Black Women Dermatologists Share Their Skin-Care Tips

3. Choose proven ingredients that get the job done.

Downie favors powerhouse ingredients, such as vitamin C, peptides, retinol (best applied at night) and growth factors — which can all help to increase skin elasticity, repair damaged skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Moneé Thomas, M.D., of Glow Dermatology in Houston, praises hyaluronic acid for its anti-aging, skin-plumping and moisturizing benefits, and her prescription retinoid for optimal skin cell turnover: “This stops my skin from looking dull, keeps my pores small, [reduces] oil production and actively prevents fine lines and wrinkles,” she says. However, products with high percentages of active ingredients in them should be used with caution to avoid possible irritation. This is especially true as our skin becomes more sensitive with age. “Everyone’s skin is different; what works for one person may not work for you,” says Thomas, who suggests consulting with your dermatologist to determine the best treatment plan for you.

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4. Be kind to your melanin.

Lightweight, non-clogging cleansers free of parabens, sulfates and other harsh ingredients, as well as reparative and protective creams and moisturizers are must-haves for all three dermatologists. If hyperpigmentation is your problem, say no to bleaching creams and identify the root cause instead. “Many times, patients focus on dark marks without properly addressing the cause of the mark, such as inflammatory acne,” Chappell says. “In this [case], I’d advise the focus shift to acne control versus chasing dark marks.” When it comes to exfoliating, moderation is key. “Once a week or so in the summer, I’ll use the Obagi Professional-C Microdermabrasion Polish + Mask with 30 percent vitamin C to exfoliate,” says Downie. “I rub it in for three to four minutes, leave it on for about three minutes, and rinse it off well before 10 minutes because I have underlying eczema.”

5. Reap the benefits of serums and eye creams.

A moisturizer alone can provide amazing benefits. But applying serum — highly concentrated treatment designed to get deep into the skin — underneath your a.m. and p.m. moisturizers can target specific issues. It’s why most of the dermatologists have incorporated some type of serum into their routine, whether it’s a niacinamide-infused serum that treats dark spots, or a growth factor–based serum that rejuvenates the skin. Again, use products that contain high levels of active ingredients with caution. Additionally, you might consider investing in a good eye cream — an essential step in each dermatologist’s regimen. Look for eye creams rich in peptides (for fine lines and wrinkles), caffeine (for puffiness), vitamin C and niacinamide (for brightening) and hyaluronic acid (for hydration).