In the world of skin care, it is important to understand that not all routines are suitable for every skin type. This is especially true for Asian and dark skin, which has specific needs and characteristics. In this blog, we discuss the 5 skin care routines that work less well for these skin types and provide alternative recommendations for effective skin care.
5 Skin care routines in practice
1.Exfoliation of the skin
Excessive use of exfoliating products can have adverse effects on Asian and dark skin. While exfoliation is essential for removing dead skin cells, over-exfoliating can lead to skin sensitization and irritation. It is therefore important to understand how exfoliation works and how to use it safely and effectively.
Exfoliation is a process of removing the top layer of skin, allowing new, healthy skin cells to surface. This helps keep the skin looking fresh, smooth and radiant.
There are two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical
Physical exfoliants contain granular particles that mechanically remove dead skin cells from the skin. These can include ingredients such as sugar, salt, microbeats, ground seeds or nuts. With Asian and darker skin it is important to be careful with physical exfoliants as they can damage the skin and cause irritation. Instead, opt for finer, soft grits and use them in light, circular motions.
Chemical exfoliants contain acids or enzymes that dissolve and remove dead skin cells. These can include ingredients such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or fruit enzymes. For Asian and darker skin types, it is important to choose milder chemical exfoliants with lower concentrations of acids to avoid sensitization and irritation. Start with a lower concentration and gradually build up depending on how your skin reacts.
In addition to choosing the right exfoliant, the frequency of exfoliation also matters. Over-exfoliating can damage the skin barrier and strip away the skin’s natural oils, leading to dryness, redness, and sensitivity. Resulting in more pigment spots, also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) – more about PIH. For Asian and darker skin, it is recommended to limit exfoliation to a maximum of one to two times a week. This gives the skin enough time to recover and maintain its natural balance.
2. Aggressive skin bleaches
Use of harsh bleaches can have adverse effects on Asian and darker skin types. Some skin care products contain bleaching agents that are intended to reduce pigmentation, melasma, or blemishes. One of the best known bleaching agents is hydroquinone. While these ingredients can be effective in reducing dark spots and hyperpigmentation, they can also cause serious side effects, especially with prolonged and improper use.
One of the side effects of harsh bleaches is ochronosis, a rare skin condition characterized by blue-black pigmentation and thickening of the skin. Ochronosis mainly occurs in people with dark skin and can be difficult to treat.
The mean duration of hydroquinone use in cases of exogenous ochronosis was 5 years, with only a few cases reported with treatments of 3 months or less, and eight cases reported with use of 1 year or less. The incidence of exogenous ochronosis is directly related to both the dose and duration of hydroquinone use, although it can occur with the use of 3% hydroquinone cream and on fair skin.
One study reported that hydroquinone use is associated with an increased risk of skin cancer in dark-skinned people.
Hydroquinone is a powerful bleaching agent that inhibits the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of our skin. It can be effective in reducing dark spots such as melasma or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. However, prolonged and uncontrolled use of hydroquinone can lead to uneven whitening of the skin, resulting in an unnatural appearance. In addition, it can make the skin more sensitive to the sun, which can lead to sunburn and further skin damage.
For Asian and dark skin it is important to be careful when using harsh bleaches. Instead, it is advisable to opt for milder alternatives that do not aggressively bleach the skin, but rather help to balance the skin tone. Natural ingredients such as vitamin C, resveratrol, emblica, niacinamide, kojic acid and arbutin can help reduce hyperpigmentation without the ill effects of harsh bleaches.
In addition, it is important to always use sun protection with a high SPF, because Asian and dark skin is more sensitive to the harmful effects of the sun. Sun exposure can exacerbate existing hyperpigmentation and make the skin more susceptible to dark spots and damage. The regular use of sun protection helps to protect the skin and prevent further pigmentation problems.
3. Sun protection
Insufficient sun protection: There is often a misconception that Asian and darker skin types are less susceptible to sun damage. While a higher melanin content does indeed provide the skin with some protection against harmful UV rays, it is still crucial to protect the skin with a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen. Ignoring sun protection can lead to hyperpigmentation and premature skin aging.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is an important factor when choosing sunscreen, and the choice can vary depending on skin tone. For fair skin, it is generally advised to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. This is because fair skin has less natural protection from the sun and is more susceptible to sunburn and damage from UV rays.
Asian skin is advised to use a slightly lower SPF, usually between SPF 15 and 30. This is because Asian skin naturally contains more melanin, which offers a certain degree of natural protection against UV radiation.
For dark skin, it is often recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. This is because darker skin naturally contains more melanin, which provides some degree of natural protection from the sun. Nevertheless, it is still important to protect the skin from harmful UV rays.
In terms of UVA protection, it is important to note that UVA radiation is present all year round and can damage the skin regardless of skin color.
In terms of visible light protection, it may indeed be more beneficial for darker and Asian skin types to provide additional protection. Visible light can contribute to the formation of free radicals and the development of pigment problems. While there are currently no specific sunscreen filters that target only visible light, wearing sun-protective clothing and avoiding exposure to direct sunlight during peak hours can also help protect against visible light. While there are currently no specific sunscreen filters that target only visible light, wearing sun-protective clothing and avoiding exposure to direct sunlight during peak hours can also help protect against visible light.
More about sun protection and SPF
Studies have shown that Asian skin type has a higher level of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) than other skin types, indicating that it may need more hydration to maintain healthy skin. African-American skin shows higher levels of skin hydration compared to Caucasian skin, suggesting it may also need more hydration.
It is essential to have a skin care routine that provides adequate hydration to prevent dryness, flaking and dull skin. It is important to invest in specific moisturizing products that are specially designed for these skin types and that strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier. These products often contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and ceramides, which deeply hydrate the skin and lock in moisture. Regular use of these moisturizing products can keep Asian and dark skin healthy, hydrated and radiant.
5.Insufficient attention to specific skin needs
Asian and dark skin often have specific needs, such as reducing hyperpigmentation, maintaining an even complexion and preventing ingrown hairs. The latter is a common problem with Asian and dark skin. Due to the curly structure of the hair, hairs can easily grow back into the skin, which can lead to irritation and inflammation. It is therefore important to use products that soften hair growth and prevent ingrown hairs.
A skin care routine that ignores these needs can lead to unwanted skin problems. It’s important to choose products that are specifically formulated for Asian and darker skin, and contain ingredients that address these specific needs.
Alternative recommendations for Asian and Dark skin types:
It is important to follow a skin care routine that is specifically tailored to the needs of Asian and darker skin. By choosing the right products and paying attention to hydration, sun protection and addressing specific skin concerns, you can achieve healthy and radiant skin.
Pigment control: For Asian and darker skin it is important to be careful when using harsh bleaches. Instead, it is advisable to opt for milder alternatives that do not aggressively bleach the skin, but rather help to balance the skin tone. Natural ingredients such as vitamin C, resveratrol, emblica, niacinamide, kojic acid and arbutin can help reduce hyperpigmentation without the ill effects of harsh bleaches.
Hydration and barrier protection: Choose moisturizing products with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides and vegetable oils. These help maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance and strengthen the skin barrier.
Customized sun protection: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF specially formulated for Asian and darker skin.
All skin types (White, Asian and Dark) need UVA protection, unlike white skin, the SPF strength does not have to be too highn.
Look for products that do not cause acne (comedogenic) such as mineral sunscreen filters (with these 2 filters Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide) and do not dry out the skin.
Ingrown hair prevention: Use gentle exfoliating products to prevent ingrown hairs and soothing ingredients such as niacinamide, aloe vera and chamomile to reduce irritation after shaving. More about razor bumps