While all skin is beautiful, the pigment of your child’s skin matters because it may require unique care to keep it healthy.
Unfortunately, the skin care industry has long been dominated by products geared toward mainstream, white skin. However, as more minority-owned skin care businesses enter the industry, we are starting to see more diversity in products to ensure you can maintain your child’s beautiful complexion without mixing multiple products to create what works for your family.
Factors that Impact Skin
Several factors impact your child’s skin’s color, resilience, and vulnerability to different skin conditions, including:
- Skin care routine
The Role Melanin Plays in Skin
The amount of melanin in your child’s skin plays the most significant role in their skin’s color, resilience, and vulnerability to certain conditions. In addition, their genetic makeup and family heritage often determine the amount of melanin in their skin.
Melanin is a pigment that naturally occurs in everyone's skin, but the amount you have determines your skin’s color and natural protection from UV rays. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin.
There are two types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. If you have more eumelanin in your skin, your skin darkens as the sun activates it. If you have more pheomelanin, the sun causes your skin to redden.
Dermatologists use the Fitzpatrick Skin Prototype (FSP) to categorize skin’s melanin level, with FSP1 being the least melanin-rich and most prone to burning and FSP6 being the most melanin-rich with most natural sun protection.
Melanin-rich skin is any skin rated FSP3-FSP6 and usually includes Asian, Hispanic, and Black skin tones. Within each ethnicity is a beautiful range of skin tones.
Skin Care Basics for Kids
Children have thinner layers of skin than adults, which makes it much more sensitive and is often why children often suffer from rashes. So it is critical to be careful when choosing which products to use on their skin.
Keep the following guidelines in mind when selecting skin care products to use on your child’s skin:
- Avoid fragranced skin care products, which easily irritate a child’s sensitive skin.
- Avoid harsh and abrasive products, which can cause microtears in the skin, and if they have melanin-rich skin, can cause dark spots and scarring.
- Avoid bar soaps, which are astringent and dry out a child’s skin.
- Avoid irritating ingredients like chemicals and even some natural ingredients like menthol, mint, eucalyptus, and lemon, which are often added to children’s skin care products for fragrance.
- Ensure your child wears broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, no matter how melanin-rich their skin is.
Melanin-rich skin nourishment is different from that of fairer skin and requires specific products to maintain optimal skin health.
Fair skin tends to have less eumelanin and more pheomelanin, so it is more susceptible to sun damage and rosacea. Sun protection and products with natural ingredients will help protect your child’s skin from UVA rays that break down the skin’s proteins and UVB rays that cause burns.
Fair skin is often highly sensitive to astringent products like alcohols and benzoates commonly found in skin care products. For kids with fair skin, use gentle non-drying products with humectant ingredients that seal in moisture.
Skin care for melanin-rich skin can often be more diverse than skin care for fairer skin because it has different characteristics. As a result, it can be challenging to find one product that addresses them all. It’s also vital to start skin care for melanin-rich children early to prevent scarring and pigmentation variances as they grow.
Melanin-rich skin is also more prone to post-inflammatory pigmentation variation. Melanin will often settle where the skin is damaged through bug bites, acne, or cuts, leading to darker scars, all of which are common in children. It’s also prone to general pigmentation issues resulting from dry skin or melasma, hyperpigmentation, and eczema. To prevent this, apply a skin care product with anti-inflammatory agents daily to your child’s skin and gently exfoliate dead skin cells regularly.
Uneven skin tone can be pronounced in dark undereye circles for people with melanin-rich skin. Genetically, some people may naturally have more melanin content in the skin surrounding the eyes, which creates these dark circles. While they may be more challenging to treat, a good sun protectant can go a long way to preventing them from forming later in your child’s life.
Moisturizing skin containing more melanin is crucial. People with melanin-rich skin often have fewer naturally occurring ceramides in their skin, so the skin struggles to balance its water content, which results in dry, ashy skin, or, in some cases, oily skin. When skin dries out, the sebaceous glands increase their oil output to compensate, resulting in greasy skin.
Ensure you apply a moisturizer rich in antioxidants and ceramides, like Melabebe’s moisture and hydration crème to your child’s skin daily.
Even though melanin-rich skin is naturally more protected from harmful sun exposure, your child should still wear broad-spectrum sunscreen every day for added protection. Unfortunately, many mainstream sunscreens can leave a white cast on the skin, so look for sheer sunscreen whenever possible to keep their skin looking bright and healthy.
Asian skin is more likely to have sensitive skin than any other skin type, so be especially careful with ingredients. Pay attention to what products aggravate your child’s skin and avoid irritating ingredients.
The early signs of skin cancer are not easy to see in melanin-rich skin, so it’s essential to keep your child’s annual exams and ensure their doctor checks their skin carefully.
Melabebe Understands Your Child’s Needs
At Melabebe, we strive to provide quality skin care products for melanated children that you’ll be able to use from birth to protect your baby’s unique and beautiful skin.