We’re here to provide you with the best advice on skincare for black women. We’ve brought in an experienced dermatologist from the NYC area to ensure we are giving you the most accurate information. We asked them about some of the most common questions related to skin care for black women that can be found on Google, and she gave us her expert insight.
We realize there are many questions on skincare, from what to use to skincare concerns with products. If your skin concerns go beyond what is answered in this interview, it is always best to consult a dermatologist professional for advice.
Read on to find out more about Dr. Nkem!
Dr. Nkem Ugonabo, M.D., M.P.H., is a board-certified dermatologist with advanced training in cosmetic dermatology and lasers. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, her M.D. degree at the University of Michigan, and her M.P.H. from Harvard School of Public Health.
She also completed her Dermatology training at N.Y.U. Medical Center and was appointed Chief Resident in her final year. At residency graduation, she was awarded the Dr. Irwin Freedberg award for the resident who best represents the field of dermatology.
Following residency, Dr. Ugonabo was an American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) Cosmetic Dermatologic Surgery Fellow at UnionDerm in New York City, where she led clinical trials investigating the treatment of acne scars, photodamage, cellulite, muscle stimulation, and melasma with lasers.
She now works full-time as a cosmetic dermatologist at Unionderm and as an Assistant Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Division of Dermatology, where she enjoys teaching and mentoring residents.
How can I identify my facial skin type?
The most common skin types are “dry,” “oily,” “combination,” and “normal” (which just means you have none of the previously mentioned issues). Those with dry skin may often feel dry, tight, and perhaps even irritated. They may also notice they need to moisturize more often for their skin to feel hydrated.
In contrast, people with oily skin may notice their faces increasingly oily or shiny during the day. In addition, those with combination skin often see areas of their face that feel drier, while others (usually the forehead, nose, and chin, also known as the “T zone”) feel more oily.
What is a good skin care routine for black women?
There is no one skincare routine for black women, as everyone’s skin is simply not the same. However, all women should incorporate a good cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen.
I especially want to emphasize sunscreen because there is a common misconception that black people (and women in general) do not need sunscreen. This is false. Sunscreen is vital for ALL skin types – not only for skin cancer prevention, but it also helps prevent the worsening of hyperpigmentation, formation of age spots, and even premature aging related to the sun.
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Is Cetaphil good for African American skin?
Cetaphil is a skincare brand known for being gentle, and I often recommend some of their products (e.g., moisturizing cream) to my AA patients.
How do I get rid of dark inner thighs, armpits, and private areas?
This largely depends on the reason for the darkness, and I recommend seeing a dermatologist to determine the source. That being said, friction from things such as shaving can contribute to hyperpigmentation in these areas, mainly if using a dull razor/shaving against the direction of the hair/shaving without a moisturizing shaving cream or gel.
In addition, irritating ingredients can also result in hyperpigmentation in these areas. I recommend gentle exfoliation to help improve the pigmentation in this area – but keep in mind this will require patience and time as well as to stop whatever the initial cause was; otherwise, it will be an ongoing cycle.
Is hyaluronic acid good for black women?
Yes. Hyaluronic acid is a moisturizer that is safe for all skin types and can help skin feel more hydrated after use
What products to avoid for oily skin vs. dry skin?
People with dry skin should avoid overusing exfoliants (e.g., glycolic acid) which could further dry out their skin. On the contrast, people with oily skin may want to avoid heavy moisturizers such as those containing mineral oil which could further contribute to the oiliness.
Is niacinamide good for black people?
Yes, niacinamide is very safe on black skin. I particularly love recommending niacinamide for inflamed skin because it has anti-inflammatory effects. It can also be helpful for hyperpigmentation as it has a brightening effect.
What should I drink everyday for good skin?
Staying hydrated with adequate water is essential for your overall health. However, there isn’t clear evidence that it directly affects your skin. That being said, I still recommend it to my patients, as many anecdotally note that their skin feels better when they are hydrated.
Excessive alcohol intake, in contrast, can definitely manifest in the skin and can even flare some inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea.
What are some great drugstore brands for skin care that you recommend for all skin types?
CeraVe, Cetaphil, La Roche Posay, Aveeno, Vanicream, and Neutrogena are several over-the-counter drugstore brands that I recommend to patients.
How do you know if you’re allergic to a skincare product?
If you notice your skin appears to be itchy, irritated, or even a bit red after you use a product, you may have a sensitivity or allergy to the product. For people with sensitive skin in general, I often recommend doing a test spot before applying a product to your entire face.
Are you only accepting patients in person? If yes, where can our readers in your local area reach you?
Yes, I see patients only in person. However, readers in NYC can book an appointment with me by going to my site to book an appointment or calling my office at 212-366-5400.
Beauty Tips for Black Women
We hope reading this interview empowered you with knowledge and provided you with the tools to take control of your skincare journey. You deserve beautiful black skin that you know how to take care of.
For those in the NYC area that are seeking a culturally competent in handling all of their skin care issues, Dr. Nkem Ugonabo is an excellent option in the local area. With her professional medical background and years of experience, she has the capacity to handle any type of skin issue.