By Leah Fletcher
Because of their naturally curly facial hair, potential for dry skin and problems with dark spots, a good skin care routine is a must for African American men. There are skin care techniques that can not only improve the feel and tone of the skin, but lead to healthier, more attractive skin and an improved appearance.
Facial Hair and Shaving Issues
Many African American men suffer from pseudofolliculitis barbae, also known as ingrown hairs, which presents a problem when they shave. According to Medscape.com, a medical news website, the hair causes bumps that are often a darker tone and can become itchy or burn. Often called razor bumps, the ingrown hairs can be present on the neck, chin, cheeks, jawline and even the scalp. Because the hair is wiry, when a hair grows, it curves back into the skin causing the bump and irritation.
A person with this condition should always use a sharp razor with only one blade. Always use shaving cream to soften the hair, and shave in the direction in which the hair is growing. Shaving over these bumps can cut the skin and lead to infection. A possible solution is to grow a beard. If this is not a viable solution, consider increasing the time between shaves.
You also can relieve pain by sterilizing a needle and carefully lifting the embedded hair away from the skin. Be careful not to pull to pull it out and avoid causing further bumps as the follicle heals. For some cases, medication may be necessary. Choices include: topical antibiotics, retinoid or hydroquinone. Consult with a dermatologist to determine the right treatment
Addressing Oily or Dry skin
Many African American men have oily sin. Washing the face twice daily helps keep excessive oil away. Use facial cleanser that is especially made for oily skin to remove the oil and dirt. For men with dry skin, it is a good idea to moisturize to alleviate dry skin. According to the Men’s Science website, some men have dry ashy skin after showering or bathing. This could be caused by scrubbing too severely, using extremely hot water or using harsh soap. Look for products that are gentle on the skin.
Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate
Because African American men have issues with ingrown hair and sensitive skin, exfoliating is important. Dead skin cells build up and the skin feels uneven and rough. This can also enlarge the pores or cause blockage, which can further irritate the skin. Most exfoliants contain citric acid or glycolic acid to remove any bacteria. One should be used twice a week to keep the skin smooth.
Treating those pesky dark spots.
Look for relief from dark spots, or hyperpigmentation. They can be caused by acne scarring, cuts or burns. A dermatologist can treat this condition by prescribing creams such a Retinol or Vitamin C. The spots may take between four and eight weeks to show improvement. Be sure to protect your skin from the sun because your dark sports could reappear and you could get sunburn. Wear sunblock with a minimum of SPF15.