Aging Differences in Ethnic Skin

J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016 Jan;9(1):31-8.


Aging is an inevitable and complex process that can be described clinically as features of wrinkles, sunspots, uneven skin color, and sagging skin. These cutaneous effects are influenced by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors and often are varied based on ethnic origin given underlying structural and functional differences. The authors sought to provide updated information on facets of aging and how it relates to ethnic variation given innate differences in skin structure and function. Publications describing structural and functional principles of ethnic and aging skin were primarily found through a PubMed literature search and supplemented with a review of textbook chapters. The most common signs of skin aging despite skin type are dark spots, loss of elasticity, loss of volume, and rhytides. Skin of color has many characteristics that make its aging process unique. Those of Asian, Hispanic, and African American descent have distinct facial structures. Differences in the concentration of epidermal melanin makes darkly pigmented persons more vulnerable to dyspigmentation, while a thicker and more compact dermis makes facial lines less noticeable. Ethnic skin comprises a large portion of the world population. Therefore, it is important to understand the unique structural and functional differences among ethnicities to adequately treat the signs of aging.

Publication types

  • Review