The lucky news: Your skin is the best-protected against UV damage — not so much so that you can forget sunscreen (ever!) — but enough that you’re likely to look a few years younger than your lighter-skinned contemporaries. Your pigmentation also provides camouflage against redness and even cellulite. On the other hand, hyperpigmentation can be a big issue — the skin pros point out that acne scars are a particular bummer.
Wage a war against pimple scars by making your cleansing routine about acne avoidance: Use a pore-cleansing salicylic-acid wash once or twice a day. We like Bioré Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser, $6. But because you can’t ensure against breakouts one hundred percent of the time, consider applying a cream that contains both salicylic acid as well as a brown spot-fighting ingredient. Try Neutrogena Advanced Solutions Acne Mark Fading Peel, $15.
Keeping your b-day suit free of any ashy patches of dry skin is challenging because the contrast between dead, grayish cells and your rich dark skin tone can be obvious. Go for rich lotions and creams, and moisturize as often and as thoroughly as possible, especially when your skin is still damp after a shower. And stick with gentle cleansers versus drying soaps. Try Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash, $4.50. For stubborn ashiness, keep a humidifier on while you sleep.
You may also be plagued with ingrowns. The culprit: a combo of coarse hair and curved follicles. Simply put, the hair has a hard time breaking through the surface of your skin. And as tempting as picking and excavating may be, just say no. At best, you’ll invite hyperpigmentation…at worst, infection. Instead, opt for exfoliating and/or antiinflammatory products that coax trapped hairs out. Try Completely Bare Bikini Bump Blaster, $35, or Tend Skin, $20.