Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

What in-office Skincare treatments should POCs avoid?

Hint: Not all lasers are created equal.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Aug 27, 2022

Fact: Not everything someone does to their skin will work for everyone’s skin. As a person of color, I am always very specific about what products are in my rotation. Unsurprisingly, melanin, the pigment that darkens skin, is much more prevalent in darker skin tones and can be sensitive to active ingredients (think: Acids) and other buzzy ingredients.


The same applies when getting a skincare treatment. In fact, there are some in-office skincare treatments that you should even avoid as a person of color. Some botox and lasers are high on the list of things to avoid if you have a darker complexion. Ahead, here’s what you should know about which in-office treatments produce side effects for people of color.


Most people frequent medical spas and their dermatologist’s office to resolve fine lines and wrinkles. For melanin skin, fine lines and wrinkles are the least of our concern. We are more focused on treating hyperpigmentation—when the skin darkens and creates dark spots.


Many POCs treat hyperpigmentation with topical products that contain Vitamin C so their overall skin can turn brighter. There are others that look to professional help to get a better handle on their skin condition. Unfortunately, lasers can cause permanent damage on dark skin tones. Why? Because lasers use heat, and heating up skin that is already highly pigmented could worsen skin conditions.


Most dermatologists agree that the ND-Yag laser is safe for darker skin tones (types four, five, and six). Instead, you can try microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, or microneedling to treat acne, pigmentation issues, and scarring. And if all this scares you, and you don’t want to go into an office for a treatment, you can always try topical products, like SPF 30, retinol, and skin-brightening ingredients, like kojic acid, azelaic acid, and licorice extract.


If you are looking to treat your hyperpigmentation or other skin conditions, it would be best to avoid any treatments that you haven’t done any research on. You can also speak to a board-certified dermatologist to walk you through a treatment plan that is specifically customizable to your skin type and concerns. Going in blind to treatment could be very risky for melanin-pigmented skin.


Here’s where you can start your research if you’re getting an in-office treatment soon.


Photo via Shutterstock