I was asked in 2012 to give a talk at the Nigerian Network of enterpreneurial women(NNEW) meet in Abuja concerning keeping skin healthy. I tried to make it as concise, lay and straight forward as possible. Below is a summary from that talk which many at that forum found interesting and very informative. Happy reading!
TIPS FOR MAINTAINING RADIANT & HEALTHY SKIN.
- Radiant and healthy skin is simply blemish-free, supple, youthful looking skin.
- In African/ethnic skin, pigmentary(complexion) change is the single most important measure of skin attractiveness.
- Contrary to popular belief, African skin never burns, it tans easily. It will only burn if bleached.
- Keeping our skin in a healthy and optimal state is not just for the cosmetic benefit , it serves as a mechanical barrier to microbes ( infection), UV radiation(sun rays), temperature regulation.
- Always use skin care products tailored for your type of skin. This skin typing is based on oil content and sensitivity profile. Skin is either oily(prone to acne/pimples/zits), dry or combination. Combination skin type is the commonest.
- A basic skin hygiene regimen should include washing/cleansing and moisturisation. A good cleansing agent should remove just enough oil to make skin appear clean without creating a dry ashy look. A cleansing agent can be in the form of a bar, gel, liquid.The more foamy a cleansing agent is, the more soap it has (dove, oil of olay, sebamed and the like have less soap and more moisturizing elements in them which is why they don’t foam so much). A moisturizer can be a cream, lotion, gel, serum, ointment etc.
- Note that the skin on your face is commonly different in oil type and color shade than the skin on the rest of your body.
- Skin prone to acne/pimples/zits/ breakouts, is oily skin. Use cleansing agents made for acne prone skin or oily skin and use lotions, gels, serums . Avoid creams and ointments as these will make the face more oily and cause breakouts. Also avoid foundations and concealers and other heavy make-up as these clog your pores, make your face more oily and breakouts worse. Use make-up that will allow your skin breathe.
- Dry skin benefits from less foamy/less soap containing cleansing agents like dove, sebamed, aveeno etc. Antiseptic and medicated bars, liquids and gels are more drying and irritating to the skin. People with dry and sensitive skin should avoid them. Dry skins should use more creams as they contain more oils and will prevent the dry ashy look.
- Skin care should include a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals(fruits, vegetables), Exercise, rest and drinking a lot of water.
- ALWAYS use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 no matter how dark your skin is. As you get older your skin gets darker especially your face. Sunscreen will minimize this darkening and especially prevent uneven pigmentation through the years by protecting your skin from the effects of the sun.
- Lightening creams should be restricted as much as possible to night use, as a good number of them are photosensitive (make your skin more sensitive to the sun). If you choose to lighten your skin do so as safely as possible- preferably consult a skin doctor. A lot of those bleaching/lightening creams that lighten your skin 2 shades in 2 weeks will damage your skin and age it in the long run. Please do not use tube creams, gels etc especially those that conatin steroids as body creams- those are medicines and should be prescribed by ONLY skin doctors. Not used indiscriminately.
- ALWAYS look for the active ingredient in any skin product you use. If it is a mixed cream, has no active ingredient / you cant read the active ingredient (e.g written in Chinese), or just doesn’t have a label, PLEASE DO NOT USE. Some of the damage these creams cause are irreversible. Also google anything you are unsure of- better safe than sorry.
- Consult skin doctors to manage your skin problems. Avoid consulting friends, family, chemists, herbal/natural “doctors”, self acclaimed skin care advisors, make-up artists that have become skin “specialists”, cosmetic sellers etc. They might mean well, but they do not know, they will just be guessing. What worked for 1 person might be poison for another.
- The skin you have today is meant to serve you the rest of your life. A skin transplant is not very feasible so if you damage your skin you will have to manage and live with it for the rest of your life.
- Lastly, please spread the word about sun protection, boycotting harmful bleaching agents and contentment. Let’s teach our young children especially the girls to love their skin, dark and light skin are equally beautiful. Everyone’s skin cannot be the same, work towards your own optimal skin, not the next girl’s skin or complexion.
Thank you for reading, questions?