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.