What is a Dusky Skin Tone? How Do You Care for it?

Did you know people with dusky skin tone and dark skin tone hardly experience sunburns?

This amazing fact about the dusky skin tone, made me do a little research about this skin type, which I shared below!

So, whether you’re curious about what this skin tone looks like, which celebs sport it, or what products to buy for it, I’ve got you covered.

Just keep reading to learn more!

What is a Dusky Skin Tone?

Dusky skin tone is a coloring that is somewhat darker than wheatish skin tone.

Throughout the world, you may find variations of this skin tone.

Interestingly, your skin can be both fair or dark yet still have dusky coloring.

Dusky skin tone is often mistaken for olive-toned skin.

But the difference between the two is, olive skin tone is moderately brown with greenish undertones, while dusky skin tone is dark brown with golden and yellow undertones.

Rihanna with a very beautiful dusky skin

Some people find dusky skin to be one of the most attractive skin tones. Rihanna for an instance is the best example of a dusky-skinned beauty.

Check some of the myths about dusky skin:

How to Identify if You Have a Dusky Skin Tone?

Determining your skin tone is rather easy! Here are 3 methods to help you identify a dusky skin tone.

METHOD 1: What is Your Skin’s Reaction to Sun?.

Determining your skin tone through observation works about 40%-50% of the time. Underneath the layers of makeup and tan, it’s tough to spot the true color of your skin.

However, one of the easiest methods to determine your skin tone is through sun damage examination. While you walk out in sun or sunbathe, observe your skin.

If you experience severe to moderate sunburns after spending a few hours in sun. Chances are you have fair, pasty skin, or pale skin tone.

If your skin tans easily, but does get sunburned after some time in the sun, you may have olive, dusky, or caramel skin tone. These skin tones are known for tanning quickly.

If you do not tan or get sunburned easily, you have a dark skin tone. Meaning the color of your skin ranges from dark brown to almost black.

A study done in 2012 was solely dedicated to Sunburn and Sun Protective Behaviors Among Adults Aged 18–29 Years in the US. Which explains the skin’s reaction to the UV rays. [1]

To get a more accurate reading of your skin tone tries the method below.

TIP: Do not expose your skin to the sun for more than an hour or two, no matter your skin tone. 

METHOD 2: Identifying Dusky Skin Tone By Using the Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Scale!

The Fitzpatrick scale is one of the most renowned ways of classifying skin types. It delivers results based on the amount of melanin in your skin. [2]

This method includes a quiz of 10 questions about your physical appearance. The score of this test determines your skin tone.

Dusky skin falls under Type 5. Common characteristics for this type of skin type are dark brown skin, brown/black hair color with brown eyes. This skin type is most common for Asians and some Africans.

Get ready to find your perfect match! Check out our article on ‘Asian Skin Tone Chart‘ for a comprehensive guide.

METHOD 3: By The Colour of Your Veins!

Yes, you read it right! You can specify your skin tone by observing your veins in natural light.

In this method, you just have to sit in daylight and check the appearance of your veins. If your veins seem to be green or greenish-blue then you have a warm skin tone.

This means you may have a dusky skin tone. If not, then your veins are either fully green or bluish-purple. In that case, you have a skin type other than dusky skin.

Skin Problems Faced by People With Dusky Skin Tone

Even though people with dusky skin have benefits like having less risk of developing skin cancer and being exceptionally beautiful, there are a few skin problems you need to be careful of! 

Common skin problems faced by dusky people are:


Dusky people are likely to face the problem of hyperpigmentation, but this can be prevented by the daily use of sunscreen and avoiding products that irritate the skin.


Also known as eczema, is frequent for people with dusky skin tone. Untreated dermatitis can cause pigment problems.

Indian model with glowing dusky skin


Acne caused by overproduction of oil in the skin can result in the release of excessive melanin. This often leads to skin problems like PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Seeing a dermatologist as soon as possible is suggested in this case.

PFB (Pseudofollicus Barbae).

These are more commonly known as shaving bumps. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can be treated by laser hair removal. [3]


Dusky-skinned people with keloid scars are likely to have skin that itches a lot and causes burning pain on the touch. Cryotherapy is most beneficial for keloids. [4]


Is caused by depigmentation of the skin. The treatment for this is usually repigmentation. [5]


Despite dusky-skinned people being at a lower risk of skin cancer, it is not impossible. Acral lentiginous melanoma is most common in dark-skinned individuals. [6]

What Are Some Skin Care Tips for Dusky Dkin Tone?

Here are some reliable skincare tips for dusky skin complexion.

Grab Yourself Some Sunscreen!

Beware of the sun, people! Even though dusky people are less likely to get sunburned, the UV light from the sun can cause serious skin problems.

To defend yourself from it, daily use of sunscreen (SPF) is vital. 

Cleanse Your Face!

To protect yourself from pimples and acne, cleansing your face once a day is important. This helps you clean your pores.

Remember to cleanse gently using your hands, as dusky skin can be sensitive. Go for a gel cleanser as it is mild and gentle on the skin.  

Get That Beauty Sleep!

This is essential for all people with any skin tone. Getting daily sleep for at least seven hours helps your skin grow new cells and heal any damage. 

Tyra Banks with gorgeous dusky skin

Beauty Products You Need to Purchase for Your Dusky Skin Tone

Here are some must-know tips before you hit the cosmetics aisle!

Choose Cosmetics with Natural Ingredients

Dusky skin color is blessed with a complexion, unlike any other skin tone. If you are dusky, you know your skin complexion can rock any makeup look with minimum effort.

However, makeup comes with its fair share of skin problems. Itchy dry, acne-prone skin is very common if you are a regular makeup user.

Try to buy products with more natural ingredients and fewer chemical ones.

The FDA recommends avoiding bithionol, chlorofluorocarbon propellants, chloroform, halogenated salicylanilides, di-, tri-, metabromsalan, and tetrachloro, salicylanilide, methylene chloride, vinyl chloride, zirconium-containing complexes, prohibited cattle materials in your cosmetics. [7]

Use Highlighters!

Highlighting if done right works wonders! They can transform even the dullest of skin tones into something exotic.

For dusky skin, select a highlighter that adds glow to your skin tone and dab it on the right parts. This will help you get a flawless look. I recommend a golden highlighter!

Pick Lipstick That Counts! 

Be careful while choosing lipstick. I recommend avoiding using frosty and raw lipsticks as they make your lips look dry and dull.

Go for darker shades that compliment your skin tone and add a glamorous look!

Simple makeup tutorial for dusky skin tone:

Celebrities With Dusky Skin Tone

  • Naomi Campbell.
  • Deepika Padukone.
  • Tyra Banks.
  • Dev Patel.
  • Freida Pinto.
  • Kerry Washington.
  • Salma Hayek.
  • Lisa Haydon.

Dusky Skin FAQs

Is dusky and dark the same?

pretty smiling lady with dusky skin tone

No! Dusky skin and dark skin are different. Dusky skin complexion is more on the light brown side. Whereas dark brown skin and black skin complex lie under the range of dark skin complexion.
There is a difference between both skin hues.

Can dusky skin become fair?

Yes, and No! If you are naturally dusky it’s hard to become fair. However, if you work in sun or sunbathe often, you can change back to your original fair skin tone. Exfoliation and a proper skincare routine will help you get your natural skin tone back.

Is dusky skin also known as the Indian skin tone?

happy Indian girl with dusky skin tone

Yes! People in southeast Asia have a naturally dusky complexion. It is pretty common to see dusky people in India. Majority of people especially men in India and adjoined countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are dusky.


If you are someone with a dusky skin tone then I would say, wear your color proudly and get down to take care of it like a boss!

I hope all your questions regarding the dusky skin tone have been answered. However, if you have more questions, ask me in the comment section.

Also, do let me know which of the above tip did you find useful.


  • (2021) Sunburn and Sun Protective Behaviors Among Adults Aged 18–29 Years — United States, 2000–2010. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6118a1.htm. Accessed 3 Dec 2021
  • 2. Fitzpatrick skin phototype Genetic (physical traits)
  • 3. (2021) Pseudofolliculitis Barbae – American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD). In: Aocd.org. https://www.aocd.org/page/pseudofolliculitisb#:~:text=Pseudofolliculitis%20barbae%20(razor%20bumps)%20is,and%20a%20foreign%20body%20reaction.. Accessed 3 Dec 2021
  • 4. Rusciani L;Paradisi A;Alfano C;Chiummariello S;Rusciani A (2021) Cryotherapy in the treatment of keloids. Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD 5:
  • 5. (2020) Vitiligo – Symptoms and causes. In: Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vitiligo/symptoms-causes/syc-20355912. Accessed 3 Dec 2021
  • 6. Hall KH, Rapini RP (2021) Acral Lentiginous Melanoma. In: Nih.gov. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559113/. Accessed 3 Dec 2021
  • 7. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (2020) Cosmetics Safety Q&A: Prohibited Ingredients. In: U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/resources-consumers-cosmetics/cosmetics-safety-qa-prohibited-ingredients. Accessed 3 Dec 2021
Indian model with gorgeous dusky skin
About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.

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