Skincare Treatments & Ingredients to Avoid For Brown/Dark Skin

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Priyanka Chopra brown skin portrait paint

Most of the skin care products you see are made for caucasian skin. The skin of color is prone to Hyperpigmentation and breakout much more when compared to caucasian skin. Therefore, there are certain products, active ingredients and skin care treatments that skin of color should absolutely take no chance with in order to avoid their side effects that could cause hyperpigmentation in skin of color.


The skin of color differs from caucasian skin as asian/brown/dark skin tones have large melanocytes (cells that produce the pigment called melanin). These melanocytes are easily triggered and if we irritate those cells and the skin burns, it will lead to pigmentation. 

Skin Treatments to Avoid

  1.    Laser Treatments

Although laser treatments give great results for the skin, however when it comes to skin of color, lasers can lead to thermal energy scatter within the skin which can inflame the skin and lead to pigmentation.

  1.    TCA Peels

Can lead to Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation as it can burn the skin of color

Active Ingredients to Avoid


  1.   Glycolic Acid

Can lead to Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation as it can burn the skin of color. Glycolic Acid is a tiny molecule which flows through the skin and causes hotspots that burn in dots around the face. When that happens in skin of color, melanocytes are triggered and start to produce pigment (melanin) and can lead to Hyperpigmentation.

  1.    Lactic Acid

Although the most gentle forms of AHAs, higher percentages like 10% Lactic Acid is very high for skin of color. It is generally used to increase the NMF (Natural Moisturizing Factors) in the skin and to stimulate Collagen production. If you really want to use Lactic Acid, you may try 5% Lactic Acid and avoid it if you have sensitive skin.

  1.    Alpha Lipoic Acid

It is a very powerful antioxidant. It can feel oily on the skin and also give you a burning sensation.

  1.    Fragrance, Denatured Alcohol and Essential Oils

These are best to be avoided by everyone in general, but especially for skin of color, dry skin and sensitive skin types.

  1.    Polyunsaturated Oils

Chemically speaking, Polyunsaturated fats are those which have Hydrogen bonds that are incomplete which basically means that it is unstable. When this reacts with Oxygen in the environment, it can lead to free radicals on the skin. Free radicals are bad - they lead to sagging, wrinkling and pigmentation of the skin.

  1.   Silicone

Silicone can feel quite heavy on the skin and can aggravate acne which can lead to more pigmentation.

  1.    Hydroquinone

4% of it is the gold standard. However, for skin of color, it can lead to contact dermatitis meaning more pigmentation.

Best Active ingredients for Skin of Color

  1.   Niacinamide

It is fantastic for skin of color. It is non-irritating. Niacinamide prevents melanosomes (packets of melanin) from reaching the keratinocyte cells (cells in the top layer of skin - epidermis). This means that you don’t see the hyperpigmentation on the skin.

  1.   Salicylic Acid

Best form of Exfoliating BHA for skin of color. You get all the benefits of Glycolic acid with no potential irritation.

  1.   Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate

Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate which is an ester is a much more gentle form of Vitamin C for skin of color and much more stable that direct pure Vitamin C.

  1.   Retinaldehyde

Much superior form of Vitamin A than Retinol for skin of color. It is 20 times as effective as Retinol with no side effects. 

  1.   Ascorbic Acid

  2.   Alpha Arbutin

  3.   Rosehip oil

It is a great barrier that prevents trans epidermal water loss (TEWL).


  1. Marilla, Jojoba Oil, Shea, coconut oil.

Worst Famous Products for Skin of Color

  1.   The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA 2% Peeling Solution ($9 | 30ml)

The Ordinary AHA BHA Chemical Peeling Solution Exfoliator

30% of AHA for skin of color is quite high. The primary ingredient in this formulation is Glycolic Acid which is already listed above as the ingredient to avoid.


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Table of contents

Dull Skin: What Happened & What You Can Do About It

Always cleanse your skin when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Exfoliate at least once a month with a gentle exfoliator. Use your active ingredients (Vitamin A & Vitamin C). Use a moisturizer. Use SPF 50 every 3 hours of the day.

Hydrafacial FAQs

Hydrafacial is a treatment that starts with cleansing your skin, exfoliating and then reintroducing peptides and hydration. It also includes microdermabrasion and suction It unclogs the pores and exfoliates your skin. The procedure is as follows:

Textured Skin: Meaning, Causes and Solution

Skin texture is the look and feel of your skin’s surface. A healthy skin texture is smooth, soft, hydrated with firm collagen (no pores) and has good skin elasticity. An uneven Skin Texture, on the other hand, will feel rough, dry and dull. The main reason for a textured skin is improper care of the

Pores: How To Shrink Enlarged Pores

To shrink and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores that are clogged and congested, Use a cleanser twice a day. Use a topical Retinoid serum (Vitamin A). For Exfoliation, use a leave-on salicylic acid gel. Niacinamide improves the elasticity of the skin. Sit in a Steam room or get steam.

How to Safely Pop a Pimple

Mistakes Made when popping a pimple and how to safely pop a pimple/spot. Salicylic Acid: You can use this option if the pimple is just starting to form and you want to get rid of the pimple. Witch Hazel: You can use this option if the pimple is already formed and matured.

Acne Scar: Types, Skin Care Ingredients & Treatment Options

This article is aimed at helping you identify the type of acne scar or combination of acne scars that you may have on your face. Once you have identified the scar type, you will later come to know what dermatological treatment(s) are out there and what results you can expect. This article will also

Skincare Treatments & Ingredients to Avoid For Brown/Dark Skin

Most of the skin care products you see are made for caucasian skin. The skin of color is prone to Hyperpigmentation and breakout much more when compared to caucasian skin. The skin of color differs from caucasian skin as asian/brown/dark skin tones have large melanocytes (cells that produce the pigm

Hyperpigmentation Skin Care Routine for Dark Skin

The key to finding the right active ingredients for treating Hyperpigmentation in skin of color is to pick an ingredient that is the most effective with the least irritation. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Azelaic Acid, Octadecanoic Acid, Phytic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Licorice Extract

Hyaluronic Acid: How, When and Why to Use

Hyaluronic acid (aka hyaluronan) is a clear gooey liquid. It’s job is to retain moisture and keep the tissues lubricated and moist. It can hold a 1000 times its own weight in moisture and water. With time, Hyaluronic Acid decreases in our skin and leads to aging and saggy skin. Learn how and when to

Sebaceous Filaments: Skincare Routine to Get Rid of Them

4 simple steps to getting rid of sebaceous filaments. Use a 2% Salicylic Acid cleanser or face wash regularly.Use a Retinoid (or Retinol which is less potent). They control the amount of sebum production. Use 1-2% Benzoyl Peroxide. It also controls the sebum levels and also minimizes the appearance

Stop Applying Lemon Juice on Face!

It can BURN your skin: The pH of Lemon Juice is extremely low compared to our skin. The AHA acid molecules in the lemon juice are very tiny and when applying on your skin, they fly through the skin and can burn your skin and lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Vitamin C: Which one and How much to use for Best Results

Who should use Vitamin C for Skin. What are Free Radicals. List of Benefits on Skin. Types of Vitamin C for Skin. Problem with Ascorbic Acid. Best type of Vitamin C for Skin. How much Vitamin C for Skin brightening. How much Vitamin C for Skin Health. Vitamin C + UV Radiation. Active Ingredients

Alpha Arbutin: Helpful Guide for Skin Brightening

Have you always wondered why your face and hands are much pigmented and darker than the rest of your body? Alpha Arbutin is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant tyrosinase inhibitor (controls melanin production) that is considered a safe and effective