Many African American sistas are breaking barriers and becoming more and more comfortable with naturally expressing ourselves. We show this through our hair journeys, exquisite makeup techniques, nail and body art and not to mention, our creative and stylish ensembles. Simply put, we are breaking beauty barriers as Tyra Banks would say and making strides toward building self worth one woman at a time. And here it comes…BUT, what about our SKIN? As a skincare professional, I am alarmed that we as African American women do not take an active interest in our skin as much as we do our hair, nails, fashion and makeup. Whether it is because we have a mindset that black don’t crack or because we feel it is less important, other ethnicities have surpassed us in proper skincare techniques. Here we are still in elementary school, using harmful bar soaps on our faces and wondering why our skin is problematic. Ladies! We must take a personal stand regarding healthy skin, educate ourselves on products and procedures and then dedicate ourselves to establishing and sticking to a daily regimen. First things first; STOP USING BAR SOAP ON YOUR FACE.
Soaps are more alkaline (9-10 pH range) and since healthy skin’s pH sits between 4.6 and 5.5, it is important to not use soaps with high alkalinity. Our skin has a natural acid mantle that protects our skin from environmental influences and bacteria (kinda like cellophane or car wax). Harsh surfactants like many soaps on the market destroys the protective mantle and as a result, bacterial moves in like that broke cousin of yours who’s always looking for a place to stay. Other drawbacks include:
1. Soaps rob your skin of its natural oils, which hydrates the skin and locks in moisture
2. Soaps contain thickeners (which are ingredients that hold soap together) and can clog your pores, potentially causing acne and dehydration
3. Added chemicals in soaps are likely to increase skin irritations/allergic reactions from fragrances and/or preservatives
4. Soaps have a tendency to leave a thin film behind, leaving you feeling unclean
If you are using bar soap, switch to a mild cleanser or calming cleaners. This will begin to balance the skin’s pH balance, be patient. Also invest in a hydrating toner (that does not contain harsh alcohols) as well as a moisturizer and SPF of your choice. Remember there is a difference between oil and moisture and your skin need to be moisturized for optimal skin health. Begin exfoliating as well to loosen dead skin cells and reveal your new smooth skin.