The Science behind Dark Skin Tones

Posted by Dr Nokubonga Khoza on

While the practice of dermatology has made great strides towards acknowledging the differences in how skin conditions present in dark skin tones, there is still a deeply ingrained misconception that dark skin tones are a skin type when its complexities stretch much further.

The world is becoming more racially diverse, making the need for a thorough understanding of melanin-rich skin tones and their unique attributes, even greater. So, let’s break it down.

What are dark skin tones?

When defining dark skin tones, it is important to recognise the structural and
physiological differences that characterise the appearance of these skin tones. From an increased production of melanin to a thicker dermis of the skin, smaller collagen fibres and the presence of many superficial blood vessels, these are the differences that run much deeper than the colour you see.

Dark skin tones were historically categorised according to the Fitzpatrick scale, which is a spectrum that informs how skin behaves in response to sun exposure.


Here, dark skin tones are divided into three groups:

IV is olive, beige and lightly tanned, V is brown and VI is black skin. Additionally, there are also certain skin conditions that most commonly present in ethnic skin.

Here is a list of 5 of the most common skin concerns among dark skin tones:

1. Dyschromias: Dyschromia refers to a change in the colour of the skin. It is
usually used to reference abnormality in pigmentation, but it can be a change
in colour, a loss or an increase in pigmentation.

2. Melasma: is a skin condition that presents as darkened patches on your skin,
typically found on the forehead, cheeks and upper lip.

3. Post Inflammatory hyperpigmentation: is the result of injury to the skin caused by either acne, a burn, an insect bite or any other damage.

4. Large pore size, oily skin and textural abnormalities: Large pores and oily skin are usually a result of acne, increased sebum production and sun damage.

5. Intrinsic ageing: this is a common concern among most people of colour, which refers to changes in the skin as a result of ageing. The skin may appear dry,
with a loss of elasticity and fine wrinkling.

While we know that melanin is magical, at Skin Connect, our philosophy to skincare rests on the cornerstones of understanding and empowerment. We provide our customers with a specialised selection of quality products that will serve their overall skin health.

In addition to our client’s remarkable results, we test and try all our products on ourselves to ensure tolerability, acceptance and efficacy. Above all else, we strive to not just celebrate dark skin tones, but to care for it.

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