Specifics of coloured skin
Our dermatologist explains:
"Ethnic skin contains the same amount of melanocytes as Caucasoid skin, (melanocytes are cells located in the bottom of the skin's epidermis), but it contains different amounts of melanosomes, which produce melanin, what gives skin its colour. They exist in far greater amounts in coloured skin, they're bigger and they exist all over the epidermis. This is what gives ethnic skin a more intense colour."
Collagen fibres and fibroblasts are denser and more compact in the dermis, which means that ageing occurs much later in coloured skin. The most common skin complaint in coloured women is acne, according to our dermatologust: "Acne is the most common problem, not because ethnic skin is more prone to it but because it causes more damage to coloured skin than it does to Caucasoid skin. After spots, ethnic skin is prone to pigmentation and patches."
Dos and don'ts
Ethnic skin is better adapted to the sun: it sweats and hydrates itself naturally, a bit like internal air conditioning! However, when exposed to a cold, dry climate, this mechanism becomes less effective and the skin loses its protective hydrolipidic film and its natural radiance, often becoming dull and grey-ish.
Our dermatologist says: "There are certain products that aren't recommended for ethnic skin. I don't think regular exfoliation is ideal, though once in a while it can do your skin good as long as you use a gentle exfoliator. Peeling masks/wraps are generally okay, but you should never use just any old product on your skin. It's important to see a dermatologist to find out what's right for you. Laser treatment doesn't always work on ethnic skin and can even cause permanent depigmentation, so you need to be careful."