According to dermatologists, the best skin care treatments for melanin rich skin

Beauty

Vitamin C is available in several percentages, typically between 10 and 40, and they are all safe to use on melanin-rich skin. “However, if you have sensitive skin, higher percentages of vitamin C can be more irritating,” says Dr. Ofodile. Lean down 5 percent or less if that sounds like you. dr Boakye agrees that a lower percentage is better for sensitive skin types since the skin barrier is already compromised.

The antioxidant is often available in serum form. We like the four-time Best of Beauty winner SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum, which also contains vitamin E for hydration and ferulic acid to brighten skin and vitamin C to stabilize. A more affordable option is the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intense Vitamin C Serum.

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

L'Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensive Vitamin C Serum on a white background

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensive Vitamin C Serum

Consider hydroquinone

The skin lightening agent hydroquinone can be controversial. Its use in over-the-counter products was restricted in 2020 with the CARES Act, which classified it as a prescription drug — before that, you could only buy products with a maximum of 2 percent hydroquinone. However, it may be prescribed by dermatologists for short-term treatment to effectively reduce hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase.

Although it can work magic on hyperpigmentation, it can actually darken your skin if you use it incorrectly, says Dr. Boakye, which is why only dermatologists can prescribe it. “With continued use for months to years, a paradoxical darkening of the skin can develop, a condition called ochronosis,” says Dr. Ofodile. She recommends using it for less than 12 weeks straight and then taking a 12-week break.

Use SPF 30 and higher

Argue with your mom, but melanin can sting: A sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher is 1,000 percent necessary to counteract sunburn, hyperpigmentation, or the good you’ve done with the ingredients above. Reapply every two hours to protect your skin — and the investment you’ve made in your routine.

Nobody wants to look like Casper the Friendly Ghost after applying SPF, but these three sunscreens won’t leave a white cast. Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 has the texture of a typical thick, white, creamy sunscreen, but is fully blendable to reveal dewy skin. Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+ is completely transparent, so you can simply rub the stick over your face without looking coffin-y. If you want to look extra radiant, reach for Melē’s No Shade Sunscreen Oil, which, as the name suggests, delivers SPF 30 in oil form.

A black tube with gold lettering on a white background

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

Shiseido Clear Stick UV Protector WetForce Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 bright blue retractable sunscreen stick on a white background

Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+

Melé No Shade Sunscreen Oil SPF 30 light yellow tube with a gold cap on a white background

Mele No Shade Sunscreen Oil

People of color have historically been excluded from beauty brands, so it’s understandable that people are reluctant to trust certain ingredients to work on their darker skin. Let this be your sign that you have nothing to fear as you are now armed with the knowledge to empower your skincare routine.

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