Ask the Experts: 10 Black Skin Secrets

I’ve got pigmentation across my face that I can’t seem to tackle. What advice would you give?

See a professional skincare specialist because it’s important to work out what’s causing the pigmentation (sun damage, hormonal, illness, medication, inflammation) and in what layer of skin it resides. Xot all pigmentation is equal – some, like melasma is quite deep-seated, originating in deeper layers of the skin and can never be fully cleared, it’s more that it needs to be managed to improve the appearance. More superficial pigmentation that you may get as a result of a breakout can be easier to tackle and fade over a period of weeks or months. My armpits are much darker than my skin tone, which makes me self-conscious when I wear sleeveless tops.

Ask the Experts: 10 Black Skin Secrets Photo Gallery

How can I even out the colour from my underarms?

Firstly, we need to establish what’s causing the darkness – is it a skin condition like Acanthosis nigricans, which causes darkness in areas of the body such as armpits, back of neck and groin? Are you repeatedly shaving or waxing your armpits? If The former, you need to seek help from a medical practitioner so they can investigate the case and provide a medical solution. If The latter, you could consider laser hair removal as a more long-term solution that doesn’t aggravate the skin every few days or weeks. This will help to ease some of the darkness. You can also consider chemical peels that will help lighten the area as well. If you’re using harsh deodorants, you could consider swapping to a more natural deodorant like Aesop or Malin & Goetz Eucalyptus that also doesn’t aggravate the skin. I’m now in my mid 30s and feel that I should be paying more attention to my skincare products.

What ingredients should I be looking out for?

That would really depend on your exact skin concerns, but for most people you can’t go wrong with including AHAs like glycolic, lactic or mandelic acid to encourage gentle exfoliation of the skin as the natural exfoliative processes slow as we age. Including ingredients that tackle pigmentation is also important – vitamin C, nicotinamide, liquorice extract, arbutin, cysteamine – these all help to break up existing pigmentation chumps and prohibit new: dark patches from forming. Vitamin A (in the form of retinol or retinaldehyde) is important – treat this as a skin treatment – in tackling pigmentation, but also in improving cell-to-cell communication for healthier skin all round, plumping internal hyaluronic acid and boosting collagen too. Of course, sunscreen is an absolute must!

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