By Charron Andrus
The phrase “Black Don’t Crack” has been thrown around in our community for years. It’s most often used to describe the tendency for African American women to retain their youthful appearance, even into advanced age.
It’s our little way of thumbing our noses at any and every one, who might be of the off opinion that somehow we are less beautiful than our fair-skinned counterparts. Like yeah, you might think you all that now, but give it a few years and you will be looking like an old boot.
And because the aging process seems to lay a lighter hand on people of color, the phrase has even begun to gain popularity outside of the black community. Everyone wants to know why it is that we stay looking so fresh; while they look like they’ve lived every year of their lives twice (and lived them hard).
So, here’s what science has to say about this little phenomenon:
- Darker skin has more melanin (produced by the body to protect from ultraviolet rays) than does lighter skin.
- Ultraviolet light from the sun damages the elasticity of fibers beneath the skin’s surface. This is the primary cause of wrinkled, dry and tough looking skin.
- Fair skinned people have less melanin and so have less protection from the sun’s damaging rays. Also as a defense mechanism the body attempts to produce additional melanin but this often results in age or liver spots.
- Mother Nature has given African American’s a leg up, so to speak, when it comes to aging gracefully. Not only does our skin contain enough melanin to naturally combat the damaging rays of the sun. We are also protected from age or liver spots because our bodies are not forced to over produce melanin. The end result is that we come out of the deal with wrinkle free, supple and refreshed looking skin well into our golden years.
And though we have been blessed with great genes ladies, it does not mean we don’t have to care for and about ourselves.