Obagi on Skincare Challenges for Women of Color

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Women of all shades and colors need proper skincare, but according to a new poll by Obagi Medical Products, many women of color are dissatisfied with their current skin care regimens and unfamiliar with possible solutions to their skincare woes.

The poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern women, indicated that women of color often face pigmentation concerns. Almost half see a dermatologist for dark spots, uneven skin tone, or hyperpigmentation, but few were aware of hydroquinone, which is considered by many dermatologists to be among the best ingredients for treating a number of pigmentary disorders.

Fifty-eight percent of the women said that it was hard to find skincare products that met their needs. Even those who had found products were dissatisfied: 53 percent said that their current regimen failed to meet their expectations. Most of these women weren’t skimping on skincare, as 52 percent spent more than $100 annually on skincare products.

Perhaps the most unsettling result of the survey, however, was how unconcerned many women were about sun exposure. While most of the women said that they wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 each day, 16 percent believed that sunscreen isn’t important for skin of color.

Contrary to popular belief, UV radiation can burn and discolor skin, no matter what color it is. In fact, according to this BBC article, women of color are in greater danger of fatal skin cancers caused by UV radiation:

“Although the disease is less common, when it does occur it is typically more aggressive and diagnosed later, which leads to more deaths…. Minorities do get skin cancer, and because of this false perception most cases aren’t diagnosed until they are more advanced and difficult to treat.”

Some have a false sense of security based on the knowledge that darker skin affords better protection than lighter skin. In fact, African-Americans are most likely to develop skin cancers on the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet.

Regardless of your skin color and skincare regimen, it’s important to consider whether your skin is getting the treatment it deserves. A short talk with a qualified doctor can often point you in the right direction, improving your skin and discarding products that don’t work for you.

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