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5 Skin Care Solutions for Melanin-Rich Beauties

Black don’t crack, but excess shine, hyperpigmentation, melasma and other skin issues can interfere with our melanin magic. Pro tips from top derms and makeup artists.

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Black don’t crack, but it tends to be more prone to excess shine, stubborn hyperpigmentation, melasma and other skin conditions that can prevent your melanin magic from fully thriving. Some good news? All of these conditions are treatable with the right combination of products and a few trips to your trusted dermatologist, who can personalize a routine for your skin’s specific needs. Read on to find out how you can target some of the most common skin issues melanated sisters struggle with.

Ashy Skin

In some instances, ashy skin could be a sign of an underlying disease, including psoriasis and eczema, but it’s usually brought on by external factors, including cold weather. While ashy skin can be embarrassing, the solution is pretty straightforward. Take shorter showers using lukewarm water, moisturize daily and drink plenty of water. To amp up the moisture, a humidifier can help, especially if you live in a dry climate and/or if you have central heating. Lastly, regularly exfoliate your body to get rid of dead skin cells, which can also make your skin appear ashy. Mention this and any other skin changes to your doctor if nothing helps.

Three body butter options: Buttah Whipped Body Butter ($29;, Skin Buttr Au Natural ($14; and Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Body Butter ($7;

Two humidifier options: Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier ($40; and Pure Enrichment MistAire Silver Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier ($40;

Three body scrub options: Zandra Simplicity Exfoliating Sugar Scrub ($21;, Kaike Sugar Scrub ($15; and KynCare Peach Bomb Foaming Sugar Scrub ($18;

Dark Circles

Lack of sleep, allergies and eating too many salty foods can often be the culprit of dark circles under the eyes, but sometimes it’s just plain ole genetics. That’s when color corrector comes in. “Correctors cancel out [discoloration] that concealers can’t hide like dark circles, dark spots, acne scars and even sunspots,” says makeup artist Shawntay Fisher, who’s worked with Ava DuVernay, Jasmine Guy, Tamela Mann and Robin Roberts. Pro tip: Orange cancels out dark circles on brown skin, but peach is better suited for lighter complexions.

Three options: Black Radiance True Complexion CC Palette ($10.50;, M.A.C. Studio Fix Conceal and Correct Palette ($36; and L.A. Girl Pro Conceal Set Orange, Yellow, Green Correctors ($9;


You can make pesky dark spots disappear faster with vitamin C and sunscreen, according to DiAnne Davis, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at North Dallas Dermatology Associates in Dallas, Texas. When the sun’s harmful rays hit your skin, it responds by producing more melanin, and in turn, making hyperpigmentation worse. “Vitamin C helps to inhibit an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is responsible for melanin production,” says Davis.

Two options: Bolden SPF 30 Brightening Moisturizer ($28; and The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow-Protect Lotion SPF 30 ($23;


Triggered by hormonal changes or too much sun exposure, melasma mostly affects women of color. The condition causes brown or gray patches across the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin and above the upper lip. While melasma sometimes goes away on its own, it can be chronic for others. Treatment often includes sunscreen, but a dermatologist who specializes in skin of color can prescribe topical creams to lighten the affected areas and even out skin tone. Laser therapy, chemical peels and microdermabrasion are also options if fading creams don’t work.

Two sunscreen options: Supergoop!  Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 ($34; and EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 ($37;


Sebaceous glands, which produce sebum (aka oil), tend to be more active in Black skin, according to Davis. Oilier skin comes with a few perks like being slightly more resistant to wrinkling, but it’s still annoying to deal with, especially while wearing makeup. Good to know: “If you strip your skin of all of its essential oils, then your oil glands will kick into overdrive to try to moisturize and hydrate your skin from the inside out, which can lead to acne breakouts and even oilier skin,” says Davis, who prefers foaming and hydrating gel-based cleansers for oily skin. Gel- and lotion-based moisturizers containing ceramides and hyaluronic acid are most compatible with oily skin. Underneath makeup, prep your skin with a mattifying primer and pick an oil-free, long-wearing foundation. For touch-ups, a little powder goes a long way if it’s finely milled.

Two cleanser options: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser ($10; and Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser ($9;

Two moisturizer options: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel ($26; and L’Oréal Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care ($18;

Two primer options: Black Up Perfect Mattifying Primer ($44; and Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer ($32;

Three foundation options: Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation ($38,, Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation ($38; SPF 15 and Marc Jacobs Beauty Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation ($28;

Three powder options: Sacha Cosmetics Buttercup Compact ($12;, Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics Loose Mineral Rice Setting Powder ($26; and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Power ($39;