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Facts and Myths about African American Skin Care


Facts and Myths about African American Skin Care


There are so many myths that need to be dispelled about the skin of people of color. Here we discuss a few of the myths, and provide some tips to explain what you can do to protect and maintain your skin and hair.

Myth 1: Black skin can soak up exposure to the sun without causing any short or long term damage.

The Facts: While it is true that the pigment in black skin protects it from the sun, the UV rays can still cause damage to our skin. While we are less likely to get deadly skin cancers than our lighter skinned counterparts, they do occur. And because we have bought into the myth that black people don’t get skin cancer, we are less likely to be screened, and get a later diagnosis and treatment. In fact, some melanomas are much more deadly for people of color.

Myth 2: Black skin has all the moisture and oil it needs naturally, so there is no need for a moisturizer.

The Facts: Some black men and women have what would be called oily skin, because it often has more and larger sebaceous (oil) glands. While the skin may appear shiny or oily, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require a moisturizer.

Myth 3: Natural hair needs less care than relaxed hair.

The Facts: It is true that chemical relaxing does break down the structure of your hair in order to straighten it. Without proper application of the chemicals, or conditioning and protection from styling heat, the hair can become extremely fragile and prone to breakage. It is similarly important to treat hair in its natural state with the same amount of tender loving care. Keep your natural hair washed and conditioned. Make sure you’re using the right leave-in products in order to lock moisture in. It is also a good idea to use a wider toothed comb on natural hair to prevent tearing, tangling and breakage.

Myth 4: You can wash a permanent relaxer out of your hair.

The Facts: A relaxer changes the texture of the hair permanently. The only way to rid yourself of a perm is to let it grow out. Depending on how much new growth you have at the roots, you may want to cut your hair to the new growth, and wear a short hair style. Or you can trim away at the ends until your hair grows out. Many women wear braids, extensions or locks while they patiently wait for their perm to grow out.

Myth 5: Black don’t crack.

The Facts: The idea that black skin does not get wrinkled because of its level of pigment is absolutely a myth. While it may not be as prominent as with white skin or very fair skin of color, black women do get fine lines, smile lines and crow’s feet. That’s why it is important to take good care of skin while you are young, and be just as vigilant as you age. Keeping your insides hydrated by drinking water, and keeping the skin cleansed, exfoliated and moisturized is really important to maintaining its appearance.

Myth 6: The new procedures are not for women of color.

The Facts: Procedures designed to keep skin looking its best are great options for women of color. In my practice we see women of all ethnicities come in for Botox, fillers, collagen injections and microdermabrasion. Some procedures, such as laser treatments, can scar or cause hyperpigmentation to skin. So ask your dermatologist what treatments are best for your skin.

For anyone of any skin tone, it is vitally important to take the time to examine your body for new growths such as moles. Pay attention to any moles or scars that change color or size. Also check between your fingers and toes. Report any suspicious growths or changes to your dermatologist right away.

Also keep in mind that eating healthy is an important part of having great looking skin and hair. We often don’t get enough of the essential vitamins and nutrients we need to have strong healthy nails, hair and glowing skin. A vitamin designed to provide nutrients to the skin, hair and nails, along with your multivitamin, may be just what the dermatologist ordered.

To find out more about Dr. Marcy Street and what Doctor’s Approach Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center can do for you, visit us on the web at

About Dr. Marcy Street and Doctor’s Approach Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center: Doctor’s Approach is a full-service medical and surgical dermatology clinic with a cosmetic medical spa. Our dermatology practice has been well established and respected for over 15 years, with patients visiting from all over the Midwest region. Our mission is to provide the best in cutting edge, comprehensive care and services in a relaxing and nurturing environment.

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