[By Cynthia Romano]

When it comes to skincare, it’s never a “one for all” formula although the basic trio of “cleanse, tone & moisturize” remain largely unchanged. However, if you come from an ethnic group of naturally dark or tanned skin, you do have special needs that you should take heed. Here are 5 useful beauty tips scoured and verified by our team of skincare addicts from ReadySetBeauty, to help bring out the best of your glistening complexion this spring!

Say yes to sunscreen

Seriously, don’t belittle this! Just because you’ve a darker skin tone doesn’t mean harmful UV rays can’t get to you. Having more melanin gives you added advantage when it comes to how your skin handle sun exposure and how soon the damage become visible, but it certainly doesn’t mean damage from unprotected sun exposure isn’t happening. Even though it takes longer and more intense sun exposure for visible damage to occur on darker skin, UV damage is always greater on skin that’s chronically exposed to sun than skin that’s properly protected with a broad spectrum sunscreen.

The SW1 UMBRELLA UV Protection & Light Diffusing Cream is a powerful 100% chemical and fragrance-free physical blocker that offers top notched sun protection, providing mega dose of SPF 70 with potent UV-shielding ingredients including Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, suspended in a blend of 3 antioxidant teas with an invisible shine-absorbing micro mesh of UV reflectors. A super lightweight and non-comedogenic formula that doesn’t clog pores, this soleil protecteur extraordinaire forms a breathable shield to safeguard you from both burn-causing UVB beams and wrinkle-inducing UVA rays.Added potent tea and botanical extracts provide extra perks of smoothening and brightening skins, giving dark complexions the desirable sun-kissed glow along with excellent sun protection against photo-aging.

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Exfoliate regularly

For dark skinned beauties, regular skin exfoliation is an extremely important skincare ritual to improve on your skin texture and tone. By removing dead and dying skin cells from the surface of the epidermis, exfoliation helps clear debris and keep pores from becoming clogged, leaving skin clean feeling and downright refreshed. The removal of dead skin cells is known to increase cellular turnover, speeding up the skin renewal process to allow younger, healthier skin cells taking their places to show through. For more thorough cleansing to purge clogged pores, deeper exfoliation with microdermabrasion professionally done once every 3 to 4 weeks is ideal as part of your maintenance beauty regime.

The route to take for deep exfoliation to achieve unparalleled luminosity is with Aqua.dermabrasion, an improved and highly efficacious treatment to gently exfoliate the epidermal layer and promote a thicker healthier dermis while smoothing and refreshing the skin. Working differently from your traditional microdermabrasion, a spiral shaped tip with multiple abrasive edges replaces the usual flat ones, allowing better exfoliation several times over as the tip is moved on skin’s surface in a planning motion. The gentle jet of accompany fluid not only reduces friction to increase the comfort level of the procedure, continuous moisture application softens the skin and sebum; making it much easier to extract impurities and blast them away. Affordable and pain-free, Aqua.dermabrasion immediately leaves the skin clearer and brighter, with no complicated special post treatment care to take note of nor any significant downtime that will hinder your daily routine.Regular sessions do much more than keeping comedones at bay for dark skinned beauties, multi-tasking to help with fine lines, wrinkles, surface blemishes, uneven skin tone and possibly mild pigmentation all at one go.

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Concealers vs correctors

Correctors are different from concealers, because instead of “concealing” the problem area like what a concealer does, they neutralize the area. If you have any kind of discoloration, which most dark skinned girls tend to have, whether it be around the mouth, dark circles or dark spots, you might want to have a good color corrector on hand. You want to be able to neutralize a color before adding another color on top of it. For example, if you have dark under eye circles, concealing a color on top of another will make you look cakey and enhance the flaw. The depth and shade of the corrector will depend on the darkness you’re trying to cover up, neutralizing colors such as oranges and bisques will serve you well in counteracting the dark undertone of your skin to let your natural beauty shine through.

You could even just kill two birds with one stone and get a correcting and concealing palette like the one from MAC, having all grounds covered for a polished, and pro-looking makeover.

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Hands off acne

No one should be squeezing or picking on pimples, more so if you’ve a naturally dark skin tone. Pigmented skin is known to be more prone to nasty looking dark marks otherwise known as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation or PIH. PIH which can take a really long time to clear responds remarkably well to Professional Chemical Peels, whereby alpha and beta hydroxy acids are used to slough off stubborn dead cells to reduce bumpiness and uneven discoloration. There can be mild flaking of the skin for a few days post-treatment but it’s nary noticeable and definitely worth the trade-off for skin looking brighter and smoother after 4 to 6 sessions done at monthly interval. Contrary to popular belief, there are laser treatments which can be safely used to address blemishes in darker skinned individuals with sub-optimal response to lightening creams and peels. This ranges from gentler options such as the state-of-the-art Pico Pigment Laser aimed to lighten superficial blemishes, to deeper skin resurfacing Fraxel Dual Laser targeting stubborn marks and even puckered scars left behind by previously inflamed acne.

With comparably lowered risk of possible side effects such as hyper or hypopigmentation, often a limiting factor in type and/or intensity of laser treatments in darker skinned Asians, second generation Pico Pigment Laser (after nanosecond lasers such as Revlite and Medlite) hits the skin in super short pulses (a picosecond is a trillionth of a second), going strong where it’s directed without harming normal surrounding skin and causing collateral damages. Tailored to suit the individual needs of different patients, specific settings dictating specific intensities and hence the expected downtime, can be customized for collagen stimulation and improvement to pigmentation and uneven skin discoloration for all skin types.

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Watch out for ingrown hair

An ingrown hair is a benign skin condition that happens when the sharp tip of the hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin of the hair follicle, appearing as a small tan bump under the skin.People with darker skin tones are worse affected possibly because their hair is often more coarse and curly. If you happened to fall into this category, you would’ve faced this annoying condition at least once or should be keeping your eyes open so that you can deal with them in the proper way. Not removing hair is one foolproof way but when this isn’t an option, you can opt for hair removal methods that lessen the risk of developing ingrown hairs. Soprano ICE Laser Hair Removal is a great long term investment that is by far the most complete permanent laser hair removal device on the market to safely remove unsightly body hair, avoiding and tackling the issue of ingrown at the same time.

“The number of sessions you require for best results will depend on the density, thickness and color of your hair.”  Explains Dr. Toby Hui, senior medical consultant from the SW1 Clinic (formerly with The Sloane Clinic).“On the average, 4 to 6 treatments done regularly at approximately 4 to 8 weeks’ intervals will give appreciable answers to your hairy woes, either as a standalone procedure or as part of the Removal & Revival Program, combined with Quattro Toning and Skin Smoothing Peel Masks for glowing skin as smooth as silk.”

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