Light-based therapies have been a major component of dermatologic practice. Historically, these treatment modalities have been mainly tailored to the treatment of patients with light skin. Principles governing use of light therapies in skin of color are less defined. However, there is a tremendous need to understand the benefits and limitations of these therapeutic options for dark-skinned patients as well. Demographic data in the United States alone indicate that the population and recipients of health care are rapidly changing with regard to skin phototype. Physicians who are involved in the delivery of care for patients with cutaneous problems that can be addressed by light treatments need to be able to fully understand the mechanisms, applications, risks, efficacy, adverse events, and other pertinent issues in considering treatment options for their patients with pigmented skin.