“If somebody has beautiful skin, it invites us to a deeper understanding as to what is going on inside their body” – David Wolfe

How radiant and beautiful your skin appears, will always be a sign of your entire well-being. And one thing people of color should always be thankful for is the gift of a skin that doesnโ€™tย easilyย crack. With adequate skin care, you can maintain health, confidence, a mind at peace, and ultimately celebrate a rich and even complexion that you can always be proud of.

You may have observed that an emphasis was made on โ€˜easyโ€™ in the first paragraph because even though melanin may offer some level of protection against the harmful UV radiation emitted by the sun, other things than just looking older happens to rich complexion when itโ€™s not taken care of properly.

Even with its benefits, having melanin skin has its shortcomings and this brings about the phenomenon of hyperpigmentation, which occurs in all races and all sexes, but very common in people of color. Owing to the reactive nature of melanocytes (specialized cells that produce melanin) to injury and inflammation, skin of color becomes fertile grounds for hyperpigmentation, with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation {darkening of the skin or pigmentation in an area of prior injury (e.g. cut, bruise, scratch, tremor, dermabrasion, thermal burn, chemical peel) ย or inflammation due to infection, acne, fungi infection or dermatitis} being the most common pigmentation problem seen in people of color.

Hyperpigmentation which may be caused by either internal or external factors is the discoloration of skin patches which consequently makes these patches darker than the natural skin color. It occurs when the melanocytes goes into overdrive and deposit excess melanin in the outer layers of the skin. This creates discolored skin patches (light brown to dark brown) which vary in shapes and sizes. The main forms include Melasma, Age spots, and Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Melasma which is a type of hyperpigmentation occurs due to hormonal imbalance and it is common with pregnant women or individuals with thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases and metabolic disorders. Liver spots/Age spots which are sun induced are due to repeated exposure to UV over the course of an individualโ€™s life. And not to forget freckles and moles, which are mostly genetic but made worse by sun exposure.

Melanin is produced to act as a natural sunscreen to the skin when faced with prolonged sun exposure. Since its UV exposure that initiates the production of melanin, itโ€™s justified to say that the sun is the fuel of hyperpigmentation. It’s bad enough that these discolored skin patches take months to years to heal and return to the normal skin color. Yet inevitable UV radiation exposure compounds the problem by darkening these pigmented spots and aggravating the symptoms. Thus making hyperpigmentation more difficult to treat and prolonging the healing process. The worst outcome is that when the UV radiation alters the skin structure and DNA, the likely outcome is skin cancer. This can occur as Basal and Squamous cell cancer, and Melanoma (develops in the melanocytes) which is the most dangerous (causing 75% of skin cancer deaths). Thus, if you notice a mole or pigmented spot changing in shape, size and color, be certain to visit the dermatologists to rule out malignancy.

While topical lightening creams, chemical peels, laser treatment and pulsed light therapies can be effective in treating hyperpigmentation, some of these procedures or medications are not suitable for all skin types and can at times aggravate the condition. This is why people with rich complexions are taking smart strategies to avoid hyperpigmentation by prioritizing prevention over treatment. Read any reputable article on hyperpigmentation and it will suggest that wearing sunscreen comes highly recommended. EXTRASHADE Daily Defense Hydrating Sunscreen is designed to give broad spectrum protection from both UV-A and UV-B radiation. It is water resistant and uniquely photostablized to prevent losing its potency in sunlight by keeping active ingredients stable for longer protection.

So to keep your skin looking great, use your broad spectrum sunscreen daily.

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