Licensed medical aesthetician and creator of Urban Skin Rx, Rachel Roff, honestly answers six typical skincare questions for Brown women.

Besides drinking more water, what are the best tactics for black women to keep their skin ultra hydrated in the cold months?

The winter elements can be harsh on skin so it’s important to keep skin hydrated and properly exfoliated. Lactic Acid is a great exfoliating and hydrating ingredient to incorporate into your winter daily skin care regimen. You don’t want to use harsh exfoliating ingredients that can irritate the skin. However, without daily exfoliating, your skin can build up dead skin, which can appear and feel dry and dull. Lactic Acid exfoliates dead skin and improves the skin’s NMF (Natural Moisture Factor).

What’s the most effective way to moisturize your face and body?

Skin that is exfoliated absorbs ingredients better. I recommend exfoliating in the shower with a loofah or sugar scrub and then apply oil to the body while the skin is still damp. As far as the face goes, I always recommend applying your lotion or oil after cleansing, toning and/or your serum. (Try our awesome cleanser Urban Skin Rx Clear Skin Cleansing Bar, Clarifying Gly/Sal Pads 5% toner and Super C Brightening Serum).

What’s the correct way to exfoliate your face and how often should you do it?

There are two forms of exfoliation for the skin: chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliation is what happens when an ingredient such as lactic acid, retinol, or glycolic acid, is applied to the skin and they work to dissolve the top layer of dead skin and allow new skin to come to the surface. A physical exfoliant is what you would see as a traditional scrub with walnut shells, jojoba beads, etc, that you gently rub to manually slough off dead skin cells. While both forms of exfoliation are great, typically a physical exfoliant/scrub shouldn’t be used more than 1-3 times a week, while a chemical exfoliant can be used daily.

What are the biggest misconceptions black women have about skincare (besides thinking that ‘black don’t crack’)?

Unfortunately, I still hear black women say that they didn’t know they needed to wear sunblock. All races, year round need to wear sunblock, like our Urban Skin Rx Active Daily Defense SPF 45. I always explain that sunblock not only prevents skin cancer and early signs of aging, but it also prevents uneven skin tone/dark marks from getting darker and being driven deeper into the layers of the skin, essentially making the process of fading the discolorations a longer and harder task. I also explain that sun exposure breaks down collagen, which is what supports your pores, so fewer collagen results in larger pores.

Can black women really get rid of discoloration?

Of course! Although it can take a combination of a financial investment and patience, it is more than possible to fade discolorations. It usually takes a daily chemical exfoliant such as retinol, skin brighteners – such as kojic acid, arbutin, vitamin C, and/or Hydroquinone – and of course a daily sunblock. I also recommend minimizing direct sun exposure while trying to fade discolorations.

Finally, how often should we be getting facials and if anything, can we conduct our own?

Facials are great and can be done weekly, monthly and at a minimum seasonally. However, the most powerful way to improve and take care of your skin is with your daily regimen. You have a chance to treat your skin 730 times a year, that’s two times a day for 365 days. If you have a clinical-strength regimen that consists of corrective ingredients to treat your skin concerns, that is more impactful than a monthly facial.

This post was originally published on Beautifully Brown.