Many of us have been told that we look years younger than our actual chronological age, and we have melanin to thank for that. This is because melanin provides inherent sun protection, which makes sure we are aging well. However, we are not entirely off the hook and need to take care of our skin as we grow older. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to make sure our aging skin stays beautiful.
What Does Melanin Do for Aging?
Melanin is the pigment in everyone’s skin and is produced by your body to protect against sun damage. For people who have naturally higher levels of melanin, they benefit from less sun damage, which is the single biggest contributor to aging skin. It is well known that melanin protects you from the earliest signs of aging skin – fine lines and wrinkles. Research shows that – depending on your skin tone – melanin offers an average SPF protection level of 13.4,which is a great starting point to make sure your skin is aging well. People with melanated skin show the first signs of aging 10-20 years laterthan people with less melanin. But melanin is only part of the explanation for why melanated skin ages well.
What Does Melanin Do for Aging?
Melanin is the pigment in everyone’s skin and is produced by your body to protect against sun damage. For people who have naturally higher levels of melanin, they benefit from less sun damage, which is the single biggest contributor to aging skin. It is well known that melanin protects you from the earliest signs of aging skin – fine lines and wrinkles. Research shows that – depending on your skin tone – melanin offers an average SPF protection level of 13.4,which is a great starting point to make sure your skin is aging well. People with melanated skin show the first signs of aging 10-20 years later than people with less melanin. But melanin is only part of the explanation for why melanated skin ages well.
Other Reasons Why Black Don't Crack
Melanin plus these factors are why the saying “Black Don’t Crack” is true.
The dermis is one of the deeper layers of the skin, and it is full of the collagen that gives skin a smooth appearance. One of the features of aging is the layers of the dermis get thinner as it loses collagen, which leads to wrinkles and skin laxity. People with melanated skin have a thicker dermis that is associated with the darkness of their skin. As a result, this dermal structure reduces the appearance of skin wrinkles.
Another hallmark of aging skin is it’s dry and looks dulls. People with melanated skin are twice as likely to have oily skin and many adults with deeper tones are battling acne and wrinkles at the same time. While the natural oils they produce can cause breakouts, they also protect the skin, keep it hydrated and help prevent wrinkles.
The last reason is due to how we treat our skin. Sun exposure and sun damage are the primary causes of premature aging. While everyone likes to feel the sun on their skin and will tan from time to time, Black people are the least likely to tan, use tanning salons and experience sunburn that leads to skin damage.
Aging Like Fine Wine with Melanated Skin
Another feature of melanated skin is our propensity to develop dark marks. These marks are often caused by acne and other skin damage, but the underlying mechanism is a result of the inflammation from that damage. As a result, while melanated skin may not show age with fine lines and wrinkles, it does show age with marks, changes in texture and tone and dullness. As a result, the best anti aging products for black and melanated skin will target reducing inflammation with a combination of antioxidants, nourishing skin care and sunscreen.
Celebrities seem to never age, but you can be sure they follow the basics for a healthy lifestyle, which shows in their skin.
Sleep. Get your needed 7-9 hours per night and establish a consistent sleep routine. Recent research found that sleep deprivation is mid-life is associated with dementia in your later years. So, you are not just trying to avoid those bags and dark circles under your eyes, you are also protecting your brain function.
Hydration. We often hear about drinking water to help with our skin, but is it also helps with energy levels, sleep and mental performance.
Eat a Plant-Rich Diet. Maintaining a healthy weight is easiest when you fill up on fruit and vegetables, rather than meats and starches. Plus, they are rich in antioxidants that help fight inflammation throughout your body, including your skin.
Move. Whether it is stretching, walking or cycling, daily exercise helps your mood, helps with blood flow and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Avoid Toxins. This usually applies to alcohol, drugs and tobacco but I also include sugar. Sugar is known to create an addicted response in people, and high levels bind with collagen in your skin to create inflammation that breaks it down leading to skin laxity.
The Best Anti Aging Skin Care for Dark Skin
Ageless beauty starts with a regular skin care routine and for melanated skin it needs to target dark marks and hyperpigmentation.
Sunscreen is the first (and most important) part of a skin care routine for ageless beauty. There is some debate about the benefits of sunscreen for preventing skin cancer in Black people,but there is no doubt that sunscreen helps prevent dark marks and the sun damage that leads to wrinkles.
Retinol is an ingredient that’s been used by physicians for decades for its anti-aging benefits. Since it is in so many products, you may have asked what does retinol do for your skin? It promotes cellular turnover which helps build collagen, reduces wrinkles and is excellent for lifting dark marks and treating hyperpigmentation.
Our Night Oil is also made with Vitamin C, an excellent antioxidant ingredient that brightens (not lightens) skin, builds collagen and helps fade dark marks.
We've combined our Moisturizing Sunscreen and Retinol Oil into a Day and Night Bundle that is perfect for anti aging, lifting dark marks and preventing sun damage.
There are certainly many MANY other products that can be recommended for an effective anti-aging skin care routine (I’m looking at you eye creams), but sunscreen, retinol, and Vitamin C are an excellent start for the basics and will take you far in getting healthy skin at any age.
Lastly, how you care for your skin at home is important, but you can also enlist the help of a skin care professional who can offer treatments that range from peels to laser treatments to fillers. The key is to make sure your person is experienced in caring for melanated skin and understands the unique approach to anti-aging for dark tones.
by Dr. Anne
AbsoluteJOI is a physician-founded skin care brand with a science-based approach to the needs of people over 35 with all skin types and tones. Developed by physician researcher, Dr. Anne Beal, our products are formulated and tested for sensitive skin, while addressing dyspigmentation, the first sign of aging for many people. Our philosophy is not to focus on anti-aging, but to celebrate all ages and stages and to help our customers age beautifully, while celebrating the confidence and wisdom they’ve gained with time.
Each product combines natural and clinically effective ingredients for healthy skin. We use NO parabens, phthalates, sulphates, or skin bleach. And we use no perfumes or dyes to offer pure and clean products good for all skin types, including sensitive skin.