Summer is in full swing which means those winter months spent getting your body right and tight are hopefully paying off. But is your skin up to that level of "on pointness" as everything else?
If you have been following The Breakfast Club over the years then by now, you're familiar with the drastic, 180-degree change to Charlamagne Tha God's appearance. The radio jock once had a face marked with severe dark spots and hyperpigmentation, however his skin is now clear and even toned, thanks to dermatologist Dr. Natasha Sandy.
The miracle worker shared some tips on how to make sure your skin is summertime fine year-round on The Breakfast Club!
Despite the misconception that people of color don't need sunscreen because of our melanin, Dr. Sandy stresses that we still have to protect ourselves. She explains that the sun's harmful UVA/UVB rays still makes us susceptible to skin cancer. And that awful hyperpigmentation (darkening of the pigment)? The Maryland-based dermatologist says that can be caused from not applying sunscreen, too! However, she notes that the skin condition can also be triggered by other factors ranging from topical products, bad diet/lifestyle or even a pre-existing skin disease.
Now if you've already reached that bridge and need help crossing, Dr. Sandy recommends getting down to the root of the problem as it may not be something simple. You also don't have to decide whether to pay your rent or get your face cleared up because Dr. Sandy says great skin can still be achieved with a modest budget. Hallelujah!
Got questions about how to get rid of dark spots, chemical peels, semen facials, and those annoying period pimples? Dr. Sandy has answers.
xoNecole: What sunscreens and SPF (Sun Protection Factor) should you be using?
Dr. Sandy: The key thing is to get an SPF of at least 30. Anything above that, it doesn't make that much difference. The significant thing however, is the ingredients in it. So you want to have something that has Zinc Oxide in it, or Titanium. And the reason being is because you've got UVB Rays, which causes burning, and UVA Rays which causes aging, which you're exposed to on cloudy days. But Zinc and Titanium absorb all the wave of things. They absorb UVA and B. And that's the significant thing- You want protection from both rays. So you want Zinc and Titanium, and an SPF of at least 30.
Is tanning oil useful in sunscreen?
No. Because do you want to cook? It's like making yourself chicken or turkey. You put an oil on yourself and then you're sitting out on the fire.
When should you wear sunscreen?
Most people think about the UVB rays because they think about the burning and rays hitting them, but you need to do it all year around. Because like I said, the UVA rays you're exposed to even on cloudy days. So that's why in England, there's significant skin cancer. England is known for being cloudy.
Do certain products cause hyperpigmentation?
Most people try to associate when they have hyperpigmentation, as a triggering event that may have caused it. A lot of people think it may have been something that they put on their face, which it could've been. But really, why a product could cause that is basically, if you have anything that could cause hyperpigmentation, which is darkening of the pigment, that can leave you with dark marks.
What exactly causes hyperpigmentation?
The melanocytes, which are the cells that have melanin in the skin, inflammatory cells. So if you have anything that can cause inflammation on the skin, even the sun hitting it can make you have dark marks. And if you continually expose yourself to that thing, you never wear sunscreen, you're always in the sun, you don't protect yourself, then you're going to get hyperpigmentation.
You have the obvious topical things, external factor. So for example sun, products that you're using, maybe true specific skin diseases like acne, dandruff which you can actually get in your face. Even things like psoriasis, things like that. But also remember, we are a total being and the skin really manifests what's happening inside. So anything you're taking internally that's causes inflammation in the body, or even your lifestyle, can impact that.
“I had to change my lifestyle, too. I was 202 pounds, so I had to lose 30 pounds. And then when they say, 'drink in moderation', really drink in moderation. I would notice when I would drink, the marks on my face would be darker." - Charlamagne
If there are problem areas, how does a dermatologist care for the skin?
First, you have to treat whatever the source of the skin discoloration is, right? So if you've got acne, you need to treat the acne. So whatever the cause of the skin discoloration is, you want to treat that first. With Charlamagne, we treated some of the acne that he had, but he also had dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, as well. And that made a big difference. I've used chemical peels on him as well.
What are chemical peels and how do they work?
All chemical peels are not created equal. That's the first thing. So there's Medical Grade, and there is what you can get esthetician-wise. With chemical peels, you're putting a chemical, typically an acid and there's a lot of different types, on the skin so you can achieve a number of different goals. It changes the pH of the skin, and it makes the skin more acidic. Why does that matter? Well, the skin likes a more acidic environment. For example, we've all heard of Queen of Sheba soaking in milk. Milk has lactic acid in it, and that's why her skin was that great.
The other thing that it can do if you have uneven skin, depending on the depth of the peel, if it's more superficial it'll take off the top layer of skin for the uneven pigment. If it's deeper and you have fine wrinkles, you've got scars, you can use it for that as well.
Is Charlamagne bleaching?
No [he's not bleaching]. So here's the distinction, I think people are looking for the question of, like—because, in the culture, there's a lot of that. The bleaching, the cake soap, people just having that gray appearance.
How can you take care of your skin on a modest budget?
Dr. Natasha Sandy acne pads
… And exfoliate!
What about pimples?
It's definitely hormonal. Usually around that time, people feel like eating lots of sugar. So what you want to do is not do those sugars, or pick a good sugar. So you want to do more fruits and vegetables. More fruits, sweet fruits. If you want to, make smoothies.
There's some prescription supplements (anti-inflammatory) that have things like turmeric, folic acids. I take that, and around my period I rarely get the dark marks.
Do semen facials really work?
Anecdotally, people have found that when they put certain fluids on their bodies, either internally or externally, they feel that their skin is better. However, there has not been any studies to support that. I'm a physician so I have to go with the evidence, so once there's a study that's put together with thousands of people, then I can provide evidence to support that.
Are any of her tips you swear by? How do you currently care for your skin?