September 20, 2016
The human skin comes in different shades and colors and is characterized by numerous conditions and problems irrespective of race. However, it’s known that people with darker skin will experience certain skin issues that lighter skin people will not experience and vice-versa. Certain underlying factors will help us understand the differences in skin tone and how this affects the skin’s reaction to external conditions and irritants. For example, African and Caucasian skin have the lowest levels of ceramides, a compound that affects the skin’s hydration level. As a result, their skin is generally drier than Asian and Hispanic skin.
Let’s look at a few skin conditions that better explain which races have a higher tendency for which skin problems.
African/African-American Skin Problems
African/African-American skin is not that different from other skin types but its darker tones makes skin abnormalities stand out more. Their most common skin problems are:
– Razor bumps
Medically known as pseudo folliculitis barbae, razor bumps are a troublesome issue for this race. Due to the short, curly nature of African hair, when cut, it will regrow in curly strands that tend to turn back into the surrounding skin causing hard bumps. Razor bumps mostly affect males but can occur in women also.
Acne is another common complaint among this race. It’s caused by the accumulation of oil, dead skin and bacteria. Just as with any skin type, it can lead to acne outbreaks. The heightened sensitivity of this skin type makes acne appear more severe and will cause scarring and inflammation. It can be quite severe when compared to other races often requiring medical intervention.
Here is a great way to get rid of acne:
– Scarring (keloids)
Other skin growths caused by sensitivity and irritation include keloids. They manifest as hard, scaly or bumpy growths occurring on any part of the body as a result of acne, excessive scratching, cuts and so on.
As explained above, darker skin will show scarring more visible and is prone to pigmentation disorders which could be hyper (increased) and hypo (reduced) pigmentation. Though this could affect any race, it’s more noticeable here due to the darker skin tone. A major contributing factor is the use of skin treatment products that clog the pores. The reaction can be as severe as resulting in open sores. Vitiligo is a common form of hypo-pigmentation resulting in patches of abnormally light skin. It is quite distressing but can be managed with specific skin treatments.
Asian Skin Problems
Asian skin will manifest different conditions depending on origin and genetics but generally, it is prone to the following:
Asian skin generally produces more oil due to the warmer climates they dwell in. As a result, the tendency for acne outbreaks is higher when compared to Caucasians, for example. Such acne will appear as keloids and hardened red bumps and can lead to permanent scars if not quickly treated.
– Hyper-pigmentation and Freckles.
As they age, Asians will begin to manifest dark spots. Freckles, uneven skin tone, and appearance of hyperpigmentations begin to appear and can seem so glaring appearing on their normally smooth skin as compared to other races.
Caucasian Skin Problems
– Risk of developing skin cancer.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in one of its studies has stated that due to their relatively low levels of skin pigmentation, Caucasians have a much higher risk of getting non-melanoma or melanoma skin cancers than dark-skinned populations. African skin can safely tolerate higher levels of sun exposure without greatly increasing their risk of skin cancer or getting sunburnt.
– Appearance of wrinkles, freckles and age spots.
Wrinkling is the most noticeable evidence of aging. But, it is believed that ultraviolet A rays will penetrate Caucasians’ skin on average twice as much as African skin. As a result with age, Caucasians, especially those with red hair and very fair skin, will appear to develop wrinkles faster than other races. Other skin conditions afflicting this race includes freckles and age spots.
Hispanic Skin Problems
Hispanics tend to have the same general skin problems as other races but their own peculiarity lies in the skin’s reaction to external irritants. Note that though the wide range of ethnicity in this group makes it hard to classify their skin, generally, they experience the following problems:
Factors such as extended exposure to sunlight, acne, and insect bites can lead to dark skin patches. Other irritants include burns, psoriasis (a chronic skin condition triggered by the immune system) and eczema. Such skin patches can be quite embarrassing, requiring dedicated medical intervention depending on their severity.
Hispanics will suffer outbreaks like any other race but the difficulty in treatment lies in their extreme sensitivity to benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient in most acne treatments. They are advised to seek dermatologist care for outbreaks rather than using self-prescribed or over the counter treatments.
Overall, no matter the skin type and race, one of the most dangerous skin conditions remains skin cancer. Though darker skin is not at high of risk to skin cancer as lighter skin, it is wrong and dangerous to assume no precautions are needed for dark skin when under the sun. All skin types must take the same proactive precautions to prevent this life-threatening condition. Understanding your skin type will help you know its vulnerabilities and how to protect it better.
February 15, 2016
From the models themselves come the most telling accounts in the racially charged ways of the fashion and modeling industry. Vogue’s first black model on the cover, Beverly Johnson, has mentioned her sentiments way back in the 70’s. Unfortunately, it has continued on and stood the test of time. Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman have gone on interviews too on the hazards of being black models in the present times.
Anais Mali, an up and coming runway walker is echoing the same sentiments.
Hailing from South of France and was part of the Fall 2013 campaign of David Yuman, Mali claimed that no agency in Paris would want to take her up. She shared that she was told in Paris no black girls are allowed to model. She finds France very racist with not a lot of black in powerful positions. She describes the changes to have started but moves at a very slow speed.
She found her acceptance in New York at 18 years of age. She signed up with Wilhelmina.
She said that she has felt the industry to be focusing more on diversity. Claiming that it’s still a long way to go. She observed that in Milan, there aren’t that many black girls on the ramp. She would often hear one black girl is enough. Though she is happy that she was getting good work, she wanted to see more black girls around.
- Fed up
Nykhor Paul, another model of color, is fed up with the fashion world. She has made her sentiments very well known. Paul is a Sudanese model and she took to Instagram her disappointments through an open letter. She addressed it collectively to the fashion world’s white people pertaining mainly to the makeup artists. She said that these artists don’t know how to work with models who have complexions which are darker than most.
As the makeup people have a hard time matching the cosmetics with her skin tone, they end up trying to make Paul feel bad instead. The 25 year old model who has done shows for Calvin Klein and Rick Owens finds it unprofessional.
She is saying these artists are the ones who are unprepared in the first place. She was being asked to bring her own makeup when other girls, the white ones, don’t have to except show up for the sessions.
- Not holding back
Paul is not one to hold back, as she is also known in the human rights front as an activist. Jourdan Dunn also dealt with a makeup artist who refused outright to work with her based on her skin color. Beverly Johnson had to arrive at her shoots with hair and foundation already done so she wouldn’t be under pressure from the makeup team.
Not much has changed over the course of time. It is necessary for black models to voice out their sentiments so they wouldn’t be given the ignorance decades long has been happening in the modeling industry.
- A new girl next door
The neighborhoods have changed, that is Iman’s quick answer when people say there’s a new girl next door and they find her a beauty.
Iman had to struggle in New York back then and her parents weren’t too sure of her decision to become a fashion model. They weren’t happy.
She started in 1994 Iman Cosmetics. With years of not being able to find the right shades of foundation, she started her company. She made a cosmetics line for women of all color and not just specifying black women. She said that she wanted the Ibiza look, so she created a bronzer to get the sun kissed face everyday.
- Women want the same things
She cited that all women want are the same things, to be fabulous while they are pursuing their own careers.
Iman was clear in stating, there is strength in numbers. Models need to stick together. She said ensure you bring something on the table and not just be a blank canvas.