Summer weather brings all kinds of challenges to your skin care routine. Hot and humid weather can ramp up sweat production while air conditioning is often overly drying. Add in too much sun, a little salty ocean water or chlorinated pool water, and it’s no wonder the warmest months of the year can be hard on your skin. Add in a little stress and a few problems can crop up.

Maintaining a healthy balance for the most problem-free skin takes work. People of color and those with varying skin tones often find they face unique challenges that aren’t typically addressed with easy-to-find resources.

The Skin of Color Society offers many resources for people of color who want to know more about the conditions that affect different skin types. The organization offers educational videos on everything from psoriasis to scalp care.

And while the lack of resources is frustrating, it can actually be life threatening. Even as COVID-19 continues to cross the globe, there were few images of what kinds of skin changes people of color might have with the coronavirus. The alarming gap propelled dermatologist Jenna Lester to begin documenting it herself so that healthcare workers could spot changes quickly.

Always Use Sunscreen

Incorporate sunscreen into your skincare routine every single day, all year long. You’re exposed to the sun’s UV rays all the time, not just when you’re at the beach. Doing errands, walking the dog, pushing the kids on the swing—all those short bursts of time outside can add up over time to result in sun damage. When you intentionally use sunscreen every day, there’s less chance you’ll forget. And don’t forget sunglasses!

Treat Your Skin Gently

Find products that work for you, but don’t overdo it. Wash your face with gentle cleansers. Use moisturizer at night and use a product that won’t cause irritation if you have acne. And be vigilant about not picking at acne as that can leave scarring on any skin type or color but can also cause dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, on black and brown skin.

Know Yourself

Even people with very dark skin can develop skin cancer. Do a body check every month and look for new raised spots, bumps or patches that are itchy and can bleed. These spots can occur in your scalp, on the bottoms of your feet, and in places that have never been touched by a ray of sun.

Find a Skilled Dermatologist

Finding a dermatologist who is familiar with issues faced by people who have a range of skin tones is helpful. You don’t want to have any treatment or procedure that could result in different effects because your skin is dark. You want a dermatologist who knows what kind of result people of varying ethnicities or skin tones have with any topical treatments, laser treatments, or procedures.

 

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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