Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Cultural Skincare Debate - Is Black and White Skin Treated Differently?



Are there Cultural Differences in Skincare?


I have black skin and have been brought up in Caribbean culture to follow a daily natural skincare routine that keeps my skin healthy and glowing. I’ve often wondered if there are cultural differences in our skincare habits and the way we look after our skin and whether or not people from other cultures believe skincare is an important part of their daily lives. So I have been carrying out a little bit of my own research over the last few months.

I started close to home and asked my 17 year old son’s friends if they ever use skin care products such as a a face or body cream, after shave lotion/balm or an eye cream. The white boys said skincare was for girls, but revealed they do use an aftershave cream to stop any itching and shaving spots. However, the black boys in the group said "we always cream our bodies". My own son told me, "Yeah man, you need to cream your body or it will get dry when you get old!". One of my son’s white friends looked gob smacked - he had never used a body or face cream before.

The truth was out and it raised a whole debate about skincare amongst teenage boys. I gave the group of boys some Thea Skincare products from the men's natural skincare range to try out and they seemed keen to soften their skin and smell nicer, probably to attract the girls!

I was so interested in the boys’ discussion that I phoned my mum - she thought it was hilarious that 6ft plus teenage boys had been talking avidly about skin care products! I said to Mum that I could never imagine going out without moisturising my own body and following my daily skincare routine – I would feel naked and dry. My mum said that , from the moment that I was born, she moisturized my body from head to toe every day without fail. She informed that  “taking care of your skin is an important part of daily life - you’ve been doing it since you were a baby”.

My chat with Mum prompted me to do some more research into cultural differences in skincare routines. I have a white friend, Kate, who is a bit older than me. I noticed that the skin on her legs was flaking so I asked her which moisturizer she used to which her reply was, “I keep my skin covered up during winter... I just tend to forget about it and not moisturize until I wear a skirt or short-sleeved top in the summer – and then I only moisturize the bits on show.” I couldn’t believe it – this is so different from my culture. I explained to her that a good natural body moisturizer would hydrate and feed her dry skin with the nutrients that it is craving, and that wearing tights to cover her dry skin would just dehydrate it even more. Kate had never been taught that moisturizing was a vital part of looking after her body all year round, so it’s no wonder that her skin is so dry. I sent her home with a basket of Thea natural skincare products for dry skin to use daily on her face and body. I’ll let you know how she gets on!

Caribbean, African and Asian communities have been using natural, plant-based products on their skin every day for centuries to keep it smooth and supple. Taking care of their skin is a part of everyday life, just like eating and washing. Yet it is still very common for western cultures to use not much more than a face cream or aftershave lotion - even though western, paler skin is often drier and more prone to wrinkles and stretch marks.

So my advice to maintain healthy looking skin is to make time for a daily skincare routine, using only natural and organic products for cleansing, toning and all-over moisturising. Thea Skincare has a range of natural and organic skincare products for every skin type and skin colour – no matter what age, culture or race you are. If you would like any advice on the best natural skincare products to use for your daily skincare routine, we’re just an email away!

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