You may or may not have realized, but I am almost as obsessed and regimented about my improving skin care as I am with my hair care. It all started with acne scars in my mid 20s aka hyperpigmentation. Since then I’ve been very deliberate about the things I use in my skin care routine. And turning 30 did nothing but make me more interested in how I can improve my skin. For the most part skin care advertisements are geared towards women in general, so I often have to dig deep to figure out what I should be doing with my melanin-rich skin. From that research, I’ve made sure that these 5 things are incorporated into my skin care regimen regardless of the product brands that I use. And yes, these are listed in order of importance/effectiveness of improving my skin’s complexion, texture and overall appearance.
The often underrated, but oh so important, sunscreen/sunblock. When you’ve got melanin on your side it’s often easy to overlook the importance of sunblock. I mean, it takes A LOT of reckless sunbathing for us to get sunburns. But the fact remains that 90% of wrinkles come from the sun and while having melanin rich skin acts a barrier to the sun’s damage, it doesn’t provide 100% protection. Wearing sunscreen daily slows down the sun and UV damage that causes wrinkles. I use Neutrogena UltraSheer Sunscreen SPF 45 daily.
 Retinol Serums or Creams.
After reading my number one strategy to maintaining youthful skin, you’re probably thinking, “Kim, Black doesn’t crack.” Well, that may be true for some, but our skin does age. With that aging it also loses its elasticity and begins to sag. That sagging comes from skin’s natural decreasing production of collagen, which is what keeps skin youthful and elastic. To slow down that loss of collagen, products containing retinol are your second best friend. Retinol, which is essentially vitamin A, has so many skin care benefits. But why I love it is because it increases collagen production and improves your skin’s texture as well. But be careful, even though over the counter retinol creams aren’t as potent as their prescription counterparts, they should be used sparingly until you are sure your skin can handle it. Start out using it a few days a week at night only. If/when you decide to wear it during the day, always use it with sunscreen. I use Roc Retinol Correxion Eye Cream daily and Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Serum a few nights a week.
 Glycolic Acid.
This ingredient right here, is what helped me get rid of a majority of my dark spots from acne scarring. It’s typically found in chemical peels, but can also be found in some serums as well. Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that chemically exfoliates and removes the outer layer of skin revealing newer skin underneath. The exfoliating process removes the damaged and scarred skin and leaves you with a complexion that is closer to your own. This is another ingredient that must be used in conjunction with sunscreen. I didn’t use a highly potent peel and still got remarkable results using Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Peel a few (2-4) times a month.
 Vitamin C.
This ingredient is new to my skin care routine, but when I looked into the benefits of vitamin C it fit perfectly with my skin care goals. Vitamin C is a brightening ingredient that helps to reverse the sun’s UV damage and counteract sunspots. It helps to fight wrinkles and gives your skin a brighter complexion. I use Lumene Bright Now Hyaluronic Essence a few days a week and Lumene Bright Now Day and Night Creams each night.
The older we get the drier our skin gets, which is what contributes to it lacking a youthful glow. Even though it’s number five it is still super important. I only listed it last because I know most people know to moisturize. However, did you know that the older we get the more creamy and hydrating our skin care products should get. I’ve never had oily skin, but as soon as I noticed my combination skin was more like normal to dry skin, I switched to a creamy non-lathering cleanser to be sure that I was infusing moisture into my skin more. Along with my day and night moisturizers, I use Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Cleanser daily in addition to my daily (and nightly) moisturizers.