How I Learned to Love My Melanin (and Protect it, Too!)

How I Learned to Love My Melanin (and Protect it, Too!)

One woman’s journey to embracing and caring for her beautiful black skin.

By: Valerie Christopher

Butterscotch. Sun-kissed yellow. Orange with a hint of beige.

These are just some of the many names I’ve heard for my beautiful black skin. I always knew I was black. And to me, it was better than being anything else. The funny thing is, I never really thought I ever had to protect it.

Age 13
I got hit with the pimple stick. Oh yes, I had so much acne that I could hold town meetings on various areas of my face. I remember being told at this age, “You’re pretty, but you would be even prettier if you didn’t have that stuff on your face!”

Around age 17
I thought I was Halle Berry. I sported a short ‘do. My acne was clearing up, and I thought I was all that and a bag of chips! You couldn’t tell me a thing. But one thing was for sure: My inner and outer beauty was on point … or so I thought.

Age 28
I learned the imperfections of my skin. I got my first microdermabrasion, and learned I had suffered UV ray damage from too much sun exposure over the years. It was at this point in my life that I realized black can crack! It never even occurred to me that I needed to wear sunscreen. Not just on my face, but all over my body.

Around this time, I moved to Palm Springs – the desert of Southern California where temperatures soared to 120 degrees or higher – and I wore sunscreen like perfume. I even wore it in my hair! That’s how serious I got about protecting my skin from damage.

And now …
I still take great care of my skin! Every sister’s skin has different needs, but for me, only the best will do. Olay has been awarded Essence Magazine’s Best in Black Beauty Award two years in a row. Now, I have an easy, 3-step skincare routine that I try to stick to every single morning. And you can, too!

Step 1: Start with Olay Micro-exfoliating Wet Cleansing Cloths to remove dryness, dirt and oil

Step 2: Wash with Olay Regenerating Cream Cleanser to smooth skin

Step 3: Last but definitely not least, apply Olay Regenerist Micro-sculpting Cream with SPF 30 to help protect against the sun’s UV rays

If you’re not sure which regimen is right for you, just snap a quick selfie and get an instant skin analysis and recommendations from Olay SkinAdvisor.

Even though our #MelaninIsPoppin – it does have some natural anti-aging and protective effects – we still have to take precautions. And since May is Melanoma Awareness Month, now’s the perfect time to remind ourselves of some skin safety basics:

  1. Always wear (and reapply) sunscreen, even if the sun isn’t out
  2. Try hanging in the shade when the sun is at its brightest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  3. Invest in fashionable yet protective accessories, like wide-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses
  4. Examine your skin head-to-toe every month, and see your doc if you find anything that looks off
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Light or dark, I have learned to love and embrace my skin – inside and out. How did you learn to love your melanin? Share your skin journey with the My Black is Beautiful community in the comments below!

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I've never had a problem with acne before I'm 64 and I've always had excessive oil noted ion my t zone but never acne.I try to use moisturizer and make up to stop this problem. I exfoliate twice a wks I use olay cleaning. Cloths daily. Help

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I have been using Olay products for years. I started using the skin moisturizer in my early 20's (the pink one) As I got older I went to the cleansing pads but they were too harsh, so now I use the foaming wash. I use the sun block moisturizer during the day and the Regenerist night cream in the evening. I love Olay products. They are "skin friendly" for the different types of African American skin and I am very happy with the results of my use of these products over the years.

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