While the range of skin colours varies almost infinitely, the factors that cause imperfections are the same, whether your skin is fair or dark. However, the consequences of these may differ depending on pigmentation intensity. A colourful interview full of great tips with dermatologist Philippe Deshayes.
What determines skin colour? "It's to do with the manufacture of melanin by melanocytes. The darker the skin, the higher the concentration of melanin. However, the physiological characteristics of fair and dark skin are exactly the same."
Factors that cause imperfections
We sometimes hear that dark skin is more prone to acne – what do you say Dr Deshayes? "As many people with fair skin as with dark skin consult a dermatologist about acne. The factors are above all environmental or hormonal. The mechanism is always the same: abnormal keratinisation in the opening of the sebaceous gland. The sebum does not secrete properly, it accumulates and forms comedones, blackheads and microcysts."
And what are the visible signs on skin?" Shininess can appear, pores dilate and the complexion becomes uneven. On fair skins, redness becomes more visible. On darker skins, even superficial epidermic lesions can cause persistent, pigmented marks. This is called post-inflammatory pigmentation with overproduction of melanin. However, not all dark skins are oily. It is important to maintain constant hydration to avoid white marks and discomfort.
Choosing skin care products wisely
What products do you recommend? "The No. 1 rule is to choose products that are suitable for sensitive skin and non-comedogenic. This is essential, whatever your skin colour. If your skin is prone to acne, use a purifying cleansing gel beforehand and treat spots as soon as they appear: if you prevent the spot from getting worse, you'll avoid residual marks. To do this, apply a moisturising spot treatment to prevent and treat all imperfections."
Apply a mild scrub once a week if there is no irritation, otherwise apply at longer intervals. And keep out of the sun! If you have dark skin, you may be tempted to lower your guard but once you come back from holiday you can be sure the spots will be back!
And what do you do if the spots are already there? "Above all, don't touch them, don't try to squeeze them. Apply a treatment that isolates the spot from bacterial contamination and only go out in the sun with sunscreen on. A few hours are all that's needed to avoid secondary infection and persistent scarring for up to 18 months on dark skin."