The architecture of black and white facial skin

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1991 Jun;24(6 Pt 1):929-37. doi: 10.1016/0190-9622(91)70148-u.


This study yielded the following findings on the morphologic facial skin differences between black and white women: The epidermis of black skin has more and larger singly distributed melanosomes in the keratinocytes and corneocytes than that of white skin. The stratum lucidum in black skin is not altered by sunlight exposure. The epidermis of black skin rarely shows atrophied areas. The elaunin and oxytalan fibers in black skin are not disposed in candelabra-like formations. Black skin has minimal elastosis and elastic fibers stain pink or red with the hematoxylin and Lee procedure; none stain lilac or blue. The dermis of black skin contains many more fiber fragments composed of collagen fibrils and glycoproteins. Fibroblasts are more numerous, larger, have more biosynthetic organelles than white skin, and are often binucleated and multinucleated. The dermis of black skin has many binucleated and multinucleated macrophages and multinucleated giant cells. Black skin has many more mixed apocrine-eccrine sweat glands than does white skin and more blood and lymphatic vessels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blacks*
  • Collagen
  • Eccrine Glands / anatomy & histology
  • Elastic Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Epidermis / anatomy & histology
  • Epidermis / ultrastructure
  • Face
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Hair / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Melanocytes / cytology
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / anatomy & histology*
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / ultrastructure
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure
  • Whites*


  • Collagen