How to Change Skin Tone Color in Photoshop

Ever taken a photo where the subject's face is too light or too dark? Learn how you can adjust the skin tone color using Photoshop in under a minute.

Ever take a photo where the skin tone looks pale (washed out) or maybe even too dark?

This can happen when your camera’s exposure reading gets tricked by the brightness of the background or other elements in the photo.

Fortunately, learning how to change skin tone in Photoshop is dead simple and only takes a minute.

Using Curves Adjustments, you’ll discover the easiest way to adjust skin tone in Photoshop.

Let’s take a look at the tutorial.

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How to Change Skin Tones in Photoshop in 3 Steps

Step 1 – Open the Image to Select Skin Tones

To change skin tone in Photoshop you will first need to open the image or select the layer from layers. 

When you have selected the photos that need their skin tones corrected, navigate to Select in the menu bar and select Color Range, to open the color range window.

Using Color Range you can select only the skin tones in your chosen image. The rest of the image will remain unaltered allowing you to concentrate on perfecting the skin colors without altering the rest of the image. 

In the Color Range window open the drop-down menu beside Select and chose the Skin Tone option. The skin tone option is designed specifically to recognise skin color, making editing easier for you.

Step 2 – Select the Target Area 

Usually, you won’t want to alter the entire image, so it is useful that Adobe Photoshop can magically detect faces and select skin tones.

Adjust the range of the chosen area by sliding the pointer on the Fuzziness slider. By moving the pointer to the right or left side you can increase or decrease the amount of the image selected.

Click OK when you have the desired skin tone area selected. 

The marching ants on your image will indicate the areas selected. Don’t worry if unwanted areas similar to skin tones, like hair color or foreground color, have been selected.

These can easily be deselected with the Quick Selection Tool.

Select the Quick Selection tool from the toolbar or press W.

Check the brush size in the options bar, then press hold Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) to drag over the areas you wish to deselect.

Step 3 – Create a Curves Adjustment Layer


Now that you have selected the area you wish to correct it’s time to create a selective color adjustment layer. 

Go to the Adjustment Panel and select the Curves icon, this will open the Curves Panel. A new Curves Adjustment Layer will be created in the layers panel.

This allows you to go back at a later date to readjust the skin color. 

From the RGB tab, you can select the exact skin tone you wish to target. If you want to alter red hues in the skin tone, select Red from the drop-down menu.

Alternatively, if it is blue or green hues that you need to change, select the Blue or Green option.

Click on the line and drag the curve to alter the tones. You can drag and curve anywhere along the line, in the middle or at the edges. 

Watch the image until you have exactly the skin color you are looking for.

Now you have completed the whole process and have the final image with perfect skin color. 

Changing Skin Tone Color with a Photoshop Plugin

There are a few great Photoshop plugins that allow you to adjust skin color easily and accurately.

Some of the plugins below are part of entire software apps, meaning you can take advantage of all the other tools too.

  • Luminar Neo (Use coupon code shotkit10neo to save $10)
  • Exposure X7 Skin Tone Retouching Plugin
  • ON1 Portrait Al Skin Spots Retouching Plugin
  • PortraitPro Skin Blemishes Retouching Plugin
  • Portraiture Skin White Balancing Plugin

Final Words

This tutorial will give you a quick jump-start, so you will be equipped to add the vibrancy and hue you desire to a pale skin tone or cool down hot skin tones in all your photos.

You can do this without losing the natural look of your photos and while keeping the correct hue saturation.

If you have any questions about this tutorial, hit us up in the comments.

And please share if you have a miracle technique to fix and improve skin tones to create a more natural look, don’t keep it to yourself. 

Download Adobe Photoshop

Download the latest version of Adobe Photoshop to follow along with this simple tutorial.

Start a free 7-day trial today



  1. Ed Yap on June 2, 2023 at 11:40 am

    This one seems to work, and the core adjustment is point-and-click, which should appeal to most people struggling with Photoshop. I said seems to work, because I got it to work (produce acceptable results) only twice in several tries.

    • Jeff Collier on June 4, 2023 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks for the update may be worth a shot.

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