The Science Behind Beauty

By Dr Juliet O.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Now I Understand Why There Is Skincare For Darker Skin

So I'm sure many of you are probably wondering why I am so passionate about teaching people about skincare. And as much as I love teaching and writing about skincare, I also love exploring the thin line between medicine and beauty world. Although both sides have the same goal in mind, in that they have their special ways of making us feel better about our body. They also show us a completely different perspective and focus on how to use products to work best for us. Studying medicine and the natural sciences for many years, has really shown me this difference. And I have really started to uncover skin as more than just outer 'beauty' but as a part of our inner health.

The Science Behind Darker Skin

Our pigment cells (or melanocytes) are found in the top layer of our skin. They are produced in melanosomes and carried to the epidermis surface by keratin cells (keratinocytes). The amount of melanin produced in our skin varies according to our genes and it is what basically determines the differences in skin complexion and colour. When the melanin pigment is produced in very large amounts, it gives our skin a beautiful rich brown colour. Because the melanin levels are so variable in each person, we have to deal with some skin issues in different ways.

As well as giving great colour to our skin, they too, can cause problematic skin issue, diseases and affect us in various ways. 

Darkened skin colour (hyperpigmentation) caused by: 
  • Acne scarring and spots
  • Sun exposure and UV rays
  • Inflamed skin i.e. eczema, psoriasis
  • Skin cancers i.e. melanomas
  • Hormonal changes & pregnancy
  • Kidney diseases i.e. addisons disease

Reduced skin colour (hypopigmentation):
  • Vitiligo 

Absent skin colour (achromia):
  • Albinism

Why Is Darker Skin Unique?

Darker skin is unique, because when the skin is injured, much more melanin is produced because darker skin naturally has more melanin cells. So any skin inflammation (i.e. acne, eczema), can cause extreme skin darkening, which is very difficult to treat. Before I knew about this, I would often assume that hyperpigmentation was easily treated until I went through it myself. 

Some of the problems I had experienced with pigmentation issues have been difficult to find out information on how to treat it, well at least in the beauty world. And I discovered from being in a medical environment that that it is a huge area affecting skin health and hyperpigmentation being the biggest skincare problem darker skinned women experience today. Needless to say, I have discovered tons of articles and research that show this! Maybe I'll share that with you one day, if it's not too science-y.  

Its All About Skin Health

A lot of people know about my huge interest in skin health and dermatology and they often come to me asking me questions. And although I cannot give them any medical advice (yet), I am fortunate enough to be able to shed some light on common skin care problems in the medical world and what may be affecting your skin. And with that being said, I hope to encourage more of my lovely readers to make a habit to see your doctor about your skin issues, especially if you have exhausted yourself at the beauty store. I really do believe there is a thin line between beauty and medicine and 'great skin can be created' with the right advice and direction!


I really enjoyed sharing this with you and I hope to be able to give skincare tips and advice on hyperpigmentation and different ways to treat it. Please comment if you have experienced any skin care issues mentioned in this post and if you learned something new or found this post interesting. 

Thank you so much for reading! See you in the next one! Love you lots J x 



  1. Thank you for writing this. I am very passionate about skincare as well. I have keratosis pilaris and sadly when I went to my dermatologist she just disregarded it as it is more of a cosmetic issue.

    1. Sorry to hear that! From what I've read on keratosis pilaris it seems that you can get treatment for it. I think you should consider seeing another dermatologist and asking them if they have anything that is 'keratolytic' to break down the excess keratin on your skin.

      As keratin is found in your dead skin cells. You could also try to exfoliate those skin areas more often too. Be careful not to cause any irritation to your skin and always seek a doctor first. Hope this helps. J Xx


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