Love the (Brown) Skin you’re in.... However Oily it might be

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Your Skin Cells are in a fight to the death with the Environment

If you are lucky, you will get old, and when you get old you will look older, and if you don’t… well you’re a vampire. Presently speaking, there is no way to get over on the aging process… well not yet, not that I know of. Our skin is in a perpetual fist fight with environmental elements.

Damage is caused to the DNA in our skin cells and through numerous mechanisms, our skin cells respond by trying to reduce, repair and protect against such damage. For instance, exposure to ultraviolet light (i.e. sun light, tanning salons) contributes to a decrease in the elasticity of the skin, leading to the development of fine lines, wrinkles and rough skin. As time goes on the body’s biological changes combined with the onslaught of environmental attacks will cause the skin to undergo the physical changes associated with the aging process. For some people, the Gods of the Aging Process appear to be kind and just… But for others… well…not so much.

My Oily Skin Experience… Diary Entry 2001:

Can you identify with being in a public setting only to feel the oils accumulate on your face? You know that you’re glistening because the person sitting across from you can see their reflection on your cheek and you feel like you’ve rinsed your face in a little Crisco….

                 *Smile and say cheese for the Camera*

This moment is usually accompanied with some internal panic followed by either a mad dash to the restroom or, if circumstances don’t permit, a desperate search- in the black hole that is my purse -for anything that might qualify as being part of the Kleenex family.

I then proceed to go through the highly untechnical and rushed process of firmly but swiftly blotting away the oil from my nose and cheeks hoping that in all my haste I didn’t leave little specs of white tissue sprinkled across my face.

                  *Smile and say cheese for the Camera* 

Can’t relate? I’m sure it’s only me…

Smile and Say Cheese for the Camera

In addition to rocking the glossy look at the most at inopportune of times, oily skin presents a number of skin challenges such as increased acne and increase infections of hair follicles and pores. Oils in the skin are produced by glands called sebaceous glands, which produce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum’s job is to keep the skin and hair moisturized. Elevated sebum excretion is associated with the production of acne. According to a study published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, black women secreted larger amounts of sebum when compared to Caucasian women. They further demonstrated that both increased amounts of sebum oil and higher hydration may contribute to a better skin barrier. Generally speaking, darker skin is associated with oiler skin, but you don’t have to be dark to have oily skin.

Pro’s to Oily Skin

Playing up the downside of oily skin certainly came naturally to me- but there are definitely some worthwhile benefits. You just don’t realize it until you are about 50! As we grow older our skin becomes less elastic- think frozen rubber band. To combat this effect, the oils produced can help the skin remain supple for a longer period of time by increasing skin elasticity, slowing down the wrinkling process and slowing the formation of deep-set lines.

Certainly this didn’t seem so wonderful when I was 15 with Mount Rushmore ready to erupt on my cheek, but nowadays I’ve got my fingers crossed that this oily skin -won’t fail me now.

In my own family, my mom certainly appears to be defying the aging gods.I just hope I haven’t bad mouthed my sebaceous glands so much so that they decide to show me who’s boss years later down the line!

Stay tuned for a follow up on the science behind the idiom ‘Black Don’t crack’

*This post is modified from

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