Many women don't know how to properly care for their skin, nor do they realize that race and ethnicity also dictate what types of cleansers, lotions and serums are suitable to use. In fact, using the wrong products can add years to your face! Skin is your largest, most delicate organ, and each person’s face requires special individualized care.
For skin that appears ageless, follow one of the three simple skin care routines based on your skin type.
1. Dark Skin Type
Dark skin, typical of African-Americans, contains a high amount of melanin, the pigmentation that creates its dark color. Melanin is the skin’s first line of defense against harmful sun rays, the primary cause of excess wrinkles. Dark skin has compacted collagen fibers, which also means fewer wrinkles. However, the density of this skin type causes sagging as you age.
While it contains high levels of pigmentation in the upper layers, dark skin is still vulnerable to sun damage. If you have this skin type, you still need to wear sunscreen. Look for an ultra-sheer formula to avoid a chalky, white appearance.
As it ages, dark skin can appear dusty, blotchy, and/or lack brightness. It can also appear crepe-y, hence you need to avoid products that can dry or irritate your skin.
The Right Care Routine for Dark Skin
Cleansing: Use a gentle soothing cleanser in the morning and a gentle exfoliating wash at night to help remove dead skin cells.
Morning: Use a glycolic toner, which gently stimulates collagen and breaks up dark patches or spots. This kind of product also controls oil production and breakouts.
Night: Use an over-the-counter retinol treatment, rather than a prescription-strength one, to aid collagen production, prevent hyperpigmentation (age spots), and control excess oil. Then, apply a rich night cream that contains antioxidants, peptides, and/or ceramides to hydrate and help reduce sagging.
2. Olive Skin Type
This medium-toned skin type is common in people from Mediterranean regions or Latin American countries. Olive skin contains some characteristics of both darker and fairer skin types. This skin type has less melanin than dark skin, making you more prone to sun damage. While olive skin can tan beautifully, which is nature’s way of protecting you against sun damage, hyperpigmentation also occurs frequently.
Since the collagen level in olive skin lies somewhere between dark and fair skin, you need to protect yourself from the entire spectrum of aging complaints – from wrinkles to age spots to sagging.
The Right Care Routine for Olive Skin
Cleansing: Use a gentle cleanser once in the morning to remove what little residue is left from the product you applied at bedtime. At night you can use a foaming cleanser. Thoroughly cleanse to make sure you get rid of any excess sebum and makeup.
Morning: Fight hyperpigmentation with an antioxidant product, such as a vitamin C serum. Those containing up to 15% vitamin C are best for really penetrating the skin to fight free radicals and treat dark under eye circles. Vitamin C serum is important since no sunscreen can completely block out sun rays.
Night: To help fight blotchy skin and age spots, choose a skin-lightening agent that’s hydroquinone-free and contains retinol, to aid in the turnover of new skin cells.
3. Fair Skin Type
This skin type, typical of Caucasians, contains very low levels of melanin, which allows sun rays to deeply penetrate and cause photo-aging, damage that is done to the skin from prolonged exposure to UV radiation. Fair skin has less collagen bundles than dark skin, which means you also get fine wrinkles, but often less sagging. Unfortunately, both wrinkles and sun damage tend to appear much earlier in fair skin types.
Too many people with fair skin fall victim to trying to find the strongest anti-aging products, forgetting about the extreme sensitivity of their skin. Some of these powerful potions do more harm than good and really exacerbate skin conditions, such as rosacea.
The Right Care Routine for Fair Skin
Cleansing: If you have fair skin, you want to stick to the basics. Use a very gentle cleanser in the morning to keep skin soft and prevent stripping it of moisture. At night, use gentle makeup removing wipes.
AM: Apply a lightweight moisturizer with at least SPF 30 before putting your makeup on to protect your skin throughout the day.
PM: Your evening routine is a good time to refresh the skin and replace antioxidants that may have depleted throughout the day. Try an over-the-counter light retinol product to help firm and get rid of fine lines. For those with sensitive skin, start by using it twice per week. Follow up with a rich, heavy moisturizing cream.
Anti-aging Miracle: Schizandra Berry
If you want to look younger, feel more energized, and boost your brainpower, try the schizandra berry. This herb has been used for over 3000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Schizandra berry is an adaptogen, a class of herbs that help the body fight stress by reducing the production of stress hormones. As such, it helps you “adapt” to mental and physical stress by lowering these stress hormones in the blood, a key to slowing the aging process. In China, the schizandra berry is known as the five-flavored fruit because of its five conflicting tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy.
Here’s how the schizandra berry turns back the clock:
1. Younger Skin: The schizandra berry contains powerful antioxidant properties that work to rejuvenate skin by protecting the lipid membrane in skin cells. Plus, its anti-inflammatory qualities help to reduce facial redness. Lastly, it detoxifies your liver to rid your body of toxins.
Try using dried schizandra berry to make tea or juice. You can also find it in prepared tea or juice form. Try cutting the strong taste of the juice by mixing it with another juice. Available online and in health stores.
2. Boost Energy: Long-distance athletes have used schizandra to enhance their performance. Schizandra stimulates the nervous system without creating that excitatory effect you get from stimulants such as caffeine. Schizandra helps you stay alert and also creates a stable energy boost so you don’t experience a crash.
To increase energy, drink schizandra tea in the morning instead of coffee.
3. Sharpen Your Memory: Schizandra berry may enhance mental concentration and memory by delivering more oxygen to brain cells. During periods of final exams in China, schizandra berry sells out.
To sharpen your memory, take schizandra berry extract in capsule form. Take 500mg daily. Also available online.