This article has been medically reviewed by Naana Boakye, MD, MPH and Heather McGowan, MD
Melanated skin is beautiful in its wide range of hues and richness. But what is it exactly that makes our skin extra-special, and what should we look for in our products to support our skin’s beauty, health, and wellness? Let’s get into it!
WHAT IS MELANIN?
Melanin is a skin pigment created by melanocytes in the top layer of the skin. While everyone has the same amount of melanocytes, each can create more or less melanin depending on our genes. The more melanin we have, the darker our skin tone.
WHO HAS MELANATED SKIN?
When we say melanated skin, we mean those with higher concentrations of melanin. This can vary across a broad range of Black and brown skin tones and ethnicities, from African American to Latin or South American, South and Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander and Native, and Middle Eastern and North African.
WHAT MAKES OUR SKIN EXTRA-SPECIAL?
Our littlest loves have beautiful, rich, melanated skin that is both strong and amazing. And sometimes, what makes our skin extra-special is also the very thing that makes it more sensitive.
Melanin strengthens our skin and protects us from the environment including pollutants, free radicals, and harmful UV rays (but we still need sunscreen!).
Black skin loses water faster than white skin and can feel drier because our skin tends to have fewer ceramides—fatty cells that help strengthen our skin's protective barrier.
Melanated skin may also have a slightly lower pH on parts of the body. This can help repel microorganisms that may disturb our skin’s natural state. Our skin barrier, which should be healthy and pH-neutral, can be disturbed the environment or products.
WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR SPECIAL SKIN?
Moisture-Rich, pH-Balanced Formulas
Products should have ingredients that provide moisture—not ingredients that strip skin of its natural moisture. Products should also be pH-balanced to melanated skin (meaning on the slightly lower end of neutral) to avoid disrupting the skin’s barrier and avoid potential triggers for irritation or severe dryness.
Hypoallergenic & Efficacious Formulas
Use products with cleaner ingredients—No Sketchy Stuff!™ It’s important to use certain ingredients, at thoughtful concentrations to avoid potential skin irritation. Products need to work, but should also be hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin.
Products that prioritize plant-based ingredients—like jojoba oil and aloe—have both hydrating and antimicrobial properties. But, it is important to keep in mind that some plants can be irritating to our littlest loves’ skin, so it is critical to be thoughtful about which plant-based ingredients are used and in what amounts they are in each product.
Our littlest loves deserve products made specifically for every hue of their beautifully rich, melanated skin. And we’re proud to bring it to them. We’re proud to create a world made for us, by us.