Skincare According to Skin Tone


Skincare According to Skin Tone

Different skin tones require different approaches to skincare.

Knowing the nuances of your skin tone can help you zero in on the best skincare products for your needs.

Personalized Skincare is Key

Skincare has become so advanced that it’s no longer about grabbing any old moisturizer and cleanser off a store shelf. Today, you can personalize your skincare regimen, taking into account your skin type or tone, age, lifestyle and more.

Skincare by the Numbers

A popular way to breakdown skin tones is by using the Fitzpatrick scale, described in the 1970s by Harvard Medical School dermatologist Thomas B. Fitzpatrick.

There are other indications that help reveal your true skin tone, and there is interest in greatly expanding this scale to include many more possible skin types and colors. The tried-and-true Fitzpatrick scale, however, is a good place to start. Skin tone descriptions run from I through IV, with I, or Roman numeral 1, being the lightest. You can imagine each category by the way the skin reacts to sun exposure.

Type I is white skin that never tans and always burns.

Type II skin is fair and tans a little but always burns.

Type III is neutral. While it burns sometimes, the sunburns tend to be mild. When tanned, the skin looks somewhat darker.

Type IV is light brown skin. It rarely burns with sun exposure and tans easily.

Type V, brown skin, doesn’t burn but easily tans a rich, deep brown.

Type VI, black skin, never burns and tans with ease. Often sunbathers don’t realize their skin is getting darker.

[TABLE 1, Fitzpatrick Classification of Skin Types I through VI - Cutaneous Melanoma - NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)]

Other Skin Tone Nuances

Whether your skin tans or burns with sun exposure is one way to tell where you fit in the Fitzpatrick scale.

Other clues include eye color, with light blue, green or gray eyes being the hallmarks of the lightest skin types.

Naturally reddish or light blonde hair might be linked to a Type I skin tone, while black hair tends to be a feature on a person with the darkest skin type.

The number of freckles on one’s skin is another clue. Lots of freckles are associated with lighter skin tones, while skin on a Type VI person is essentially freckle-less.

[Fitzpatrick Scale: Know Your Skin Type Score | RealSelf]

Translating Skin Type to Skincare Concerns

Type I skin might resemble the surface of a porcelain doll early in life. But without care, this lightest skin tone on the spectrum is most likely to show signs of early aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, not to mention skin cancer.

People with Types II and III skin may have more confidence in the sun, nevertheless their skin succumbs to early signs of aging and high skin cancer risk. Sun (or liver) spots and other pigmentary changes are common. They, too, notice the facial lines and wrinkles that come with a lifetime of facial expressions, sun exposure, environmental toxins and lifestyle choices.

While all skin types can suffer with dry skin, dry skin might be more visible in skin types V and VI.

[How to Find Your Fitzpatrick Skin Type and Care for Your Skin Accordingly (byrdie.com) and Dry skin remedies for darker skin tones (aad.org)]

Skincare Solutions

Sun Protection

You guessed it. Lighter skin types burn under the sun and have a heightened need for sunscreen because of their higher skin cancer risk.

Sun Protection

But they’re not the only ones that need sunscreen. The truth is that sun exposure ages all skin types. And even the darkest skin tones can get skin cancer.

Yet another reason for even darker skin types to apply a daily sunscreen on exposed skin—regardless of the season or weather conditions—is that the sun’s rays can darken hyperpigmentation. This includes an uneven skin tone speckled with dark areas or spots.

The challenge for darker skin types is that many people, because of environmental and health concerns, are opting to buy mineral, instead of chemical, sunscreens. Some mineral sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide leave a white residue, which might blend perfectly well into really light skin, but not so much in types V and VI.

The good news is there are sunscreen options based on skin type that are tinted and non-tinted sunscreens with at least 30 SPF (the recommended level of sun protection) that are formulated to go on skin without leaving the white cast.

Antiaging by Skin Tone

Vitamin A-based retinoids and retinol (a type of retinoid and the ingredient in many over-the-counter skincare products) are go-to antiaging ingredients. Many dermatologists recommend retinoids for skincare concerns from acne to mild pigmentation irregularities and mild fine lines.

But this popular antiaging ingredient isn’t for everyone, including many with darker skin tones.

Those who should think twice before spending money on antiaging skincare with retinol including anyone with dry skin (including light skin types), pregnant women, as well as people who have darker skin tones.

The reason is that applying retinoids commonly causes skin irritation and sun-sensitivity. Irritation in darker skin tones is not only uncomfortable but also can trigger pigmentary changes—dark areas and spots on the skin. And darks spots and patches, also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, are among the most common reasons that people with darker skin tones see a dermatologist, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

There is another option—one which has been shown in studies to have a similar antiaging effect to retinol but doesn’t irritate the skin. This powerhouse ingredient is called Defensin and it’s only available in DefenAge® Skincare.

One of the line’s products, DefenAge’s 8-in-1 BioSerum, is an all-in-one anti-aging product with Age-repair Defensins and contains niacinamide, which revives the skin’s natural moisture barrier; hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin; Sea Whip to soothe dry skin; and a blend of natural antioxidants, enzymes and hydrating technologies that brighten, clarify, energize and put the finishing touch skin radiance.

Antiaging by Skin Tone
3D Eye Radiance Cream

The thin skin under the eyes can be a particular concern for people of all skin tones. And it’s vulnerable to irritation from skincare ingredients. DefenAge developed its patented 3D Eye Radiance Cream specifically to slow the signs of aging and prevent the breakdown of skin around the eyes without irritation, in all skin tones.

DefenAge’s patented Defensin Master Anti-Aging technology, in both the 8-in1 Bioserum and 3D Eye Radiance Cream, stimulates skin cells to create new, youthful appearing skin. Defensin-molecules trigger skin regeneration by activating dormant, "preserved" young skin master cells to generate young skin.

In essence, DefenAge delivers the advantages of retinols without irritation, inflammation, or sun-sensitivity. People of any skin tone can safely and confidently use DefenAge antiaging products on their face, skin around the eyes, and body. This has been proven in 19 clinical studies published in scientific journals and consumer publications.

[Retinoid or retinol? (aad.org) and DefenAge® Skincare Announces Defensin Master Anti-Aging Patent for Signature Cell Stimulating Technology (prnewswire.com), How to fade dark spots in darker skin tones (aad.org) Morning and Night Skincare Routine | AM and PM Age-Repair with DefenAge, 3D Eye Radiance Cream | Lifts & Firms Eye Area | DefenAge Beauty Brand]

Treating Sun and Age Spots (Hyperpigmentation)

There are lots of things that could cause the darker spots you see on your face. Among them, a wound (like a picked pimple), irritating skin and haircare products and hormonal changes like those that happen during pregnancy.

Fading hyperpigmentation is possible but can take time. Your first line of defense should be to eliminate what could be making the problem worse. If you’re using irritating skincare products, stop using them. And take extra steps to protect skin from the sun with sunscreen, hats, etc., regardless of your skin tone.

Skincare product ingredients that can help to even skin tone include those with azelaic acid, glycolic acid, kojic acid, vitamin C, or (in some cases) retinoids. Ironically, these ingredients might also cause skin irritation.

Dermatologists have sounded the alarm on some skin “bleaching” options. For example, never use liquid bleach on your skin.

And those using a product with skin lighter hydroquinone should do so with caution. Hydroquinone can effectively lighten skin areas, but it can also cause irritation and even skin darkening. Probably best to use that skin care ingredient to the care of a dermatologist.

In the meantime, researchers have studied hydroquinone alternatives that can be effective and less troublesome, including tranexamic acid.

Treating Sun and Age Spots

DefenAge skincare with Defensin molecules visibly rejuvenates the skin in a short period of time, resulting in a brighter-looking skin tone, an improvement in the appearance of dark spots, pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and preserving skin moisture.

DefenAge’s full product line is formulated to be safe and effective for all skin tones. And the products are personalized to address specific facial aging concerns, based on different parts of the face and neck. For example, the line’s 6-Week Perfection Neck Tightening Cream harnesses Defensin molecules and many of the same skin nourishing ingredients in other DefenAge products. However, the neck cream also includes phospholipids (one of nature’s most powerful moisturizers) and vitamin E (to help address cell damage and protect against free radicals).

This army of ingredients aims for skin aging on the neck, which seems to age faster than the face, and does it without causing irritation. DefenAge’s 6-Week Neck Tightening Cream is in a class by itself, as it fights specific signs of neck skin aging—the deep lines and folds, sagging skin, and uneven skin tone.

[How to fade dark spots in darker skin tones (aad.org) and The Dos and Don'ts of Hydroquinone | Expert Tips | Allure, 6-Week Neck Tightening Cream | Neck Firming Cream |DefenAge]

Routine Cleansing, Moisturizing All Skin Colors

Oily skin or oily sections of the face happen regardless of skin color. Gently cleansing facial skin in the morning and at night and removing any makeup and pollutants is important for Skin Types I through VI.

The key is that you don’t want to strip the skin of oil because the oil helps keep it subtle and young looking. Rather, use a cleanser that cleanses thoroughly without abrading the skin. This is especially with the darker skin types because too much abrasion or too harsh a cleanser can lead to unwanted pigmentation and even some scarring.

Reach for a noncomedogenic and oil-free cleanser that won’t clog pores, which can lead to breakouts. And don’t use alcohol-based cleansers. They can irritate skin.

Pat the skin dry after rinsing. An ideal cleanser for all skin types is DefenAge’s Multi-Cleanse.

Moisturizing skin offers immediate benefits with a more subtle feel and glow. Some dermatologists recommend using petroleum jelly to trap the skin’s moisture when it gets really dry. Many others think it’s best to slather on a mild, fragrance-free moisturizer.

For intense hydration and skin protection from environmental pollutants and more, DefenAge has formulated a facial skin moisturizer for the entire range of skin tones. DefenAge’s 24/7 Barrier Balance Anti-Aging Cream includes its hero ingredient Age-Repair Defensins to help diminish skin aging. This powerhouse moisturizer also includes niacinamide (for skin hydration, firmness and elasticity, brightening), red algae and tara tree fruit extracts (for skin barrier protection), squalene (for intense hydration), hyaluronic acid (for even more hydration), sea whip (for skin soothing), and its blend of antioxidants, enzymes and hydrating technologies. Dry, lackluster skin doesn’t stand a chance with this one.

The bottom line is find the facial moisturizer that works best with your skin and apply it in the morning before makeup and at night after you wash your face.

[Morning and Night Skincare Routine | AM and PM Age-Repair with DefenAge and How to control oily skin (aad.org) and Dry skin remedies for darker skin tones (aad.org) and Best Anti-Aging Serum | 8-IN-1 BioSerum | DefenAge® Skincare and 24/7 Barrier Balance Anti-Aging Cream | Fragrance Free | DefenAge®]

DefenAge's Solutions