We Asked A Dermatologist All Your Burning Skincare Questions

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Skincare. It's the hot button topic in the beauty world and everywhere you look, there's a new product to fill our carts with both online and in store.


As brands increase their awareness surrounding "inclusion," it's important to note that many Black women deal with skin issues that individuals of other ethnic groups don't experience. So how exactly do we know what products to put our dollars towards and which ones to leave on the shelf? When all else fails, there's nothing wrong with asking for some expert help, so we called in a doctor, literally.

Dr. Tiffany Clay is a board-certified dermatologist based in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. After struggling with skin issues ranging from pubescent acne to eczema in her early 20's, Dr. Clay now finds herself assisting others with their skin issues through general dermatology and cosmetic procedures. She also uses her platform to increase awareness surrounding skin care education. She stresses that like most health concerns, "Things don't have to be terrible for you to go to the dermatologist."

These days, it may seem as if just about everyone with clear skin and a decent social media following can be a skincare guru, but nothing beats the real, board-certified deal! Today, the doctor is in to answer all of your most-asked skin care concerns:

What is the best way for people with oily skin to manage their skin type?  

COSRXAHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner, $17

Ulta

Oily skin actually makes you look more youthful when you get older, so embrace that oily skin! They say that the oilier your skin is, the more plump your skin will become [as you age], which reduces wrinkle production. If you're more on the oily side, use products that are more clarifying and will keep you at a good pH balance.

Sometimes the thought is that if the skin is oilier, you want to dry it out, but your skin is going to realize that and produce more oil for you. Try not to go overboard with products that are going to make your skin feel squeaky clean; I recommend using a cleanser or toner that has a BHA and AHA, which will unclog the pores and remove the excess oil left on the skin.

Is there truly a way to minimize large pores?

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum, $90

Sephora

Pores are a function of the structure for the rest of the skin, so you need healthy, plump skin to hold your pores together so they're not "looser," which makes them appears wider. As we age, the pores lose their structure by not being held up by the rest of the skin and that happens from day to day sun damage, not wearing sunscreen, and losing our collagen, which is one of the components that keeps our skin nice and tight.

When that happens, all of this breaks down our collagen then we realize our pores are wide. Also, make sure your pores are decongested from oil and dirt. You can do this by getting facials, extractions, or at home by using those acids like Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) and Hyaluronic Acid (HA), which are going to get those different components out of the pore. Then, you want to do something that's going to start to build up the skin structure again and tighten it. For this, there are Retinoids, which are Vitamin A derived creams and gels that you typically apply at night that helps you build new collagen in your skin.

What would you say is the best remedy for dark marks, acne scar, and hyperpigmentation?

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30, $18.99

Black Girl Sunscreen

Number one is always use sunscreen. As women of color, we aren't accustomed to wearing sunscreen and think we don't need sunscreen because we have melanin to protect our skin. But when we sit in the car and walk around outside, just those short few minutes that we're exposed to ultraviolet light can actually make our dark marks darker or make them not resolve as quickly as they could. You can't fade something if you're allowing it continuously get darker. So again, sunscreen! It's definitely a hard habit to get into but it's worth it. Also, don't pick your pimple. The short-term relief of it could resolute in the long-term effect of a dark spot.

There's this fad where people are using Apple Cider Vinegar, lemon juice, and toothpaste [on their face]. We don't think about it but a lot of these products are acidic and I haven't seen the cases where it works; I've only seen the cases where people come in with chemical burns on their dark spot or pimple and now we have even more hyperpigmentation to remove from the results of damaged skin. Lastly, if it's something that you're struggling with alone, just see a doctor because we could make it more manageable and clear it up faster than if you did it alone.

What sunscreen would you recommend for WOC?

EltaMD UV ClearBroad-Spectrum SPF 46

EltaMD

You always want to have a sunscreen that's an SPF 30 or higher. One of my favorite oil-free sunscreens is by EltaMD called UV Clear Broad-Spectrum. It's actually made for people with acne and hyperpigmentation. Another good one is CeraVe Ultra-Light Face Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30, which is really thin and light. For someone who needed something a little richer, Revision Multi-Protection Broad-Spectrum, and [it's] on the higher-end with built in anti-aging antioxidants.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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