Melanated Skin Has Different Moisture Needs - What To Look For In Your Skincare Products

Moisturizing is crucial for those of us with melanated skin. Dry and flaky skin can cause issues like discoloration, which is more noticeable than on lighter skin tones. This happens because the skin creates a grey cast that often looks splotchy and rough when it lacks moisture. However, buying a random moisturizer is not always the best solution. If the cream does not meet our skin's needs, it could be a waste of money.

Esthetician and Klur founder Lesley Thornton explained to Who What Wear that people with darker skin have specific needs that require attention. "Black and Brown skin can be more prone to certain skin concerns, such as hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone," she said. To find the best moisturizer, it's important to ignore marketing promises and focus on the formulation. "Look for ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin C, or licorice extract, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, and non-aggressive acids that can exfoliate the skin without stripping or irritating," she told the publication. Although this may seem like a lot, using a product that caters to your skin's needs can make a significant difference.

Why are these ingredients important for melanated skin?

Targeted ingredients can immensely improve your skin health in the long run. Skin expert and aesthetician Dija Ayodele explained to Vogue that melanated skin needs ingredients like ceramides for optimal health. "Black skin holds fewer ceramides in its upper layers. Ceramides are a bit like a waterproof jacket and they help keep the skin waterproof – if you don't have enough of them, you're going to be losing moisture, so Black skin tends to be clinically dry."

Creating a skincare routine that focuses on moisturizing can address a variety of skin problems. According to The University of Tennessee Medical Center, keeping skin healthy and moisturized can balance it and prevent issues like acne and intense oiliness or dryness. If adding ingredients like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide doesn't help, it may be time to see a dermatologist. There could be underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Skincare ingredients to stay away from

The goal is to always have melanin-safe skincare, but it can be difficult if you don't know what to avoid. Kiran Mian, DO, FAAD, a medical and aesthetic dermatologist, explained to Refinery29 that darker skin responds uniquely when exposed to certain things. "Those with darker skin are also more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation because of their increased melanosomal activity, and therefore should be more careful when using caustic or irritating skin-care ingredients." To avoid this skin issue, it's best to stay away from ingredients such as alcohol, sulfates, and fragrances.

It's important to note that while this advice applies to many people, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Erica Douglas, a cosmetic chemist, elaborated on this to Refinery29, saying, "Individual reactions to products can vary regardless of skin tone and melanin levels, so it's important to understand your skin's needs, type, and sensitivities as a complete package and not just one trait, such as melanin."