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Melanin Talk: How to Get Even Skin Tone for Black Skin

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I lived most of my life with skin troubles. I had acne from the time I hit puberty up until I had my first daughter. Pregnancy somehow offered me the chance to be a grown woman in her thirties with clear skin. Not that I am complaining. But until then, I worried over red blotches in my already blotchy skin. It took me years of research to find the ideal soaps and oils to apply to help my skin embrace its natural glow. My Black girlfriends, on the other hand, suffered from a different kind of “blotchy.” And they were not alone. Studies show that more than 30% of Black women experience what is called “hyperpigmentation.” It is a condition where acne scarring or sun damage shows up as a darker patch of skin. Where my blotches were bright red, my Black girlfriends’ blotches were a darker brown. If you have struggled with this same experience, I have included some tips to help you get an even skin tone for your Black skin.  

Table of Contents:  

  • The History of Black Skin  
  • 5 Ways to Even Out Skin Tone for Black Skin 
  • What Not to Do 
  • Keep It Natural: Products that Might Help 

    The History of Black Skin  

    As you may already know, Black women have spent decades ignored by dermatologists. It has only been recently that the fields of dermatology, and beauty in general, have begun to include, and indeed cater to, Black women and their specific needs. Before, Black women had to make do with either home remedies derived from the wisdom of the Black women who came before them, or products designed for the skin tone of their much paler sisters, white women. These products, perfect for clean and clear Caucasian skin, do little to help women with more melanin. Black skin is simply different from white skin, and it deserves its own product lines. Fortunately, we now have markets for Black skin, and remedies aimed specifically at hyperpigmentation. Even skin tones are achievable now more than ever for Black women with skin conditions.  

    5 Ways to Even Out Skin Tone for Black Skin 

    1. Exfoliate 

    This remedy is an oldie but a goodie. Exfoliating, gently scrubbing the surface, works to even out the skin tone of all faces, men and women, Black and white. The difference for Black women is that you want to be sure to use a gentle exfoliant that also offers moisturizer. As Black skin tends to be drier due to a lack of ceramides, you must check your labels to avoid any chemicals that could add to the dryness.  

    2. Brightening Serum 

    After you exfoliate, you can apply a brightening serum to your face. Focus on any dark spots, and the antioxidants in the serum will naturally lighten those areas. Try to find a serum with vitamin C as it adds brightening qualities and protects you from free radicals.  

    3. Glycolic Peel 

    Search for a gentle (seriously – gentle) glycolic peel. Glycolic peels contain hydroxy acid, which is a natural exfoliant for your skin. Look for one with a low percentage of hydroxy acid as it will ease your skin into the intense exfoliant peel process.  

    4. Moisturize 

    If you know me, you know this one will be at the top of my list for anything skin-related. Moisturize! My go-to is coconut oil for my face, but my Black girlfriends are more inclined to choose shea butter or cocoa butter as they are richer and will absorb better into Black skin. Choose a moisturizer that is plant-based and has SPF properties to protect your skin from future damage.  

    5. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate 

    I know you had to know this was coming. Drink lots of water and eat your fruits and veggies. If you are not already doing this and you begin a routine that includes 8 glasses of water and at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day, you will very likely see dramatic improvements in your skin, including hyperpigmentation.  

    What Not to Do 

    While there are many things you can do to even out your skin tone as a Black woman, there is one thing not to do. Do not use harsh chemicals or laser treatments, especially in an attempt to lighten your skin. Every Black woman I have talked to or read that has used lightening products has regretted it. You can end up doing far more damage to your skin than whatever it is you are trying to fix. In case you have not heard recently, Black is beautiful. We are not trying to permanently whiten your skin. We are trying to even it out and brighten it!  

    Keep It Natural: Products that Might Help 

      As your self-appointed nature-loving guru, I am including a couple of plant-based, all-natural, vegan products you may want to add to your shelf. For exfoliating and moisturizing on your quest to even out your skin tone, remember to keep in mind ingredients that are naturally brightening like vitamin C and gently exfoliating, like ground nuts.  

      Vitamin C Face Wash 

      Here is a gentle, skin brightening face wash with the beloved vitamin C to add to your shower that may help even out your skin tone naturally and over time.  

      Vitamin C Face Serum 

      Vitamin C Face Serum


      Add this serum to your daily routine and apply it specifically to any dark blotches on your face. With vitamin C, witch hazel, and hyaluronic acid, you will likely see your skin brighten up rather quickly! 

      Above are just two of the products that might help brighten up and even out your skin tone. Click the links and browse the site for an array of options for all your hair and skin health needs.  

      Shanna Mendez

      Shanna Mathews Mendez is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to self-care, naturopathy, female empowerment, and motherhood. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children, where she enjoys traveling, being active outdoors, and studying herbalism and plant-based remedies in her free time. Drawing on her graduate degree in comparative literature and her own life experiences, she is currently writing her first book. She can be found online at her website thewordywitch.com

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