Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Does Your Ethnicity Affect Your Skin? August 23, 2010

Skin is skin, right?  Well not quite actually.  It turns out that different skin colors and varying ethnicities sometimes do have different skincare needs since certain skin colors could be more prone to particular skin conditions and problems.

I was prompted to write this post when I noticed that both Allure and New Beauty recently published articles (Skin Deep August 2010 and  Skin Color Determines How You Will Age Summer-Fall 2010 respectively) that addressed skincare concerns just this way. 

Allure does a nice job of explaining the premise for treating skin according to its ethnicity:

In a society that strives not to judge people by the color of their skin, dermatologists have good reason to do just that.  Skin color can influence how skin will age and heal.  And “even beyond color, recent research shows that race and ethnicity play an important role in how the skin will respond to products and procedures,” says Jessica Wu, clinical instructor of dermatology at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.  Says Susan Taylor, founding director of the Skin of Color Center at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt hospitals in New York City, “in the future, as we continue to learn more about genetic differences, we’ll be able to make treatments specific to certain racial or ethnic groups.”  (page 145)


So what should you be looking out for skin wise if we break things down according to ethnicity?

  • African-American/Black/Dark Skin:  Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation can be a problem for this skin color.  When skin ages it usually sags and droops first before fine lines and wrinkles appear. 
  • White/Fair Skin:  Sun damage, fine lines, and skin cancer are a concern for this skin color.  The lighter your skin is the earlier you can show signs of aging. 
  • Asian Skin:  This skin color can be sensitive and hyperpigmentation is a big concern as well. 
  • Olive Skin – Latinas, Mediterraneans, and South Asian:  Melasma and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation are concerns for this skin color.  A very diverse group of people fits into this skin color category so skincare concerns can be varied and can include sagging, fine lines, and rosacea.


It goes without saying that no matter what your skin color you’ll need daily sun protection.  While lighter skin can be more susceptible to skin cancer EVERYONE is at risk for skin cancer.


Sources and Further Reading


Besides the Allure and New Beauty articles mentioned above look at these other sources as well:


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