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Is black skin the fountain of youth?

Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012

Updated: Sunday, November 18, 2012 21:11

 

The phrase, “black don’t crack” is usually used when associating African American’s youthful good looks even during they’re advanced years.

 But is the saying really true? Many believe that because of the African descent, many blacks were blessed with skin that ages slower than other races.

Does the color of your skin dictate how you might age? Or is this just another folk lore that we hear and is simply a common misconception?

“Actually, black people tend to have mostly oily skin rather than dry skin. The moisturizer keeps our skin moisturized therefore it won’t crack,” said India Hinton, a  Biology student from Baltimore.“That could be partially because of the motherland, where we are all from.”

There are many myths about African American people such as: You don’t need sun lotion because the melanin protects it from everything, and you can wash a permanent relaxer out of your hair. But do experts agree?

“Once you get ashy plenty of black people start cracking,” said Denise Sheppard, a junior English student from Pompano Beach. “But as far as aging, I’ve seen pretty elderly looking black people, depending on what you do with your life. Most of it is just keeping up with your own body. So I believe that’s universal between all people.”

Most dermatologists that say the same thing as many students. It really is a lifestyle choice, but there is also one huge factor that plays into African Americans aging gracefully compared to our Caucasian counterparts.

It all boils down to the melanin that is in the skin. While it is already a proven fact that melanin does protect UV rays from the sun, although it is still recommended to use sun lotion, it also plays a factor in aging gracefully. 

“Many of our patients of color often look at least 10 years younger,” said Andrea Brezill , a dermatologist in Tallahassee. “Many of our patients of color don’t spend excessive amounts of time in the sun or tanning which also helps prevent sun damage and wrinkling. Therefore, some of the lifestyle choices of our patients factor into this aging process. In the end it comes down to genetics.” 

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