The Black Skin Myths Holding Us Back

June 15, 2022

It’s summertime again, and we are officially outside, y’all! Since most of us can remember, we’ve heard all sorts of lore about our distinctive melanin skin, but where do the myths end and the facts begin? It’s no secret that melanin is underrepresented in the beauty industry, which can lead to misinformation and confusion.

In celebration of the season, we’re setting the record straight on some of the most common myths about Black skin. 

Fun in the Sun

You’ve probably heard at one time or another that Black skin does not need sunscreen due to high amounts of melanin. The fact of the matter is, Black skin does burn, and Black people are four times more likely to be diagnosed with advanced-stage melanoma than their white counterparts. 

“Like every other skin tone, Black skin does need to apply a minimum SPF30 for protection against UVA/B rays. Although dark skin already has a head start with sun protection due to the melanin, it isn’t enough to rely on this alone, and without adequate protection, dark skin is prone to diseases like skin cancer too,” says Dija Ayodele, aesthetician and founder of the Black Skin Directory. (via Harper’s Bazaar)

That brings us to our next myth: that the sun charges Black skin to keep our melanin poppin’. Another dangerous misconception that goes hand-in-hand with the sunscreen fallacy is also false. The beautiful truth is that our bodies naturally produce melanin. Overexposure to the sun without protection does nothing but harm to the complexion. 

Pro-tip: If you’re looking for a sunscreen designed with melanin in mind, check out Buttah Skin.)

Black Can Crack

We’ve all heard the age-old adage, “Black don’t crack.” While melanin skin may show fine lines and wrinkles at slower rates than the skin of those with lower amounts of melanin, Black skin requires special care to keep it looking its absolute best. 

“Whilst there is a little truth in the fact Black skin will have different concerns to white skin thanks to [smaller] collagen bonds (which mean wrinkles don’t form as easily), this doesn’t mean Black complexions should be excluded from aging skin care discourse,” explains Dr. Ewoma Ukeleghe, cosmetic doctor and founder & CEO of SKNDOCTOR. (via The Zoe Report)

As Dija Ayodele says, “Black will crack if you slack.” Work with a skincare professional who’s knowledgeable about melanin skin to help you create a regimen that works for the skin you’re in. 

Flashing Lights

Hyperpigmentation and discoloration are two of the biggest concerns for melanin skin. Laser and LED therapy are two modern state-of-the-art treatments that can help relieve these conditions and rosacea (which, contrary to popular belief, does affect darker complexions and non-melanin skin) and can help to firm and tighten skin. 

Unfortunately, there has been a misconception that Black skin can not undergo these treatments, which is not valid. 

These days, technology is advancing faster than ever, and these treatments can be utilized on Black skin under the care of an experienced and knowledgeable skin professional.