Busted! 5 of the Biggest South Asian Skincare Myths we all Believe

As a South Asian working in the skincare business, I know that many of my fellow South Asians have a hard time understanding how to care for their skin type. The first step is realizing there are a whole bunch of misnomers out there when it comes to South Asian skincare.

[Read Related: Brown, Bold, and Bangladeshi: The Truth About Our Skin]

I want to provide you with a little more insight into South Asian skincare, starting with the five biggest myths we have all heard.

Myth 1: You Don’t Need Sunscreen

Since pigmented (melanin-rich) skin provides a bit of extra protection from the sun, many South Asians think they do not need to apply sunscreen. This is, in fact, not true. South Asians are spending more and more time doing activities which expose them to the sun (ie: skiing, swimming, beach vacations, sports). Daily sunscreen use has also been documented to provide an increase in protection from fine lines and sun spots after using it for 4.5 years. So, use a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB ray protection) 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours to keep skin looking young and protect against sunlight.

Some of my favorites are:

Myth 2: Darker Skin Cannot Get Dark Spots

South Asians have melanin-rich skin, which helps a bit to protect us from early signs of aging. It does, however, predispose us to produce even more melanin with the slightest injury to our skin, including bug bites we scratch, acne scarring, and melasma. A prescription cream with hydroquinone can help to reduce the production of new melanin and can help to fade these areas of hyperpigmentation. To prevent acne in the first place, use a wash with salicylic acid in it. For extreme hyperpigmentation and melasma, you may choose to seek laser treatments which are known to be quite effective. The lasers used can include Nd:Yag, RevLite laser, Infrared lights, and LED lights. Chemical peels can also help to aid treatment for scarring/dark spots.

Some topical products I recommend are:

Myth 3: You Have to Live With all That Excess Hair

South Asians also tend to have thicker skin. Our skin is actually physically thicker which can lead to an increase in the number of hair follicles. This explains why many South Asians have to deal with excess hair in areas that hair is not wanted. Waxing can lead to burns which in turn result in the hyperpigmentation discussed earlier. It can also lead to a disease called folliculitis where the follicle gets inflamed and you have acne-like bumps appear where the hair was removed. The safest methods for hair removal are threading and, for the longer term, laser hair removal.

Many South Asians want to know what the best type of laser hair removal machine is for our skin type. The Nd:Yag laser is best for melanin-rich skin, and the number of sessions needed can be as many as 10-12. It is helpful to have cooling along with the laser treatment. Be sure to go to someone you trust when seeking out laser hair removal treatments/packages.

Myth 4: Under Eye Circles are Part of Your Charm

Many South Asians are unhappy with the area under their eyes. This is generally the area that first shows signs of aging. The best way to prevent the look of aging under the eyes is to keep the area moisturized. There are many creams for the under eyes, but most creams cannot “cure” dark under eye circles.

[Read Related: Clearer Skin and a Fresher Face with the Magic of Citrus Fruits]

Always use a cream with caffeine in it, as it helps to constrict blood vessels under the eyes. I recommend L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment. Keeping the cream refrigerated can also help decrease puffiness in the mornings. In-office treatments that will improve your under eye circles are dermal fillers and the eMatrix laser treatment. This laser treatment is specifically designed to treat darker skin tones, which helps, safely, build collagen under the eyes and decrease the thinness of the skin under the eyes.

Myth 5: Lasers Are Unsafe for Darker Skin Types

There is a misconception that lasers cannot be used on darker skin tones without causing scarring or hyperpigmentation in some areas. This is not true, as long as the proper laser is used. For example, for resurfacing and acne scar treatments in patients with darker pigments, there is a much safer laser called the fractora.

The fractora differs from other laser resurfacing devices by using bipolar radio frequency in order to penetrate through the skin. It maximizes collagen production by sending an increased amount of energy beneath the surface of the skin while keeping the top layer of the skin intact. This is what makes it safer on darker skin tones.

Another example of a laser that is safe and quite often used in patients with darker skin tones is the ND:YAG laser. The combination of skin cooling, laser frequency, and pulse durations allows for safe and effective treatment in all skin types.

By Ami Dalal

Ami Dalal is a board-certified physician assistant at Schweiger Dermatology Group. Ami specializes in cosmetic dermatology treatments, including laser skin … Read more ›

17 Ayurvedic Beauty Brands on our Radar Right Now

Holistic beauty trends are more prevalent than ever — that makes ayurvedic beauty brands incredibly sought-after, as well. Do you find yourself asking what your beauty products are actually made of? A lot of us even resort to food products for a skincare routine such as honey for face wash.

The term “Ayurvedic Beauty” is getting more recognition outside the South Asian world as well.

Ayurvedic beauty is coined upon the term “Ayurveda,” which originated in Hindu culture as the basis of utilizing the five life forms — air, water, ether, fire, and earth — to heal the human body.

[Read Related: The Budget-Friendly Beauty Guide you Need This Spring Season]

Ayurvedic beauty brands focus on using herbs and natural ingredients to create their skincare range and consumers around the world are attracted to these natural products.

Scroll down to see some Ayurvedic beauty brands founded by South Asians.

Soma Ayurvedic

Is your skin feeling a little dry this winter? Nourishing your skin with body oil will lend it the right amount of moisture — Soma Ayurvedic’s jasmine body oil can do that trick! Shop the oil, and their full line of products, here.


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Sama Tea

If you’re familiar with author and podcast Host, Jay Shetty, then you may have heard of his tea line, Sama Tea. Herbal teas provide many natural benefits. Has it been a stressful week? Try their lavender rose chamomile tea for some TLC. Check them out here.


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Sahajan Skincare

Know the Netflix show “Ginny & Georgia?” Loved the actress’ fresh-looking skin? Sahajan Skincare is behind that glow! They’re a must-try, featured in both Vogue and Elle India. See their full range of products here.


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Shaz and Kiks

This unique company showcases its brand with an emphasis on ‘holistic.’ Whether it’s bad hair days or excessive shedding, not only do Shaz and Kiks provide the products to help but also break down the science behind the problem. Go on your very own shopping spree by clicking here!


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Looking for accessible ayurvedic beauty products? Look no further! Ranavat is now in Sephora. With a beauty line that covers both hair and skin, there’s something here for everyone. See for yourself here.


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UMM Skincare

UMM Skincare is known for its brown sugar body scrub, made with natural ingredients, and Bakuchi oil known to improve signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. Try it for yourself by shopping here!


Give your skin the best by adding ZAILA to your daily skincare routine! Click here and start shopping!


This brand is all plant-powered, and we’re here for it — you should be too! Check out their full range of products here.

Inde Wild

Are you looking for brown skin-friendly sunscreen filled with nutrients? Look no further. Inde Wild has its very own SPF 50, with natural substances such as liquorice extract and cica, and it’s a mineral SPF suitable for all skin types. See what the brand is all about and shop it here.


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Mango People

I’m always in the market for brown girl-friendly lipsticks, and ones that are made of natural ingredients are a huge plus. Mango People does just this with their unique lipstick colors that suit all brown skin tones. Try them out here!

Kama Ayurveda

Need to swap out your shampoo for something better? Try Kama Ayurveda’s Ayurvedic Hair cleaner, infused with a variety of herbs and pulses with key ingredients like vetiver, tulsi, rose, moong beans, and shikakai. They have a variety of products to choose from so start with your hair and keep shopping for more here!


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Forest Essentials

According to Forest Essentials, night time is the best time for hydration. Check out their night cream, filled with nutrients to enrich your skin. You can shop their wide variety of products here.


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Koppen Ayurveda

A brand made for modern living, their essentials are all worth a shot! Start shopping here!


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Looking for a new face mask to try? AAVRANI has a variety of face masks and explains in detail when you should apply the mask during the week depending on your skin type. Take a look here!


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Plant-based skincare, anyone? Delhicious has got everyone covered, so click here and fill your baskets!


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Pratima Skincare

Just getting into skincare and don’t know where to start? PRATIMA skincare has starter sets, with basics, that every woman can use such as vitamin C serum, essential oils, and collagen creams. Grab yours now by shopping here!


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Fable & Mane

Struggling with hair care recently? Fable & Mane includes various hair oils in their collection that help grow and nourish your hair. Not only that, they have a scalp detox line as well — definitely worth checking out. See their full range of products here.


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[Read Related: 10 Clean Beauty Products That’ll Have you Winning on Earth Day]

In a world that’s becoming more conscious of holistic living, embracing Ayurvedic beauty in your day-to-day is a step in the right direction, and these brands are here to help you get started.

By Hrishika Muthukrishnan

Raised in North Carolina, Hrishika Muthukrishnan spent 18 years thinking there wasn’t much to the suburbs before she discovered how … Read more ›