African American Aging

I teach skin care and cosmetic application.  There are times when I’m at a pampering session with my beautiful African American Sistahs and begin talking about anti-aging, someone will inevitably blurt out, “Girl, you know black don’t crack.”  At which time the entire table co-signs and says, “Girl, you know that’s right.” Followed by high five’s and that look that says, “So why do I need your products?” 

They are correct.  I’m proud to say that “Black don’t crack.”  This is because of the amount of melanin our skin produces.  Melanin is a sticky pigment produced by your skin that works like sunscreen, protecting the skin from UV rays. We have a natural protection. It’s like an ozone layer of our skin."  The lighter the skin, the less protection.

Another reason black skin ages so well is because we typically have a higher oil content and the sebaceous activity in our skin—meaning we have a natural skin hydration system that makes black skin look hydrated, smoother, and plumper.

Collagen is another factor.  Black people don’t produce more, but the type of collagen black skin produces is less prone to the sun damage. "This might be one of the reasons signs of aging, like wrinkles, are delayed in darker skin," This does NOT imply that sunscreen is NOT needed.

Black don’t crack, but signs of aging manifests in other ways:  Darker skin is prone to discoloration, dark spots, and pigmentation such as melisma ( from sun exposure and hormonal effects; Keloid Scarring ( (scar tissue build up forming a lump);  Hyper-pigmentation is very common in people with darker skin where many have the “Raccoon Effect” of dark under eye circles.

Our skin doesn’t crack, but the texture changes.  That baby smooth soft skin becomes rough and bumpy especially on sun exposed areas (hence sunscreen).  This is why exfoliation either with topical agents, chemical peels or microdermabrasion is key. 

Black don’t crack, but it does eventually sag. As with everything in our body, as we age, our skin cells reproduce at a slower rate. New fresh skin doesn’t come to the surface as quickly.  Collagen cells deplete and you lose volume.  The face becomes hollow and sags.  It’s most noticeable on the cheeks just under the cheek bone.  It’s most prominent in the area between the nose and the outer corner of the mouth and in the neck and jawline. 

So, why do you need my products, or any good skin care system other than Dove and Vaseline?  You want a cleanser that will cleanse the impurities that your skin accumulated during the day. A sunscreen that will protect your skin from the harmful sun rays.  An exfoliation that will remove the rough dry patches and restore your smooth baby soft skin.  A serum/cream that will lighten the dark patches, and a good moisturizer for your specific skin type.

Nope.  Black may not crack, but with the proper care we will forever bring sexy back. 

Yes, I said that.


By Senora Colvin 

M Samela Dingus