It sometimes takes a lot of work to look good, as a black man maintaining that perfect tone and luster sometimes can be a lot especially if you don’t know how to properly take care of your skin. I am in that space of total ignorance on how to care for my skin… So… I decided to do something about it. I researched; spoke to a couple of Dermatologists among other sources. So relax. I am sharing my findings in an easy to do skin care routine to keep us Black Kings Shinning.
Black men face challenges that other ethnicity don’t. You might suffer from dry skin, no matter how much you moisturize. Or you could continuously be getting razor bumps when you shave, which can look like acne. And a lot of black men suffer from hyper pigmentation, which is when you get dark spots and an uneven skin tone. The routine and products you choose depends on your skin type.
Knowing your skin type is the most important factor in your routine. This will allow you to customize the products you use. There are five skin types.
- Normal – not oily, dry, or sensitive
- Dry – skin gets tight and flaky. Also sensitive.
- Oily – you often feel oil on your face, even after washing. You might also have breakouts.
- Sensitive – you get breakouts after being in the sun or using certain products. You end up with bumps, itchy skin, and sensitivity.
- Combination – forehead and nose are oily, but the rest of your face stays dried out
Once you know your skin type, you want to find the right products. It’s best to avoid harsh chemicals and toxins that are mostly found in stores. Instead, look for products that have natural ingredients.
If you have dry skin, look for cosmetics that contain essential oils like cedarwood, sandalwood, jasmine, or lavender. For oily skin, oils like tea tree oil, lavender, or cedarwood work great. Other ingredients that can keep skin healthy include shea butter, argan oil, or jojoba oil.
Once you’ve found the right products, now it’s time to set up your skincare regiment.
Step 1 – Cleanse
The first step in your skincare routine should be cleansing (washing) and it is the most important. It’s essential to clean your face twice a day: once in the morning and again before bed. If you have oily skin, some experts recommend carrying a small bottle of face wash so you can clean your face midday. But this might not be practical for some of us, depending on your schedule and job.
When washing your body, experts recommend using lukewarm water, limiting your shower time to less than 15 minutes at least one time a day, however in Nigeria with souring temperatures and humidity I would recommend 2 times a day and using the right cleanser to keep from drying your skin out. Deodorant soap which often has perfumes, can be harsh on your skin. Best to only use this type of soap for your underarms, feet, and genital area.
Natural soap will work for the rest of your body. But not your face. It’s important to use a face wash that’s suitable for your skin type. Cream cleansers work better for sensitive or dry skin; whereas foaming cleansers are better for oily or normal skin.
To wash your face, apply your cleanser and rub your face in small circles with your fingers for 60 seconds. Be sure to get everywhere. This gentle massage will clean your face, as well as help heal any acne breakouts and reduce hyper pigmentation.
Step 2 – Exfoliate
I know what you’re thinking. You’re a man and men don’t exfoliate. Well, let me tell you, brother, you should. Your skin sheds dead skin cells at a rapid rate. If you don’t remove these cells, they can become embedded in your pores. Clogged pores can lead to acne, blackheads, and weak hair growth.
If you often experience razor burn after shaving, it could partly be because you aren’t getting your face clean enough. Exfoliating before and after shaving will reduce the appearance of razor bumps, as well as bring any ingrown hair to the surface.
Exfoliation loosens the hair follicles, which allows the hair to come out easier when shaving. Otherwise, the hair might be tugged free from the force of the razor, which can cause irritation and ingrown hairs. Exfoliating after shaving will prevent the hair from curling back into the skin, which also causes ingrown hair.
For the rest of your body, you only need to exfoliate two to three times a week. You can use an exfoliating scrub or a facial brush but avoid rubbing too hard – especially if you have sensitive skin because this could lead to irriation, inflammation, puffiness or skin damage.
Step 3 – Tone
Most men just like me have no idea what it means to tone, I tought it was a subtle way of bleaching. A good toner will finish cleaning your face of any leftover residue from your soap, exfoliant, or shaving soap. It also strips any oils or dead skin cells that are clogging your pores. Keeping your pores clean will reduce acne breakouts.
Another benefit of using a toner is that it shrinks your pores. And it keeps your pH levels balanced, which is a crucial step in keeping your skin properly hydrated. It can also prevent ingrown hairs due to the glycolic or other alpha hydroxyl acid ingredients.
Although toner is primarily for your face, you can also use it on areas that are prone to breakouts or excessively oily. Toner should be applied to freshly cleaned and dried skin using a cotton ball or pad. Rub the material across the surface using gentle upward motions, applying everywhere. Let the toner dry, and you’re ready for the final step in your new skincare routine.
Step 4 – Moisturize
As a black man, you’ve probably gotten used to having dried-out skin. But you can fix it by adding a moisturizer to your skincare routine. Not only will your skin be soft, but you’ll also reduce flakes and lose that ashy look. Moisturizing also reduced wrinkle, so you’ll look as young as you feel.
Picking the right moisturizer is as important as choosing your shoes. I may sound like a broken record by now but select a product made of natural ingredients! Your skin will thank you. You would also want to find the right one for your skin type. If you an oily face, look for a moisturizer that’s oil-free or mattifying. For dry skin, it’s better to pick a cream that does not contain alcohol.
You’ll need different moisturizers for different areas such as:
For Around Your Eyes
The skin around your eyes is more sensitive than the rest of your face, so you need to use a separate moisturizer. Consider using a men’s eye cream that has anti-inflammatory properties. These ingredients will help reduce bags under your eyes and any other puffiness around the lids. And it helps get rid of and prevent, wrinkles
For Your Face, Neck, Or Head
You should use a moisturizer on any part of your body that you shave. An alternative to facial moisturizer is to use a moisturizing aftershave, which nourishes the skin and reduces inflammation after shaving. Avoid aftershaves with alcohol or menthol.
For All Over
For the rest of the body, you can use an AHA or Alpha Hydroxy Acid, moisturizer once daily. These moisturizers are made from fruits and other natural ingredients, so they’re great for your skin.
Sun exposure can cause you to age faster than you want, regardless of how dark your skin tone is, so it’s essential to be concise about using SPF. There are face and body moisturizers that contain SPF in them.
Sunscreen If you’re going to be outside for a lot of the day, you should use sunscreen instead. Look for one that has skin hydrating ingredients, as well as zinc oxide. You want a product that has at least SPF 50.
Following these 4 easy steps will help you ensure your skin is clean, smooth and healthy. Now shine
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