Three Reasons Why Ethnic Skin Care is Unique

Skin Care
There’s an increased interest in ethnic skin or skin of color, as those with skin of color have different dermatological needs.

Ethnic skin or skin of color is a growing area of interest in the dermatology and beauty industries because of its unique structure and function and the strong need to address those concerns of ethnic skin and commonly found disorders. Persons with ‘skin of color’ who fit within the Fitzpatrick scale of skin types IV-VI are comprised of African/African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Middle Easterners. Within the U.S. alone nearly half of the population will be ethnic by the year 2050. Ethnic skin is unique for the following three reasons:

The Melanin Connection

The darker your skin tone is, the larger and closer together your pigmentation cells are.

Everyone has the same amount of skin cells called melanocytes which contains the substance that gives us our skin pigment called melanin. Ethnic skin ranges in color from very light to a dark brown. Those with light skin tones have pigmenting skin cells which are small in size and spread apart as compared to those with dark skin whose cells are much larger and more clustered. Melanin acts as a natural sunscreen for ethnic skin.

Black Don’t Crack

Believe it or not, Vivica Fox is nearly 50. Her ethnic skin is one of the reasons she still look so young

The old saying “black doesn’t crack” is often used to describe how people of color age very slowly and usually do not show their age in appearance. Research has shown that based on the structure of ethnic skin it is much thicker and the skin fiber cells are much larger. Fine lines and wrinkles are very minimal in ethnic skin.

Pigmentary Disorders are Common

The skin condition vitiligo is more common in ethnic skin.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a pigmentary disorder in which the skin darkens after an inflammatory response or injury occurs in the skin cells. Melasma “mask of pregnancy ” or chloasma is another pigmentary disorder that causes skin darkening and is commonly seen in ethnic women, especially amongst Hispanic and Asian women. Vitiligo is a hypopigmention disorder where there is a loss of pigment in the skin.Ethnic skin often has pigmentary disorders such as hyperpigmentation and melasma, as well as depigmenting disorders such as vitiligo.

Every ethnic group exhibits these diseases differently and special care must be taken into consideration when using cosmetic or prescription products to treat them.

Bottom Line 

In future posts, I will unfold the mystery of ethnic skin and hair to give you a better understanding of structure and function, commonly found disorders in ethnic dermatology and the cosmetic science behind treating skin and hair issues of ethnic men and women. I will also discuss how culture and psychosocial issues influence the treatment of ethnic skin and hair disorders.

What are your concerns about ethnic skin and hair?

About Eunice Cofie

Eunice-CofieOften noted as the modern-day, Madame C.J. Walker, Eunice Cofie is also making great strides in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. With her entrepreneurial spirit and her passion to create beauty products, she is the President and Chief Cosmetic Chemist of Nuekie. Her company specializes in the research and development of dermatological products for ethnic skin and hair. Eunice has won many awards and accolades, including honors by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.

Eunice is a sought after speaker and has spoken at various conferences in the medical, beauty, science and technology industries. She has completed the Leon County EDC Entrepreneurial Excellence Program and she currently serves on the board of directors for DGI Inspired Foundation and is a member of Leadership Tallahassee Class 29. You can check out her blog at and also learn more about her company at

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  • jen

    I wish people would stop calling darker skin types “ethnic skin” or “people of color”. If African skin or Indian skin or Native American skin is “ethnic” – what is european skin? “Non ethnic”? “Not people of color” ? “Melanin challenged”? “Pasty freak”? “Sucks to be you because you will look older earlier”? To a “person of color” – because European whites are not technically the color white – Europeans are a different ethnic group from themselves.

    Anyway – what do you recommend for hyperpigmentation pre-treatment for hormonal acne? A lot of the “solutions” attack the problem after you get the dark spot, but I would like to learn about treatments that minimize/prevent hyperpigmentation before/during the incident.

  • Tom Gonzalez

    What is your opinion on various treatments for melasma?

    Costs? How long until visable results?

  • Janessa

    I never thought much about why ethnic skin ages better. Now I do know a bit, thanks! :] I always thought it had to do with more fatty tissue. What’s the main difference between subcutaneous and adipose tissue? Thanks a bunch and I really enjoy your posts and read them daily.

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