Melanin-Rich Skin: Understanding the Needs of Diverse Skin Tones

Melanin-Rich Skin: Understanding the Needs of Diverse Skin Tones

The Needs of Melanin-Rich Skin

Melanin-rich skin is beautiful and appears in many shades and hues. From Issa Rae to Vanessa Williams, skin tones rich in melanin are some of the most memorable in the world. The hashtag #melanin on Instagram is mentioned in over 20 million posts. Additional variations, such as #melaninpoppin #melaninqueen, and #melaninonfleek, collectively have over 15 million posts. People are searching, celebrating, and accepting darker skin shades, which, for centuries, were under-celebrated. Along with commemorating melanated skin comes the special responsibility of caring for its needs.

What is Melanin?

All skin has melanin, and the more it has, the darker it appears. According to the Cleveland Clinic: "Melanin is a substance in your body that produces hair, eye, and skin pigmentation. The more melanin you produce, the darker your eyes, hair, and skin will be. The amount of melanin in your body depends on a few factors, including genetics and how much sun exposure your ancestral population had." Skin rich in melanin is one of the determining factors in how you care for your skin.

Caring for Deeper Shades of Skin

When caring for melanated skin, focus on products that hydrate and protect. Only some  ingredients are suited for deeper skin tones, and there are ones to avoid when shopping, such as sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors, and fragrances. Alcohol-based ingredients should also be avoided because they strip moisture from melanin-rich skin. Naana Boakye, MD MPH and the director of dermatology at A-Frame, shared this advice with LOVED01 regarding what deeper skin needs. "Keep your skincare routines simple. I always recommend a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen." The LOVED01 line uses Sea Buckthorn and Rose Hip Oil for their lipid and antioxidant profile. However, the brand also leverages other plants i.e. shea butter and coconut oil, for their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant profiles." 

You can keep your routine simple when you understand your skin's needs. You will also have fewer issues with inflammation, which can be of significant concern. Dr. Boake also shares: "When it comes to melanin-rich skinned individuals, common conditions that I see in my practice are inflammatory conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis, dyschromia and alopecia."

"Keep your skincare routines simple. I always recommend a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen."

Melanin-Rich Skin Needs Protection

Melanin-rich skin is unique since it is both delicate and robust. Deeper skin tones offer more protection from the sun's ultraviolet rays, but the chances of dying from melanoma (skin cancer) are three times higher. Adding sunscreen will protect from ultraviolet rays (UV) from the sun and blue light (HEV) from electronic devices such as cell phones and computers. In the past, people with darker skin tones thought they didn't need sunscreen, but this is untrue. Sunscreen is essential for protecting melanin-rich skin from the sun. Let's celebrate melanated skin's beauty by ensuring its needs are addressed.

 Author: Karim Orange