What is ethnic skin?
Analysis of the population of the United Kingdom, United States and other Western countries reveals an ongoing shift in demographics, with an increasing number of citizens who no longer have white skin, but rather have pigmented skin or ethnic skin (referred to as skin of color in North America). People with ethnic skin encompasses individuals of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, including Africans, Afro-Caribbeans, African Americans, Asians, Hispanics or Latinos, Middle Eastern, Native Indians and Pacific Islanders primarily, as well as individuals from these groups and other groups who have intermarried.
Is ethnic skin different?
Yes. Studies indicate that there are differences in the range of skin and hair problems occurring in people with ethnic skin. This is especially true in relation to the risk of scarring and pigmentary changes in response to trauma to the skin. This means that a different approach must be taken when diagnosing and managing skin and hair problems in this group. There are also nuances in the treatment of common skin problems (such as acne) in this group. For instance, people with ethnic skin are more likely to suffer from problems such as dark marks and blemishes as a result of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. Ethnic skin also reacts differently and at times more severely to common conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Increased facial hair growth and the curvature of the hair follicles in some individuals with ethnic skin can lead to unsightly ingrown hairs and painful bumps. These can all be treated with modern technology bearing in mind the problems that can be encountered in this group. Finally, with the expansion of cosmetic procedures available to the general population such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser therapy, Botox and Soft tissue fillers (e.g. Collagen, Restylane), there is an increasing demand from ethnic patients to have these procedures. There is therefore a need for more awareness and knowledge about the appropriateness of these treatments and procedures in this cohort
Ethnic Skin-how can we help?
- Education of the general public & medical practitioners
- Clinical expertise in ethnic skin and hair problems
- Actively involved in research pertaining to ethnic skin & hair problems.