Vitamin C is available in several percentages, usually ranging from 10 to 40, and they are all safe to use on melanin-rich skin. “However, generally speaking, when dealing with sensitive skin, higher percentages of vitamin C can be more irritating,” says Dr. Ofodile. Lean towards 5% or less if that sounds like you. Dr. Boakye agrees that a lower percentage is better for sensitive skin because the skin barrier is already compromised.
The antioxidant is often available in serum form. We love the four-time Best of Beauty award winner SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serumwhich also contains vitamin E for hydration and ferulic acid to brighten the skin and stabilize vitamin C. A more economical option is the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Vitamin C Intensive Serum.
The skin-lightening agent hydroquinone can be controversial. Its use in over-the-counter products was curbed in 2020 with the CARES Act, which classified it as a prescription drug – before that, you could only buy products containing a maximum of 2% hydroquinone. But it can still be prescribed by dermatologists for short-term treatment to effectively reduce hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase.
While it can work magic on hyperpigmentation, it can actually darken your skin if you don’t use it correctly, says Dr. Boakye, which is why only dermatologists can prescribe it. “When used continuously for months or years, one may develop paradoxical darkening of the skin, a condition called ochronosis,” says Dr. Ofodile. She recommends using it for less than 12 weeks at a time, then taking a 12-week break after that.
Use SPF 30 and above
Talk to your mom, but melanin can burn: sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more is 1000% necessary to avoid sunburn, hyperpigmentation or counteract the good you’ve done with the ingredients mentioned above. -above. Reapply every two hours to protect your skin and the investment you’ve made in your routine.
No one wants to look like Casper the Friendly Ghost after applying SPF, but these three sunscreens won’t leave a white plaster. Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 has the texture of typical thick, white, creamy sunscreen, but blends in entirely to reveal dewy skin. Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+ is completely transparent so you can easily rub the stick across your face without looking ready for the casket. If you want to be even brighter, go for Melē No Shade Sun Oilwhich delivers SPF 30 in oil form as the name suggests.
People of color have always been excluded from beauty brands, so it’s understandable that people are reluctant to believe that certain ingredients work on their darker skin. Let this be your sign that you have nothing to fear, now that you are equipped with the knowledge to bolster your skincare routine.