Regardless of skin type, a basic skin care regimen should consist of gentle cleansing, proper moisturization, and sun protection. Some people might be a little surprised that I would add ‘sun protection’ even for people with darker skin. To understand why, we have to understand a little about why we have different skin colors.
The specialized cells in the skin that make pigment are called ‘melanocytes.’ Regardless of our skin color, all humans have basically the same number of melanocytes. The difference lies in how active these cells are and the type of pigment produced. This level of activity is under genetic and hormonal control. Melanin, the pigment produced by melanocytes, is our natural sunscreen. Melanin provides only about an SPF 4 but when you have brown skin, you never forget your natural sunscreen and there is no need to reapply. This explains why skin cancer is less common in people with darker skin.
However, the consequence of having more active melanocytes is that inflammation caused by even small amounts of UV radiation in sunlight can trigger them to produce extra pigment. This can lead to discoloration and uneven skin tone which is among the most common concerns I hear from my patients with darker skin.
Sunscreen can help prevent the inflammation caused by UV exposure. There are a number of good sunscreens on the market today that provide excellent protection with out creating a pasty residue on brown skin. The potent antioxidants in Baobab Skin Correction Cream are formulated to go even further to help the skin fight inflammation and to help improve the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone.
Christopher V. Crosby, M.D., Ph.D., FAAD, FACMS