When it comes to beauty, smooth, poreless skin is the standard. But finding a scrub that brightens your natural skin complexion can be complicating.
As a consumer expert (read: I shop a lot) for the past 15 years, I’ve tried trunk loads of scrubs in an effort to obtain that Liya Kebede-worthy glow. You know the look, right? Gorgeous, mahogany-colored skin that seems to be set aglow under fluorescent lights.
And you know what I’ve discovered: Some products are cult favorites for a reason, while others are essentially abrasive weapons of mass destruction.
Based on a quick run down the shelves of Nordstrom, the majority of skincare products in the market promise one thing--Beyonce-approved flawless skin.
But, when it comes to exfoliating Black skin, what scrubs really work at obtaining even-tone, gleaming skin?
Dermatologist Susan C. Taylor, M.D., who received her training from Harvard University, advises to exfoliate with scrubs that are loaded with exfoliating acids such as lactic, alpha hydroxy or glycolic.
Taylor is the author of Brown Skin: Dr. Susan Taylor's Prescription for Flawless Skin, Hair, and Nails, the tombstone on dermatology and Black skin. She’s also the director of Skin Color Center, the go-to skincare facility for Black and melanin-filled skin.
Other ingredients to look out for? Sucrose, citrus, lemon peel oatmeal and soy extracts are organic remedies that gently remove dead skin cells and are often found in high performing scrubs.
The Benefits of Scrubs
According to Health.com, consistently exfoliating your skin sloughs off dead skin cells, allowing bright skin to shine through. You know the results: Blemish free skin as seen on Rihanna, Nia Long and Lupita Nyong’O.
Exfoliating with scrubs allows skin care products to penetrate the epidermis and dermis better. Meaning, the $100 bottle of face serum that you bought as a splurge will actually absorb quicker and penetrate deeper into your skin resulting in--gasp!--more visible results.
Black skin has an estimated 35 shades varying in color due to melanin production. Because of melanin, Black skin also runs the risk of hyperpigmentation, the darkening of an area once the skin is aggravated.
Like all beauty routines, consistency is the key. After establishing a weekly exfoliating method, give yourself at least a month to see optimal results.
Taylor recommends exfoliating two to three times a week as a part of an effective skincare routine.
Women who live in warmer weather should exfoliate more often, as warm weather increases perspiration and oil production, leading to speedier accumulation of dead cells.
As for method, your hands, a Clairsonic cleansing brush or exfoliating gloves are great tools to use in your routine.
To maintain the lasting effects of an exfoliating regimen, regularly use a sunscreen with a 55 SPF or higher.
Despite the rate of cancer being comparably low among Black women in relation to White women, Black women are still susceptible to sun burns and hyperpigmentation.
Need help in choosing the right scrub? Read Brown Skin: Dr. Susan Taylor's Prescription for Flawless Skin, Hair, and Nails