Skincare Inclusivity: What it means to be represented

We’ve all probably considered the inclusivity issue for skin in connection with crayons. In fact, Crayola has made a multicultural crayon pack that includes eight different shades that can be used alone or together to create different skin tones. 

While acknowledging skin color is becoming more important for Crayola and makeup manufacturers to address, there are some other issues relating to skin tone that are still being ignored. 

Companies that make skincare products and makeup still have some room for improvement. Even dermatologists can do a better job.

Skincare and inclusivity: The implications

One of the more obvious problems that come from a lack of inclusivity is the marginalization and feelings of being undervalued. In fact, science has proven that feeling excluded can induce physical pain symptoms as well as psychological ones. Imagine growing up and not seeing your skin tone represented anywhere in a beauty campaign.

Moving beyond the cosmetic implications, what about dermatological conditions? Did you know that some skin conditions, including skin cancer, can look different depending on skin tone and ethnicity? When you’re dealing with a condition that relies on timely treatment, knowing what to look for in all skin types is crucial.

Not only do some skin conditions look different, depending on your skin tone, but the conditions you experience could be dictated by your background. 

One example is acral lentiginous melanoma. This type of skin cancer is very dangerous if not treated and is most common in people with darker skin. Dermatologists need to know to look closely for this type of cancer when their patient has a darker skin tone.

Finally, pulling both the cosmetic and dermatology fields together, what about all the products you use to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy? Different skin tones can have different properties, which means they need their own ingredients to get the best results. Let’s examine this topic in more detail. 

A woman talking on her cell phone.

Best ingredients for your skin tone

Most people are familiar with darker skin tones having issues with dryness and flakiness. If ashiness is your problem, there are specific ingredients that work best for you. The same is true for all skin types and conditions.

Dark-toned skin

As mentioned, ashy skin is a common problem with dark skin because dryness is so evident. This makes moisturizing a vital part of your skincare regimen. 

Colloidal oatmeal, cocoa butter, and fatty acids are all excellent ingredients for dry skin that has a tendency to turn ashy.

Light skin

The darker your skin pigmentation is, the more natural sun protection you have. Conversely, the lighter your skin, the more susceptible you are to free-radical damage from ultraviolet rays. 

Sunscreen is vital every time you go outside, but you should also dose your skin with antioxidants that can fight free radicals.

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin tends to be common in warmer climates, which can lead to skin prone to oil issues and acne. A mild dose of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide is probably your best option. Be sure to avoid harsh ingredients like retinoids and high concentrations of alpha-hydroxy acids.

Deep olive-toned skin

These deep olive skin tones are prone to dark patches, most often found on the upper lip and forehead. A hydroquinone cream can help treat dark patches, but be sure to apply the cream just to the darkened area. To help prevent these spots, always use a quality sunscreen, and avoid irritating products.

Medium-toned skin

Skin in the medium-toned range is more prone to hyperpigmentation and melasma. For many, hydroquinone can improve pigmentation concerns fairly quickly. One key point to remember is that chemical peels are harsh, which means they can contribute to hyperpigmentation when done on certain skin tones, so it’s best to avoid them.

To put it simply

When speaking of skin inclusivity, it’s also important to include the flip side, skin diversity. Not all skin types are the same, and each deserves to be represented equally. 

It’s about more than just having the right hues of cosmetics. It’s about giving people ingredients that are designed for their skin type and supporting their skin health. Simply changing the pigments in a foundation may provide a tone that matches your skin, but it isn’t getting to the heart of the matter. 

Look for ingredients designed for your skin type and stick to those products for the best results.