effective Active skincare ingredients for black skin



Candour Beauty Guide - effective active skincare ingredients for black skin

When it comes to skincare, the word “active” usually relates to the ingredients in a product that make changes to your skin. Most effective skincare products contain at least one active ingredient to help handle skin issues.

There are some active ingredients out there that are the perfect match for black and brown skin. Some skincare ingredients can cause issues like inflammation and hyperpigmentation when it comes to darker skin tones, so understanding your actives is a big deal.

To help you find the right skincare routine we’ve curated a list of the most effective active skincare ingredients for black skin, what they’re used for and when to use them:

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that’s derived from willow bark. It’s a great active for handling acne, breakouts and blocked pores as it gets deep into pores to unclog them, removing oil, dead skin and dirt. It can also help to break down dead skin cells, encouraging exfoliation and radiant skin.

Candour Recommends: Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Foam Cleanser

Candid Notes: Stick to the areas of your skin that are acne-prone when you use salicylic acid as it isn’t always suitable for large areas of skin. It can dry skin out so be careful how much you use.

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Niacinamide is a type of vitamin B3 that can help to manage acne, pigmentation issues and wrinkles. It has anti-inflammatory properties and there’s evidence that it helps to repair the outer layer of the skin, which can help with inflammation too. Reducing inflammation is key to reducing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that can cause dark marks.

It’s thought to work on hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles too and is great combined with retinoids and antioxidants like vitamin C.

Candour Recommends: Meylon Day Cream

Candid Notes: A small number of people can be sensitive to niacinamide, especially when used in high concentrations so keep an eye out for any irritation.


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Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that comes from almonds and is used as an anti-ageing powerhouse to smooth skin and bring back glow. It’s also really gentle on the skin, without the risks of irritation that can come with other acids.

It buffs away dead skin cells and stimulates the skin regeneration and collagen production whilst reducing oil production too. It’s been shown to reduce melasma by as much as 50% in 4 weeks, so can work really well to reduce dark marks.

Candid Recommends: Mandelic Pigmentation Night Corrector Serum

Candid Notes: If you’re not already using SPF in your routine, there are a hundred reasons to add it in – especially if you’re using an acid as they can make your skin more sensitive to UVA rays.


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Retinol comes from vitamin A and is used for anti-ageing, fighting acne and achieving glow. They can really help with hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone and ashy, dull skin as they increase cell turnover. They can also help with collagen production (which is where the anti-ageing benefits of retinol come in) which is key to younger-looking, plumped-up skin.

Candour Recommends: Retinal & Peptides Repair Night Serum

Candid Notes: Go easy with retinoids as overuse can cause irritation, inflammation and pigmentation. Start off slowly and build up the concentration that you use. A cream formulation can be better for the skin than a gel as they include moisturisers.


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Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that’s derived from sugar cane. It’s a chemical exfoliant that breaks apart the bonds that hold dead skin in place, increasing cell turnover and collagen production as well as increasing radiance and glow. Because it stimulates collagen production, it’s great for fine lines, wrinkles and firmer skin.

Glycolic acid penetrates the skin really easily and is super-effective for tackling dull, textured skin. It’s also a great choice for preventing and handling acne as it reduces build up. It’s also good for handling hyperpigmentation, making it a great choice for darker skin.

Candour Recommends: Evolve Organic Beauty Liquid Radiance Glycolic Toner

Candid Notes: Glycolic acid works well for darker skin but should never be overused or used in too strong a concentration, as this can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.


Radiance Glycolic Toner| Candour Beauty
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Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the skin but production of it decreases as we age, leading to dry and dull skin. It’s essential for maintaining hydrated skin, not only does it attract moisture to the skin, it helps your cells to retain and regulate it too.

Hyaluronic acid keeps your skin soft, plump and radiant which also makes lines, wrinkles and signs of ageing less visible. It’s suitable for all skin types and recent research has even shown it has antioxidant properties. If you struggle with dry or dehydrated skin then hyaluronic acid is a must-have.

Candour Recommends: Acne Hydrating Serum

Candid Notes: Use hyaluronic as part of a skin routine and healthy lifestyle – it can’t stop dry skin for good on its own.

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Black Girl Sunscreen- Moisturising Sunscreen SPF 30 89ml | Candour Beauty
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