The one thing you do that’s damaging your skin

There’s a popular saying that ‘less is more’ and believe me when it comes to skincare, less really is more. Before beginning any skincare regimen or routine, you have to understand two things, your skin-type, and your skin-color. Knowing your skin-type helps you choose the right products with the right active-ingredients to treat the skin ailment at hand. In simple terms, you have to know your skin-type in order to choose the right product. Furthermore, with skin of color or African skin, its important to know your ‘skin-colour’. Why? Well because knowing your skin-color helps you choose the right skincare techniques, methods and procedures.

Now that you understand your skin-type and skin-colour, lets find out what it is you do often that prevents you from achieving flawless skin. In hotter climates like Africa, we seem to have a never ending battle with dull, uneven skin tone and also dry ashy skin. It is in the quest to treat these two issues that a lot of women turn to the one thing that actually does more harm than good, ‘exfoliating’ or ‘scrubbing’.

*common exfoliating tools
Exfoliation and scrubbing includes; sugar or salt scrubs, face scrubs, hammam scrubs, body polishing, chemical peels, overuse of serums or creams with AHAs or BHAs, and strong or harsh bath sponges, brushes or gloves.

*exfoliating scrub
The term ‘exfoliate’ in the skincare industry has been touted as some magic treatment to smoother, brighter, younger looking skin. Exfoliation is meant to remove dead skin or the top layer of skin. However while exfoliation is great for some skin-types and colors (pale, caucasian, mahogany, dark chocolate or mature skin), most skin of color would experience dryness, redness and skin darkening due to frequent exfoliation or scrubbing.

If you are of African descent with fair to brown skin, over scrubbing will cause your skin to become sensitive as well as darker due to micro-scratches you can’t see.

So, when exfoliated skin is exposed to sun, heat, pollution or harsh ingredients it easily, burns, drys out, gets rough and hyper-pigments because there is not enough top-layer skin to protect it from the sun, heat or other irritants. Let’s make this easy to understand, your skin is the largest organ in the body which protects your internal organs. Your skin is made of up three layers, the outer most layer which protects toxins and environmental pollutants from harming the body. You need the top layer of the skin to better withstand sun damage, heat, wind and irritation. However, if you take off the top layer too frequently, your skin becomes thin and would burn and bruise easily like a baby’s skin. Furthermore, skin of color; African, Asian and Hispanic is biological designed to protect itself from irritation and the sun by producing more melanin, hence tanning, darkening or hyper-pigmentation occurs. Therefore, if sunburn, tanning or uneven skin-tone and hyper-pigmentation are the man problems you have you must protect and repair your skin with the right products.

Think you may have damage caused from frequent exfoliating or scrubbing? Look for products that contain natural sunscreen SPF30 or SPF50. The best sunblocks would have zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These will help protect your skin from tanning, sun burn and further damage. Also if exfoliating has left your face darker or patchy or rough, simply add a lightweight antioxidant protecting serum to your morning skincare routine. And at night, the best time to heal, repair and treat your skin, try a night cream that rejuvenates and repairs skin.

Leslie Okoye is the founder of CookieSkin, a skin care line designed for women of colour to maintain a healthy flawless skin and complexion without using harsh ingredients. Her products aim to give you your best skin, promoting the notions that beauty is confidence and that good skin is not about color, but about the health, freshness and feel of the skin. As a certified holistic health coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, Mrs. Okoye is the go to weight-loss expert. Specializing in guaranteed personalized weight-loss programs, post-pregnancy weight-loss, meal delivery and weight-loss consultations, the mother of two guarantees her clients up to 2kg weekly weight-loss on her programs. She’s the chosen skin care expert and health coach to many Nigerian and Ghanian celebrities. For more on Leslie Okoye and her practice follow her on Instagram @CookieSkin and Twitter @CookieSkin To read more of her articles sign-up on her blog for more skincare and wellness tips. To book a consultation, email

In this article:
Leslie Okoye
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1 Comment
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