Does Darker Skin Need Different Skin Care?

Salicylic Acid Face Serum

Written by - Vaishnavi 

When it comes to skincare, no two people will have the same concerns and requirements for their skin.

Our skin's colour is inherited. It is determined by the amount of melanin in our skin and is part of our genetic makeup. Different skin tones are what distinguish each person as beautiful. If we were all the same colour, it would be quite boring.

Skin type matters when it comes to the products you are using. Men and women of different ethnicities and colours require different kinds of skincare treatment.

According to a review paper published in 2012, "47 per cent of dermatologists and dermatology residents felt that their medical training (medical school and/or residency) was insufficient in terms of preparing them to treat skin issues of darker skin tones." 

Because of this evident lack of understanding, I'm sure you can see why individuals of colour approach their visits to the dermatologist with an agonising feeling of unease. It's unfortunate, to say the least, but it should motivate us to learn everything we can about our skin.

People with darker skin tones are more likely to suffer from skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, inflammation, sensitivity, etc. There are also numerous misunderstandings regarding people of colour's complexions, which is why we made it our mission to clear them all up in one location, with answers to all of the most frequently asked queries.

advance pigmentation face serum

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation:

Darker skin tones have larger melanocytes and more melanin, and they are more likely to develop hyperpigmentation after inflammatory disorders like acne and eczema. When skin cells are damaged by inflammation, the pigment drops out and is deposited on the skin, which is what causes dark spots.

If you have darker skin, you've probably had a pimple shrink only to be replaced by a flat, darkly pigmented patch. This post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is caused by trauma triggering pigment cells, and it is more common in those with darker skin tones.

Inflammation and pigmentation go hand in hand since they are so close to each other and both trigger inflammatory cells.

The closeness of the pigment cells to the inflammatory cells is what causes our cells to become even more activated. There are two sorts of cells in acne: blocked pores and pimples. Clogged pores associated with dark spots are a unique trend for people of colour.

Dark Circles on Skin of Color

Certain ethnicities are more prone to dark undereye circles, which can be difficult to fix. Because this is typically a hereditary trait, that goes beyond the scope of what topical skincare solutions can address.

However, regardless of your skin colour, there are certain steps you can take to help prevent dark circles from intensifying.

If the dark circles are more intense due to UV exposure, the same types of tone-improving ingredients mentioned above can help.

Various types of concentrated vitamin C, arbutin, bakuchiol, retinol, niacinamide, and tranexamic acid also have research to back up their skin-brightening and tone-evening capabilities. These ingredients can be used both for dark circles and hyperpigmentation on the face.

Acne on Skin of Color

When it comes to acne, studies show that darker skin tones react differently to breakouts (especially in terms of the marks they leave).

But despite these differences, the gold standard treatment remains the same, which is a gentle cleanser and leave-on products containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

People with melanin-rich skin are more likely to experience certain skin conditions. Among them are:

Keloids and hypertrophic scars:

The shape and location of pigment cells in people with skin of colour differ from those in other skin types.

They are larger and located differently, allowing them to be more reactive and prone to various types of discolouration.

Fibroblasts and collagen cells are also more reactive in the presence of keloids and scarring.

These cells are more rebellious in African Americans and Asians. This makes hypertrophic scars and keloids more difficult to remove since their healing processes never stop.

Flesh Moles:

Flesh moles, also known as dermatosis papulose nigra, are genetically linked to people with darker skin, just as freckles are attributed to those with fair complexions and red hair.

It's genetics that makes darker-skinned people prone to this condition.


While anyone may look ashy, the darker your complexion, the more likely it is that you will notice it. 

When skin is dry, it forms grey and white patches, which are simply more visible on darker skin due to the higher contrast.

According to dermatologists, "Anyone may be ashy, but brown skin is more likely to display it." Fortunately, ashiness may be treated with a single touch: Vaseline

One of the misconceptions about Vaseline is that it clogs pores. However, this is not true. I appreciate that the products are infused with Vaseline and include genuine cocoa butter, which we've been using for years as skin nourishment. It's the ideal solution.

Universal skincare rules

According to research, limiting irritation is important for skin colour, and this is also true for pale skin. Simply said, inflamed skin is undesirable for everyone, regardless of skin colour or ethnicity.

  1. Skincare with fragrance (whether synthetic or natural, including essential oils).
  2. Scrubs that are harsh and abrasive, as well as facial washing brushes with stiff bristles.
  3. Bar soaps (they are drying, can clog pores, and cause the skin to look ashy).
  4. Ingredients that irritate the skin, such as menthol, mint, eucalyptus, lemon, or SD/denatured alcohol (problematic when listed at the beginning of the ingredient list).
  5. Anything that pulls or tugs at the skin, including the use of facial massage equipment, facial exercises, or washing makeup off in a way that pulls too hard on the skin. Skin movement degrades elastin, causing the skin to sag and seem older.

If you avoid the irritating factors, you can focus on a gentle skincare routine for your skin.



  1. Gupta AK, Bharadwaj M, Mehrotra R. Skin cancer concerns in people of color: risk factors and prevention. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016;17(12):5257-5264.
  2. Indian Journal of Dermatology, October 2016, pages, 487-495
  3. British Journal of Dermatology, February 2019, pages 289-296