Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
African-American skin is usually medium to dark in color and looks rich and gorgeous -- but only if you treat it right. You have to use the right skin care techniques for your specific skin type if you want to keep it healthy and beautiful. But you don't have to blow your hard-earned pay on uber-expensive salon treatments every day -- just learn how to take care of that pretty skin of yours yourself, right at home.
Wash your face with a nourishing cleanser. African-American skin is usually quite dry to start with, so the last thing you want to do is strip it of its natural oils more than you have to. All cleansers do strip the skin a bit to clean it, but if you opt for a gentle, cream-based facial cleanser, it will nourish your skin and clean it without leaving it feeling dry and tight. Also find a nourishing body wash or gel to use in the shower; never use regular bar soap if you have dry skin because most are quite drying and don't provide your skin with the moisture it needs.
Use a moisturizer on your face and body after showering. Even with the most nourishing cleanser, chances are your skin still feels a little tight after washing. That's OK. Use the moisturizer while your skin is still damp, so it can penetrate better into your skin. You can use separate products for your face and body or find a face and body moisturizer that works well for both.
Exfoliate your skin to get rid of dead, dry skin and reveal the soft, radiant skin underneath. Unless you want raw skin, this isn't something you do every day, but once every couple of weeks it is really important. Just use any basic exfoliating product and your fingertips to gently massage it over your face and body, then rinse off. You may need to get separate face and body exfoliation products or use an all-in-one; refer to the instructions to be sure of how exactly to use the stuff so you get the best results.
Use a lovely bronzing powder to enhance your deep skin tone and give you a gorgeous, sun-kissed glow. Just because your skin is already quite dark, that doesn't mean a bronzer can't be your best friend. Lots of African-American women skip on the bronzer because they don't think they need it, but the right shade can make you look positively radiant. Focus on applying the bronzer to your face and neck.
Watch what you eat and make sure you're drinking lots of water. The average person needs at least eight-to-10 glasses of water a day just to stay hydrated, and when your body is properly hydrated it shows on your skin. An added bonus is that you feel more energetic and alive, so it does you and your skin some good!
Talk to your doctor, nutritionist or dermatologist; these are all professionals who can consider your situation personally and help you figure out diet or other lifestyle changes that can help you make your skin healthier. You can also ask about supplements to nourish your body with vitamins and minerals you may be lacking.