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How To Treat Your Melanin-Rich Skin

by Sheila Patel |

When looking for skincare to keep it healthy, hydrated and glowing strong, it's difficult to find the right mix for melanin-rich skin. A common set of products targeted to darker skinned people, especially brown girls like me, are fade & whitening creams to make your skin fairer.

THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANT OR NEED. Besides this being terribly offensive and fueling systemic racism by defining beauty by the color of your skin, it is harmful to your skin too! So, I felt I could do something about it and I did.

I created face masks that are safe for ALL skin types and ALL levels of Melanin, but work very effectively on melanin-rich skin. EVERYONE produces melanin at different levels, so I thought it would be helpful to shed some light to its power, the common skin concerns with melanin-rich skin and explain how my products help reveal your beautiful brown glow.

 

SO, WHAT IS MELANIN?

mel·a·nin: a dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in people and animals. It is responsible for tanning of skin exposed to sunlight. It's nature's way of painting people and animals...I find the process beautiful.

People have three types (thank you Web MD for breaking this down for us!)

  • Eumelanin makes mostly dark colors in hair, eyes, and skin. There are two types of eumelanin: brown and black. Black and brown hair come from different mixes of black and brown eumelanin. Blonde hair happens when there’s a small amount of brown eumelanin and no black eumelanin.
  • Pheomelanin colors the pinkish parts of your body like the lips and nipples. You get red hair when you have the same amount of pheomelanin and eumelanin. Strawberry blonde hair happens when you have brown eumelanin and pheomelanin.
  • Neuromelanin Controls the colors of neurons. It isn't involved with the coloring of things you see.

 

DOES EVERYONE HAVE IT?

EVERYONE has the same number of melanocytes, but some people make more melanin than others. If those cells make just a little bit of melanin, your hair, skin and the iris of your eyes can be very light. If your cells make more, then your hair, skin, and eyes will be darker.

THE POWER OF MELANIN

PROTECTION: Melanin protects your skin in a couple of ways.

1) It helps prevent damage caused by free radicals. Melanin actually helps to block the activation of free radical chemicals and neutralize them from causing damage.

2) When you're in the sun, your body makes more melanin. It may help protect the body from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays which can help prevent age spots, wrinkles and burns caused by sun damage.

DEWY SKIN: Melanin's free radical fighting helps to retain skin's moisture too!

I loved this little read...The Untold SuperPowers Brown People Possess Thanks to Melanin

SKIN CONCERNS SPECIFIC TO MELANIN RICH SKIN & HOW TO TREAT THEM

Pigmentation/Dark Spots: While higher melanin production can help protect the skin and prevent sun damage, dark skin is more likely to develop pigmentation problems. Even minor skin injuries, such as bug bites, can cause your skin's pigment to change resulting in dark spots or hyperpigmentation. And, when exposed to the sun, your body may over produce melanin thereby darkening the scars...so wear sunscreen - no matter your skin color.

How to treat it: Our bestselling Street Rose kaolin clay mask helps to even skin tone and reduce dark spots. Kaolin clay is a gentle clay that cleans skin of impurities and naturally brightens skin tone. Street Rose is also loaded up with plant-based goodies like Oat, Vitamin E, and Allantoin to even & smooth you out.

Eczema in Darker Skin: Most people think of eczema as a red, dry, and itchy rash – how it appears in light skin. However, in brown or black skin, this redness may be difficult to see. Eczema tends to look darker brown, purple or ashen grey in color. Darker-skinned people also may experience more pigmentation change due to eczema. The healed skin may look darker or lighter than the surrounding normal skin. To learn more, I found this to be a great source: Eczema in skin of color: What you need to Know.

How to treat it: 

Hustle & Glow is a wonderful hydrator for melanin-rich skin. It is enriched with plant-based moisturizers like Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Jojoba, Olive Oil & African Acacia that are great at battling dry, patchy skin, tightens pores to protect skins moisture, and leaves skin glowing in all it's beautifully colored glory...all without clogging your pores.

Acne & Dark Skin: Acne can occur in any skin type. But due to its link to hyperpigmentation, it is of greatest concern for people with dark skin. Acne develops when there is an overproduction of oil in the skin. That oil mixes with bacteria within the pores and blocks the pore openings. This causes inflammation which results in what bumps, pimples, breakouts. The trauma to the skin itself can cause pigmentation but often the medicine used to treat acne can cause unwanted hyperpigmentation on people of color. 

How to treat it: Our clay face masks use ingredients that are gentle and effective. We love using plants as they have less of the effects that some aggressive chemical skincare treatments can have on skin, especially skin of color.

We use kaolin and/or bentonite clay to keep pores clean. That is essential in clear skin health. The natural exfoliation properties of these clays allows your skin to be free of impurities, dirt, and excess oil which can lead to acne or trauma to the skin and cause further pigmentation. In addition, the clays have natural brightening properties that will help even skin tone as it gently deep cleans your pores.

Try our best seller Street Rose which is infused with kaolin clay for a deep cleanse that is gentle enough to use multiple times a week.

Want more info on acne & skin of color?  The American Academy of Dermatology has 10 tips for clearing acne in skin of color.

Melasma: Melanin is the pigment that defines the color of a person's skin, and melasma is caused by an increase in melanin production. Like hyperpigmentation, exposure to the sun can worsen melasma, but often women of color get it during pregnancy or when using oral contraceptives.  

How to treat it: To treat melasma, many companies push lightening and whitening creams, which can be dangerous. We like ingredients like Vitamin E, Allentoin and Vitamin C to keep melasma in check.

Street Rose is a beautiful cleanser that can help with melasma as it is enriched with kaolin clay, which not only cleans skin of impurities but also brightens skin tone naturally. In addition, this face mask is infused with Vitamin E and Allentoin to treat dark spots as you cleanse.

Pairing this mask with Hustle & Glow is a great way to keep your skin glowing and even. It is infused with Vitamin E as well as a natural gold mica which gives skin an even glow.

If you need something targeted, look out for ingredients such as grapeseed oil, vitamin E, and vitamin C in your products to restore skin to a healthy even tone.

We love your melanin rich skin and are here to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to email us at hello@graffiticollective.com.

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