not mean that our skin is not sensitive to sunlight or that we are at less risk for developing skin related cancer. If you have problems with your skin becoming dry while using the face wash and astringent, you can use a heavier moisturizer.
At night time, apply a cream that has 10% Benzoyl Peroxide. This goes on after you moisturize. This helps to kill the bacteria that cause acne. It should only be applied at night time because the skin has a tendency to become more sensitive to sunlight while using this product which could result in sun burn.
If improvement is not seen within a few weeks, you may need prescription therapy and will have to see a dermatologist.
If you have a breakout, do NOT pop them! That will only lead to scarring! Leave them be and continue follow your skin care regimen.
The only problem with having oily skin is that you are prone to more break outs and black heads because the skin is over producing oil/sebum. If you are like me, you may have large pores in your skin and they get clogged really easily with oil and dirt if you do not have a proper regimen. Oil usually accumulates in the T-zone of the face (forehead and nose) and that is where most break outs occur, but can also occur anywhere else. Some of us have Combination skin where the only oil is in the T-zone and the rest of the skin is normal.
Cleanse the skin with a deep cleansing face wash. Any brand you decide on is fine. Do this twice daily to help with removal of oil and dirt.
Apply a toner/astringent to this skin after cleansing. Do this twice daily. This toner doesn’t have to contain salicylic acid unless you also have recurrent breakouts.
Apply a lightweight moisturizer twice daily
Ok, so I know the lady in the picture is Caucasian, and we aren’t, but most of the time dry skin occurs in Caucasians rather than African Americans! But for the few of us who might have dry skin, I wanted to touch on that issue as well.
Dry skin is bad! Skin needs a certain amount of oil and moisture to function properly and maintain its’ integrity. If you have this type of skin it is usually tight, itchy, flaky, or can appear to be ashy.
Use a mild cream based or moisturizing cleanser to remove dirt. This will remove dirt but replace oil and moisture at the same time.
Use a heavier moisturizer after cleansing. This website has some recipes for making your own moisturizer. http://1stholistic.com/Beauty/skin/skin_dry.htm
I don’t recommend a toner or anything with salicylic acid because it can be overly drying for people with dry skin. For an occasional break out, use the Benzoyl Peroxide cream.
This is just a basic and quick beginner approach to skin care. I’ll cover more advanced techniques like exfoliation, dermabrasion, correcting dark spots, and wrinkle treatments in the next post.