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These Amazing Secrets of Black Men's Skin Will Astound You

by Sonja Williams |

"Black don't crack" is a myth.

Don't get us wrong - melanin helps protect the skin. In fact, dark skin can have a built-in SPF of 15. But that doesn't mean people of color are impervious to the ravages of time, and it doesn't mean black men, in particular, don't need to take good care of their skin and hair in order to keep looking fly, and perhaps more importantly, to avoid damage to the skin such as flaking, hyperpigmentation, or even melanoma.

Keep It Clean

One of the best things you can do for your face is also the simplest: keep it clean. This doesn't mean splashing some water up there once in the morning, maybe adding some suds from whatever bar of soap you're using on your body. It means having a skincare regimen that you do twice a day, morning and night. It means using a face wash, not bar soap that dries out sensitive facial skin and leaves a film. It means lightly rubbing the face with either a clean washcloth or your fingertips for at least 30 seconds, sloughing off dead skin and stimulating blood flow, then rinsing thoroughly and patting dry. Be sure to choose a high-quality facial wash with natural ingredients that gently cleanse and replenish rather than harsh chemicals that will strip your face leaving it dry, red, and prone to irritation and flakiness. And if you have a beard (as so many men do these days), a combination face and beard wash is ideal, because it's specially formulated to keep the skin under your beard as clean and problem-free as the rest of your face. Using shampoo on your beard is a really bad idea because your scalp and your facial skin are totally different!

Prep Before Shaving, Tone After

Hands up, everybody reading this who uses facial toner and a pre-shave prep. Okay, that's two of you. Good job! The rest of you, listen up: you are skipping a quick and easy way to avoid all the nasty things that can happen with shaving like razor burn, ingrown hairs, and more. A good pre-shave product softens the beard to make shaving smoother and easier so your skin doesn't get irritated. A truly great pre-shave product also functions as a shaving cream, saving you money, steps, and shelf space.

After shaving, most guys slap on some cologne, which is fine. Even better? Aftershave that's also a toner, so it soothes your skin with ingredients like aloe vera and black willow bark, cleanses with tea tree oil and prepares your skin to soak up the moisturizer you're about to treat it to. "What? Moisturizer?" We hear some of you saying it. Yes, indeed. Moisturizer.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Most men wash their faces but laugh if you suggest moisturizing. "That's for my girl!" Not unless your girl likes looking at dry, flaky, wrinkled skin. She doesn't? Well then, you'd best start moisturizing. It's quick and easy to do and will keep your skin looking and feeling smooth. And once again, it pays to choose natural ingredients over harsh (and cheap) chemicals. You only get one face, treat it right! If you're lucky, you'll find a moisturizer that's got vitamin E, shea butter, and grapeseed oil to not just moisturize but also promote collagen (which keeps your skin tight) and if you're really lucky, you'll find one that is a combination face and beard moisturizer!

Almost Done

So much for your daily skincare regimen. Sounds like a lot, but it will take you maybe ten minutes in the morning and five at night (unless you shave twice a day). But don't breathe a sigh of relief yet because there's one more thing you should do two or three times a week: exfoliate. That means using something slightly rough on your skin to get rid of dead skin cells and encourage cell turnover so your skin is always its freshest and youngest-looking. Experts agree that it's best to use a gentle exfoliating scrub to do this job, especially one with natural ingredients like jojoba and coconut seed oil.

All it takes to keep your skin healthy and looking great is a few minutes a day and a few well-chosen, high-quality natural grooming products. Commit to starting a skincare regimen today and your skin will thank you tomorrow!