6 Melanin-Rich Skin Challenges & Skincare Solutions 

Our product development team has created many skincare solutions that are inclusive of dark skin tone challenges. Through research, they have isolated the top 6 dark skin tone concerns – and defined what ingredients to use in a skincare routine to combat them. 

High Performance

#1 – Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

According to the National Library of Medicine, “PIH can occur at any age and in all skin types but is more common in Fitzpatrick skin types III-VI. The darker the skin color, the more intense and persistent hyper melanosis tends to be. The incidence of PIH in darker-skinned patients with acne can be as high as 65%.” When the skin is traumatized, it responds by producing more melanin to protect that area of the skin, resulting in hyperpigmentation.

The best treatment is prevention — using gentle cleansers and ingredients to reduce inflammation is key. To lessen the visual effects of PIH, use brightening ingredients like vitamin C, arbutin, azelaic acid, mulberry, bearberry, and licorice root, which all aid in evening out skin tone. Spot treatments like microneedle brightening patches go deep into the skin delivering niacinamide and licorice extract to gently brighten and reduce inflammation.

#2 – Ingrown Hair

John Hopkins Medicine describes an ingrown hair, or pseudo folliculitis, as a hair that curls and penetrates the skin with its tip, causing inflammation. Most ingrown hairs happen when shaving the hair close to the skin, commonly on the face or bikini area. Ingrown hairs appear more commonly for people with very curly hair. Deep skin tones tend to have curly or coiled hair, making this skin concern a typical reoccurrence.

Luckily, there are a few ways to prevent ingrown hairs. When shaving, there should be a focus on exfoliation (physical and/or chemical) before the shave to loosen up the hair follicle and prime it for hair removal. A cleansing mitt loaded with apple amino acid, anise fruit extract, papaya and cica to soothe is a great pre-shave skin primer.  Other tactics include shaving less often, shaving with the grain and using a calming mask after removal — like an anti-maskne soothing relief treatment that is rich with vitamins, minerals and soothing properties. A microneedle patch formulated with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid (HA) will help treat an active ingrown hair and restore the affected area.  

#3 – Oily and Combination Skin

Some deep skin tones suffer with oily and combination skin. The cause of this is a lower number of ceramides in the skin, which makes it more difficult for the skin to maintain moisture levels.  Sebum glands then overcompensate and produce more oil to hydrate the skin.

A great blog from Paula’s Choice explains why a gentle skincare routine is necessary for darker skin tones. Gentle skincare means using solutions that are free from fragrances and harsh chemicals. This also means using products that are physically gentle, such as soft brushes and washcloths. Gently cleansing with blemish wipes infused with salicylic acid, witch hazel and green tea extract helps remove excess oil and restore balance to oily skin.

#4 – Acne

Oily and combination skin often foster reoccurring blemishes. By default, this makes deep skin tones more likely to be at risk for acne. When deciding on a skincare routine to treat blemishes, you must consider the higher risk of PIH. This means using lower concentrations of actives and gentler ingredients to prevent post-acne hyperpigmentation. Ingredients like retinoids, salicylic acid, arbutin, azelaic acid kojic acid, lactic acid, and licorice rook extract work well.

Multifunctional products that also reduce inflammation like anti-blemish postbiotic masks are preferred for prevention. Products that are loaded with natural witch hazel, acai ferment, and lactobacillus ferment to reduce inflammation and restore balance in the skin microbiome. For spot treatments on existing blemishes, plaster patches infused with tea tree and grape seed extract are a discreet (they are translucent and can be worn during the day!) way to treat redness and swelling. For active breakouts, an anti-acne microneedle patch will help reduce the appearance of redness and swelling while delivering salicylic acid, HA and trehalose.

#5 – Anti-Aging

Deeper skin tones that are melanin-rich have a photo-protection that influences the rate of skin aging. This is a natural SPF that can delay appearance of aging as much as ten years compared to lighter skin tones. This is great news for darker skin tones, but incorporating an anti-aging skincare regimen is still a must.

Incorporating exfoliation, spot treatments and full-face masks is a well-rounded place to start. This should include:

  • Gentle peel pads containing AHA, PHA, niacinamide and chamomile to soothe the skin
  • Bakuchiol anti-aging masks containing the natural alternative to retinol, betaine and L-arginine
  • Anti-wrinkle microneedle patches to spot treat problem areas with HA, trehalose, madecassoside and acetyl hexapeptide-8

#6 – Sun Safety

Melanin-rich skin is more resistant to UV radiation but applying sunscreen and practicing sun safety is still imperative to skin health. The problem with sunscreen on darker skin tones is the white cast it usually leaves behind. A blog on Oprah Daily provides a list of the top 19 best sunscreens for dark skin tones that don’t leave a white cast – so you can be protected, undetected!

For anyone who has overdone it in the sun, the Bōshi Calming Irritation and Inflammation Soother Nanostrip will calm and reduces redness with cica and oat extract, providing some comfort to troubled skin. 

Trust The Beauty Experts

Taiki is a world leader in the development and production of skincare solutions and beauty tools. We have the experience, knowledge, and technology to bring any mask, patch or wipe project to life. We offer a broad understanding of formulas, materials, product capabilities and regulatory mandates to help with ideation to development to delivery. We continue to develop products that are better for the environment and consumer.