Let’s face it; life’s not fair, and for the typical Asian woman, not being born fair-skinned could possibly seem to be one of the most unfair things ever.
Primitive thinking, one might say. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, some things remain unchanged — including the concept of beauty in most Asian societies, which continue to favor those with fairer complexions.
While many pay lip service to the words beauty is only skin deep and other trite sayings in a similar vein, the fact remains that ads for whitening products continue to bombard the general public, further glorifying those lucky enough to be born with “flawlessly white” complexions, to the detriment of beauties with darker skin hues.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having fair skin. But let’s not forget that there are a variety of colors in the spectrum; all of them equally beautiful.
Right smack in the middle of that spectrum is brown skin, which Filipinas are most typically born with. Being naturally morena, Filipinas often get praised for having a year-round tan. They can also get away with wearing daring and bolder colors because these easily complement their skin tone. But we can all agree that the best accessory one can wear is a great skin. So, for the Filipina, here are a few tips on how to take better care of your not-so-white, a.k.a., brown skin.
- DON’T SKIMP ON YOUR ZZZZZ’S.
The ‘sleep is for the weak’ attitude is becoming a trend especially for those who prefer to pull all-nighters to study, to party, or simply to binge-watch shows on Netflix. But if your skin were to have a say in it, I bet that it would beg you to get some shuteye instead: Preferably eight to 10 hours of it every night.
Throughout the day, our bodies lose millions of skin cells. Add to that being exposed to the harsh sun, the horrible pollution, and other stressors that damage the skin. Sleep is the body’s way of recuperating; it is when the body repairs old and damaged cells and replaces them with fresh ones.
Not getting enough sleep means not giving your body enough time to recover fully. This deprives your skin of the nourishment it needs by messing up the production of moisture. So if you are not getting enough sleep, don’t be surprised if you end up having dry skin when you take your #iwokeuplikethis selfie in the morning.
2. HYDRATE (IN and OUT!)
The average adult is made up of 50-65% water. Water functions as the primary building block of cells. It also plays a part in regulating one’s internal body temperature and in flushing toxins out. Given all these tasks, the body uses up water quickly. It is imperative that we replenish what we lose with an average of eight to 10 glasses of water daily.
When you lack water, your skin gets dehydrated. The skin then produces oil to balance out that loss — leading ultimately to the development of dull skin, dry patches, and breakouts. Drinking alcohol and caffeine can also dry out the skin.
One way to also retain your skin moisture from the inside is to eat food rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, such as fish, avocado, nuts, cucumbers, oysters, and sweet potato.
And while you’re hydrating your skin from the inside, why not do it on the outside too? Whenever we wash our faces or bathe, we strip a layer of moisture from our skin. Ideally, applying moisturizer should be done right after to help keep your skin supple.
But not just any moisturizer will do. If you have dry skin, you best use a cream, as it will have a higher oil content to better keep your skin hydrated. For those who have oily skin, lotion or a moisturizer with an exfoliating ingredient are better choices over of cream.
3. BLOCK THE SUN
Don’t be fooled. Just because brown complexions are less susceptible to skin cancer doesn’t mean that you’re totally impervious to skin damage. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful rays can speed up the aging process, and cause wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, apart from skin cancer.
The sun is at its harshest between 10 am to 4 pm so be sure to wear sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. While it is tempting to use sunblocks with a higher SPF, research now shows that doing so may do more harm than good. It’s best to stick with SPF30. Just make sure to reapply after 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure or after swimming, even if the product is labeled as waterproof.
You can also shield your skin by seeking shade as much as you can. Make it a point to bring umbrellas and wear protective clothing whenever possible.
4. MAKE SURE YOUR SKIN CARE GAME IS ON POINT
Brown skin could use a bit of nurturing, too. Brown-skinned women skin tend to have oily faces and dry skin on the rest of the body. Avoid abrasive cleansers and products as these can irritate and cause dryness and cell build-up. Steer clear from products with ingredients such as mineral oil, denatured alcohol, synthetic dyes and fragrances, and plastic exfoliating beads. Stick to gentler, water-soluble, and sulfate-free cleansers.
When the skin dries out, it produces a thick outer layer that sometimes keeps it from absorbing the products that you put on it. When this happens, it is best to exfoliate. But don’t just stick to your face. Exfoliate your whole body as well, especially often-neglected areas like the neck, elbows, legs, arms, and heels. Try out pH-neutral products to keep the pH levels of your skin balanced. But don’t overdo it: Exfoliating once a week will be enough to keep your skin smooth and pliant. When you’re trying out a new exfoliating product, it is important to try it out on a small patch first to check if it is compatible with your skin.
Keep your hands away from your face. While it may be tempting to pop a zit or two, doing so will do more damage than good to your skin. The bacteria from your dirty fingers will lead to more breakouts and scarring.
While it is important to use the correct makeup for your skin tone, you should not forget to keep your makeup brushes clean as they often touch your face as well. Washing your concealer and foundation brushes with mild shampoo and lukewarm once a week will do the trick.
5. CHECK IN WITH YOUR DOCTOR
When certain skin conditions like discoloration and rashes occur — and you suspect it them to be something else — don’t try to self-medicate. Consult a dermatologist who is adept at dealing with such conditions right away.
Like most things in life, having gorgeous and glowing skin — whether brown or white — takes a bit of effort and care. Always take good care of your skin; it is, after all, the only one you’ve got!
Article contributed by: Melissa Lobo
Bio: Melissa is a young and energetic writer, a mom to a sweet little boy, and a fur-mom to two perfect pooches. Before becoming the Associate Content Director for Project Female, she was a journalist specializing in topics related to women in politics and policy affecting women.