The Science behind: ‘Black Don’t Crack’

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


In the last Blog I discussed the impact that oiler skin has on slowing the ‘aging’ process. Generally speaking, darker skin is associated with oiler skin, but you don’t have to be dark to have oily skin.

I figured I would use this post to delve into the science of it . So... the next time you use the phrase you can justify it with more confidence !

Aging: 3 Word Description

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘Black Don’t Crack’ and if you haven’t- here is your introduction! According to the urban dictionary “Black Don’t Crack is a term used for the description of why African-Americans rarely look their age”. I didn’t need the urban dictionary to tell me that- I actually went there hoping the definition would at least set us up for some comedy -Needless to say, I’m a little disappointed.

Simply put-the entire reason as to why our mothers, fathers and even grandparents look so good for their age can be summed up in 3 words -Black Don’t Crack!

As satisfied as I am with the 3 word explanation, there is a little more to it than that.

Though the idea of a specialized aging process specific to African Americans has taken center stage in this colloquialism, the process is actually relevant to a large population of people. Studies have shown that over time, darker skin seems to show less signs of aging than lighter skin, and because people with darker skin constitute a wide range of racial and ethnic groups, this concept is broad sweeping.

Introduction to Melanin: The Darker Berry....

The skin and aging discussion must include the skin pigment called melanin. Melanin is mostly responsible for the determination of skin color and increased melanin is associated with darker skin. Studies confirm that increased melanin allows for better protection against the harmful effects of UV light.

Specifically, melanin has been found to play a role in preventing DNA damage from ultraviolet light and malignant transformation of skin cells. As such, it slows down the appearance of wrinkles and rough skin as well as liver spots that can result over time from the process of continued cellular repair.

Darker People Get Skin Cancer Too!

Please do not overdo it in the sun or tanning salon simply because you think you’ve got it like that. You don’t and cancer doesn’t discriminate.

Even with the protective effects inherent to darker skin, a study published in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has suggested that dark-skinned people are not completely protected from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Thus, excessive exposure to UV light will increase the likelihood of skin cancer, liver spots or wrinkling- regardless of the shade of skin.

The Wrap Up

The next time you hear the phrase ‘Black Don’t Crack’ know that there is certainly some truth to it- but not just because you are black. You actually don’t need to be black not to crack- though it certainly provides its benefits. What you do need is the combination of the protective effects of melanin and an increased production of skin oils that, together, protect against premature wrinkling and assist in delaying the processes associated with aging skin.

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