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5 tips to boost the health of melanin-rich skin

MDW is proud to feature skin care expert and Master Licensed Esthetician Emily Trampetti on the blog to take a deeper look into skincare for women with melanin-rich skin and key strategies for long-term care.

Skin comes in a large variety of color shades, mostly derived from genetics and place of origin.

Melanin, a substance produced by our skin, is the key to unlocking this color - along with our hair and eye color as well. Its main function is to protect us from the sun by absorbing harmful UV radiation by producing pigment on the skin’s surface. In those of us with darker skin, there tends to be more melanin produced, which by many is believed to be determined by our ancestral place of origin.

Generally speaking, darker-skinned individuals’ ancestry can be commonly traced to sunnier and warmer climates, where the production of melanin needed to be higher to protect the body from UV damage.

Darker-skinned individuals have been observed to have slightly more hydrated and lubricated skin, which can help slow the aging process and prevent skin dehydration. This is often one of the most important qualities in keeping skin healthy and strong which maintains a youthful appearance.

And although these qualities are worth celebrating - slower aging, less sun damage - dark-skinned individuals need to create focused skincare strategies to prevent the downsides of more melanin- and oil-rich complexion, and that is preventing excess pigmentation disorders, inflammation, and even adult acne.

Here are my top tips for protecting all of the beautiful brown complexions out there:

1. Always wear sunscreen daily.

Although your melanin offers you some protection, it can easily be “overstimulated” to create unwanted pigmentation and dark spots like other complexions. In fact, the darker your skin is, the more prone your skin will be to over-producing melanin, leading to various unwanted dark patches and spots.

The best way to prevent this is to wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ each day. To avoid an ashy or white cast appearance, opt for a tinted sunscreen or chemical-based sunscreen as many mineral sunscreens will leave a white cast on your skin.

2. Avoid skin trauma of any kind.

Because you have more “sensitive” melanin production, even the smallest of internal disturbances can trigger hyperpigmentation and/or melasma. UV radiation is one trigger, but there are many other triggers that can activate the process of melanogenesis (pigment being released by the skin) including hormonal changes, medications, cuts, scrapes, wounds, scratches, bruises, bug bites, piercings, tattoos, lasers, and more invasive skincare treatments, etc.

This is also why skin care professionals need to be much more cautious with dark-skinned individuals as it is extremely easy to trigger unwanted hyperpigmentation through inflammatory body responses.

3. Use a tyrosinase inhibitor.

These are specific skincare ingredients that have been proven to help regulate or reduce the over-activity of melanocytes in the skin. In other words, they can help to prevent hyperpigmentation and brighten the appearance of the skin.

Some great examples of such skincare ingredients are stabilized vitamin C (look for tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ethyl ascorbic acid), arbutin, kojic acid, bearberry, and retinoids like retinol and retinaldehyde.

4. Use the right cleanser and moisturizer for your oil production.

For more oily–prone dark skin, it is imperative to be in cleansers and moisturizers. The trick is to find the right balance of oil control and hydration. Work with your esthetician to determine the right products for your individual skin type, and evaluate every season.

5. Opt for gentle, no-downtime treatments.

Since dark skin is more prone to hyperpigmentation and inflammation, it is usually best to avoid more aggressive or invasive treatments. Today’s skincare technology is becoming much better at protecting our more “melanin-sensitive” clientele, but it is still best to play it safe as it is easier to prevent damage than correct it. So in lieu of lasers, microdermabrasion, micro-needling, and advanced chemical peels look for no downtime peels, LED acne light treatments, and targeted anti-age electrotherapy like ultrasonic and microcurrent.


About the Author:

When Licensed Esthetician Emily Trampetti couldn't find a skincare company for her clients that was invested in the person rather than the brand, she created her own. Skin Property Virtual Esthetics is a solution to years of trying to navigate the mixed messages of the beauty industry.

"I want to give my clients better tools and understanding so they can reach their dream skin goals."

Through virtual consultations and personal skincare plans, Emily guides her clients in a passionate and holistic manner, addressing the root cause of skin conditions and tangible solutions to achieve each individual skincare goal. Emily is a CIDESCO-affiliated, board-certified licensed master esthetician. Armed with a wide range of experience working with many types of skin and conditions across various environments including spas, medspas, and dermatology clinics, Emily conducts extensive research to help her clients find the best skin care for their unique needs.

Discover more about individualized skin care with Emily at


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