Caliper-measured skin thickness is similar in white and black women

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000 Jan;42(1 Pt 1):76-9. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(00)90012-4.


Background: Although race is a determinant of bone density in women, it is not known whether it is also a determinant of skin thickness.

Objective: We attempted to determine whether skin thickness, like bone density, is greater in black than white women.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of skin thickness in 86 white and 40 black women, ages 20 through 69 years, was performed in the dermatology and medicine clinics at a university hospital and a local nursing care facility. Subjects included patients and their accompanying friends, family, staff, and nursing care facility residents: 86 white and 40 black women. Non-sun-exposed flexural forearm skin thickness was measured with the Harpenden caliper.

Results: There was no statistically significant difference in skin thickness in white (1.41 +/- 0.01 mm) compared with black (1.39 +/- 0.02 mm) women (P =.3). Controlling for potential confounders, including age, body mass index, age at menarche, age at menopause, oral contraceptive pill therapy, postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy, ingestion of caffeine and alcohol, cigarette smoking, and present and past exercise still revealed no significant relationship between race and skin thickness.

Conclusion: Unlike bone density, there is no significant difference in non-sun-exposed skin thickness between white and black women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Black People*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / anatomy & histology*
  • White People*