Skin Care for Your Specific Skin Tone

06.30.2014, 11:32 CDT | Posted In: Acne & Blemishes, Lines & Wrinkles, Prevention & Protection, Signs of Aging, Uneven Skin Tone & Dark Spots, Health & Beauty, Skin Care

Woman washing face in mirror

Obagi® products work beautifully for many skin tones. How do you know which products are right for yours? Let’s take a closer look at some common skin conditions among people with darker skin tones (check to see where you fall on the Fitzpatrick I – VI scale*1) so that you can be prepared to discuss your options with your skin care physician at your next appointment.

Dark Spots and Discoloration

One of the most common pigmentation problems, especially for those with darker skin, is hyperpigmentation, or localized darkening of the skin. Acne, genetics, sun damage, and skin trauma all may contribute to hyperpigmentation. Both ancestry (genetics) and outward manifestations of skin color can also affect how susceptible you are to hyperpigmentation.2

The Obagi Nu-Derm® System and the Obagi-C® Rx System can both help improve hyperpigmentation. In one study, daily use of Obagi-C Rx provided quick and dramatic improvements in overall appearance, discoloration, and skin tone for all patient skin types.3 The safety and effectiveness of the Nu-Derm System beyond 24 weeks of use have not been established. The safety and effectiveness of the Obagi-C Rx System beyond 12 weeks of use have not been established. If no improvement is seen after 3 months of treatment, use of these products should be discontinued. See below for Important Safety Information about the Obagi Nu-Derm and Obagi-C Rx Systems.

It’s important to remember, however, that no treatment is a match for the dangers of the sun. The amount of UV damage that your skin receives throughout your life is a significant determining factor in causing hyperpigmentation.2

Sun Damage

UV waves also play an important role in conditions such as premature skin aging and skin cancers.4 Regardless of skin color or ethnicity, anyone can develop skin cancer. Often, melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, isn’t diagnosed in people with skin of color until the cancer has spread, because melanoma may be less obvious between the toes or hidden on the scalp.5 That’s why it is especially important for people with skin of color to practice regular skin self-examinations and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen like Obagi’s Sun Shield Matte SPF 50.

Acne and Scarring

Acne affects all skin types and ethnicities, but skin of color tends to suffer more noticeable pigmentary abnormalities and scarring that acne can leave behind.6

Because skin of color often does not heal as easily after cuts, burns, or even piercings, scars are much more common and likely to last than with lighter skin tones.7 If you have scars that haven’t healed with time, talk to your skin care physician to see if a scar treatment like Dermatix® Ultra, suitable for most skin types, is right for you.

No matter your skin type or color, there’s an Obagi product for everyone. It’s important to speak with a physician about which products are right for your skin type and tone.


Last updated: 8/16/17


*Any links to external or third party sites are provided merely as a convenience, and do not in any way constitute or imply our endorsement or recommendation of such third party, its information, products or services.

**Using a broad spectrum sunscreen like Obagi® Sun Shield  Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50 together with a comprehensive sun protection program including wearing sun protective clothing and sunglasses and avoiding the sun between the hours of 10am-2pm may help reduce the risk of premature skin aging.

References: 1. Where does your skin fit in? Quiz. Skin Cancer Foundation Web site. Accessed May 28, 2014. 2. Variety of options available to treat pigmentation problems. American Academy of Dermatology Web site. Accessed May 28, 2014. 3. Bruce S, Watson J. Evaluation of a prescription strength hydroquinone/L-ascorbic acid treatment system for normal to oily skin. Long Beach, CA: OMP, Inc; 2010. ePoster 802. 4. Understanding UVA and UVB. Skin Cancer Foundation Web site.  Accessed May 20, 2014. 5. Skin of color. American Academy of Dermatology Web site. Accessed May 28, 2014. 6. Shah SK, Alexis AF. Acne in skin of color: practical approaches to treatment. J Dermatolog Treat. 2010;21(3):206-211. 7. Kundu RV, Patterson F. Dermatologic Conditions in Skin of Color: Part II. Disorders Occurring Predominantly in Skin of Color. AAFP Website. Accessed Aug 16, 2017.


Important Safety Information for Obagi Nu-Derm Clear and Blender®; and Obagi-C Rx C-Clarifying Serum and C-Therapy Night Cream

(contain 4% hydroquinone)

People with prior history of sensitivity or allergic reaction to this product or any of its ingredients should not use it. The safety of topical hydroquinone use during pregnancy or in children (12 years and under) has not been established.

Avoid contact with eyes, nose, mouth, or lips. In case of accidental contact, patient should rinse eyes, nose, mouth, or lips with water and contact physician.

Sunscreen use is an essential aspect of hydroquinone therapy because even minimal sunlight exposure sustains melanocytic activity.

Contains sodium metabisulfite, a sulfite that may cause allergic-type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes in certain susceptible people. The overall prevalence of sulfite sensitivity in the general population is unknown and probably low. Sulfite sensitivity is seen more frequently in asthmatic than in nonasthmatic people.

Treatment should be limited to relatively small areas of the body at one time since some patients experience a transient skin reddening and a mild burning sensation, which does not preclude treatment.

Pregnancy Category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with topical hydroquinone. It is also not known whether hydroquinone can cause fetal harm when used topically on a pregnant woman or affect reproductive capacity. It is not known to what degree, if any, topical hydroquinone is absorbed systemically. Topical hydroquinone should be used on pregnant women only when clearly indicated.

Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether topical hydroquinone is absorbed or excreted in human milk. Caution is advised when topical hydroquinone is used by a nursing mother.

Pediatric Usage: Safety and effectiveness in children below the age of 12 years have not been established.

Please see Prescribing Information for Clear, Blender, and Sunfader.

Please see Prescribing Information for C-Clarifying Serum and C-Therapy Night Cream.


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