How to Care for African American Skin


African-American skin is sensitive and requires special care. Some skin conditions, such as ingrown hairs, are common in African-Americans and can lead to other problems, such as permanent scarring. Proper care minimizes the risk of suffering from dermatological conditions.

Step 1

Cleanse your skin twice per day with a gentle cleanser. Washing skin more often or with harsh products can cause rashes and blemishes.

Step 2

Exfoliate your skin daily using a soft, wet towel to remove dead skin cells. Be careful that you don’t scrub too hard because vigorous scrubbing can irritate the skin. Because African-American skin is fairly oily, natural oils from the skin may bond to dead skin cells and block pores. This can lead to acne.

Step 3

Moisturize your skin daily. Even though African-American skin tends to be oily, it may still have dry areas. Use a light moisturizer labeled noncomedogenic, which will not clog the pores.

Step 4

Protect your skin from the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a noncomedogenic sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30. This should be applied daily and reapplied per the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 5

Use caution when shaving. African-Americans are prone to ingrown hairs and razor bumps. When you shave, use a single-blade razor and shaving gel. Shave over each area once, going in the same direction as the hair grain. If possible, shave no more often than every other day and avoid shaving when razor bumps are present.

Step 6

Choose skin care products carefully. Some products can actually do more harm than good on African-American skin. Skin lighteners, for example, may cause rosacea or eczema and may worsen acne. When you do use skin care products, follow the directions closely and check daily for signs of skin irritation, such as reddened skin.

Step 7

Contact a dermatologist if you suffer from ongoing skin conditions, such as acne, chronic ingrown hairs, eczema or psoriasis. African-Americans are prone to scarring, including keloid scarring and hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the skin, as a result of skin problems.