Skin-Care Industry Ignores Black Men

WHEN PEOPLE SAY, "Black don't crack" I always reply, 'But it does get fat,' because I'm always looking at things from a health perspective.

Like most men, I used to believe that skincare must be pretty tricky, based on what I saw women go through in the mornings and before they go to bed. But I now know that women have been hoodwinked by the UK's beauty industry worth a staggering £28 billion. It holds the third spot for the largest market operating in the UK. And I now know looking after your skin and slowing the ageing process doesn't have to be as complicated as women make it out to be. You can incorporate a straightforward routine that is simple to follow (especially for men) into your daily schedule.

I also used to think that having dark skin would prevent me from ageing. Unlike white skin, my skin produces more oil, or sebum, preventing dryness, wrinkles, brown spots, and visible blood vessels. I also thought that my excess melanin protected me against UV damage and sunburn. But I was complacent because I did not know that it did not protect me against skin cancer, hyperpigmentation or sun damage.

Black men have been largely ignored by the market. To date, product efficacy in dermatology does not test on black skin. Even with men’s skin care being valued at a $1-billion-plus industry by 2024,” according to Grand View Research, a market research and consulting company. Men like Dorion Renaud (pictured above), is an L.A.-based actor and entrepreneur who created a line of skin-care products to address issues commonly faced by black men.

Ingrown hairs are one of the most common grooming challenges for Black men because it’s an issue specific to curly hair. When our hair loses its way when growing back out of the skin and then goes back in, it causes inflammation and appears as a bump. I have found that growing out the hair relieves the ingrown hairs. Otherwise, it can be painful, itchy and leave dark marks or keloids.

These days I've started to take my skincare routine more seriously. Finding the right skincare products isn't just about your sex –the dermis layer of my skin is quite thick (like most men). It is as much as about figuring out what your skin type is. Things like is it oily, dry or a combination.  My first stop in my experimentation was to raid my ex-girlfriend's products. You will always find half-finished bottles and tubes of unused cream because most women in the UK change their skincare often when they hear about the next best thing.

It's important to understand that a skin cycle lasts, on average, five to six weeks, so don’t expect to see any results before that - new cells have not had enough time to develop, climb to the surface, and detach. Also what may have worked well or not for you in your thirties won't work as well in your forties and beyond because your skin changes as you age.

Younger cells regularly replace older cells. Hence a steady supply of critical nutrients is crucial. If you eat the right combination of meals, your skin will receive the essential nutrients it needs to stay soft, supple, and spot-free.

My simple skincare routine

Step 1: Shower twice a day.

For the last year and a half, I end my hot showers with a cold-water blast for 1 minute because a shot of cold water provides several health advantages:

Circulation is improved: You increase the durability of your cardiovascular system by alternating between hot and cold water. Due to the stimulation of blood vessel constriction and subsequent relaxation, it can also aid in the removal of toxins from the body. Improved blood circulation also speeds up the process of exercise recovery.

Flow of Lymph: The lymphatic system aids in the removal of cell waste. It is impacted by cold showers, strengthening the body's ability to fight against infections.

Optimal Skin: Cold water sealing your pores can give your skin a healthier appearance. Taking cold showers is one of the best ways to improve your skin.

Step 2:  Topical treatments

I now use a daily moisturiser with SPF (during the day), especially after learning how it may aid in delaying skin ageing. And I use retinol at night – it's the ingredient that does it all in dermatology and sweeps away dead skin cells, clogged pores, and dull skin.

Step 3: Exercise is my key skincare weapon.

You may have just thought exercise is something you do to keep your heart healthy and maintain weight, but it plays a crucial part in skin health too. Slowing skin ageing is achieved through a healthy lifestyle – with regular exercise and nutritious eating. Exercise can reduce stress, improve blood circulation, and helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin to maintain its healthy look. It encourages the formation of collagen and new skin cells and also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells. Lastly, sweating while you exercise can help clear out your pores.

Step 4: Intermittent Fasting,

For the past four years, I have been 16/8 intermittent, fasting, and only eating during a window of 8 hours per day. Abstaining from food for the remaining 16 hours. I eat more whole grains, fresh fruit and fish. I drink throughout the day because the skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Even mild dehydration will cause your skin to look dry, tired and slightly grey.

Once you make these changes, don't expect an overnight miracle.  Remember, it takes six weeks for new skin to work its way up to the surface, so you will need to be patient to see the visible difference; skin care is a long-term game.

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