Skin Tightening Complexion Guide: All the Best Procedures For Your Skin Color

It is a universal truth that the skin is the best indication of a person’s overall health. This is why we go to such lengths to preserve the suppleness, smoothness, and general condition of the skin, especially the face and neck. However, while a healthy diet, adequate exercise and a good skin care regimen are crucial for skin health, you can’t help but get old so it does not hurt to help it along a bit.

There are certain cosmetic procedures that dermatologists recommend to repair skin damage and tighten the skin with minimal side effects. These specialists will also be the first to tell you that not all patients will be good candidates for all of these procedures. One of the factors that will significantly affect the outcome of skin tightening procedures is skin color.

skin tightening for light skin

There is a reason why people have different skin colors. While the basic structure is the same for all skin complexions, there are subtle differences at the cellular level that predisposes some people to keloid scar formation, hyperpigmentation, and acne. Basically, darker skin is more sensitive than light skin.

People with darker complexions are more likely to suffer hyperpigmentation after certain procedures including deep exfoliation. This is because the melanocytes (cells that produce melanin which gives skin and hair color) in darker complexion have comparatively larger granules that are placed apart more evenly and over a wider area than lighter-colored skin. This is why the skin is dark. When the melanocytes are subjected to cosmetic procedures that inflame or irritate them, the melanocytes in dark skin react more vigorously, depositing higher concentrations of pigment in some areas than others.

skin tightening for dark skin

Some subjects with dark skin are also more prone to acne formation because they have a more tightly packed stratum corneum (layer of the skin where dead cells are) and larger oil glands. When the skin layer is abraded such as with the use of microdermabrasion, bacteria can invade and cause an acne breakout post-procedure.

That being said, here is a rundown of the more common cosmetic procedures you may want to consider to tighten your skin and its impact on people with different skin colors.

Laser Skin Resurfacing (aka Laser Peel)

This procedure uses special lasers that remove cell-thick layers of skin to remove the dead cells and stimulate the production of new ones. This is a safe and effective procedure for tightening the skin for many patients.

However, those with darker skin may not get the best results. This is because the melanin in the target skin cells is meant to absorb the heat of the high-energy laser light, killing the cell. People with darker skin have larger melanin granules (as explained above) so there is a chance that it will absorb too much heat that can cause skin blistering or discoloration.

There are some types of lasers which generate a lower-intensity light that may minimize this risk. There are also dermatologists who specialize in laser resurfacing on dark skin, but in general it is not a recommended procedure.

There is actually a whole lot more to discuss about laser skin tightening! Check out this lengthy primer to find out everything you'll ever need to know about getting a laser skin tightening treatment.



This is a skin tightening cosmetic procedure that uses radio waves. It is designed to contract the collagen fibers in the deeper layers of the skin by heating it up. This results in the overall tightening of the target areas. It sounds painful but it is actually a painless procedure. And because it does not target the melanin nor irritate the outer skin layers, radio frequency (RF) devices such as Thermage are considered a safe skin tightening procedure for all skin complexions.

A more targeted device is the Pelleve, which is commonly used to tighten the skin around the eyes. It is a non-invasive procedure but patients are advised to allow some time for the skin to recover.

If you'd like to know more about RF options for your skin, you can check out this list of great Radiofrequency products available online​. It features RF products at every price point and everything has been pre-curated for your viewing pleasure!




This procedure is somewhat similar to RF-based treatments in that it heats up the collagen fibers to tighten it. Instead of using radio waves, however, it uses focused ultrasound beams. Some patients do report some pain and requires a short recovery period post-treatment. It is effective and FDA-approved for tightening the skin and decreasing wrinkles and fine lines along the jaw line, neck, upper lip and brow. The procedure is commonly called Ultherapy and it is safe for all skin complexions for the same reason as RF procedures.




Microdermabrasion is the mechanical removal of very thin layers of the outer skin (epidermis) using a rotary tool that may contain crystals or tipped with diamonds. It works pretty much like sandpaper on wood, taking off the uneven top layers to end up with a smooth surface. Of course, we are taking about very fine and very gentle abrasion that can take several sessions to get the desired smoothness and tightness to avoid damaging the skin too much, too fast. Several weeks between sessions is recommended to allow the skin to recover.

Nevertheless, microdermabrasion does irritate the topmost layer of the skin, and as explained earlier this can lead to undesirable results in patients with darker skin. Aside from the risks of an acne outbreak, microdermabrasion can also result in darkening of the targeted areas if the tool is applied even slightly more vigorously than recommended. It is true that under the ministrations of an experienced dermatologist, the risk of over-abrading is small, but it can happen.


Chemical Peels

There are different types of chemical peels available at your dermatologist and over the counter, but they all have one thing in common: they are acids designed to destroy the outer layer of the skin. Some are mild such as glycolic and salicylic acid which are typically used to treat acne and remedy skin discoloration. Some peels are stronger and should not be applied to any skin complexion without the supervision of a dermatologist. Deep chemical peels such as phenol peels are contraindicated for dark skin because there is a high risk of permanent skin damage even when applied under ideal conditions. Even if it works, it will result in a lighter skin tone on the face than the rest of the patient’s body.




This is a general guide that must not be the sole basis for decision making when it comes to cosmetic procedures. Skin complexion is just one factor that a dermatologist must consider before recommending a skin tightening procedure. Even if it a procedure is safe for all skin complexions, it doesn’t mean that it is safe for all types of lifestyle, medical conditions, medications, and so on. The best thing to do to ensure the best possible results in skin tightening is to consult with a dermatologist.


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