Ethnic skin types

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White skin

All ethnic skin types vary in the degree of melanin they produce. Although all ethnic skin types have the same number of melanocytes cells, black skins have melanocytes capable of making large amounts of melanin.

Ethnic skin type



White skin (British, Scandinavian, East and West European, North American, South Australian, Canadian, New Zealand origin)

Generally a pale buff; some skins may appear pinkish while others have a sallowish tone

• Relatively small amounts of melanin present in white skins, as melanin is produced to varying degrees

• Ages faster than black skins and it is important, therefore, to start protecting the skin from ultraviolet radiation as early as possible

• Other types of white skins tan more easily and are far less sensitive, and whilst being pale in the winter, may establish a golden tan easily without burning

Oriental/light Asian skin

(Chinese, Japanese or Middle East origin)

Creamy colour with a tendency to yellow and olive tones with more melanin present

• Rarely shows blemishes and defies normal signs of ageing

• Scars are more likely to occur and hyper-pigment, causing unevenness, troughs, pits and hollows on the skin's surface

Ethnic skin type



Dark Asian skin (Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan or Malaysian origin)

Very dark skin colour which is deeply pigmented with melanin

• Smooth and supple with minimal signs of ageing

• Sweat glands are larger and more numerous in this skin type, which gives a sheen to the skin that is often mistaken for oiliness

• Deeply pigmented, it does not reveal the blood capillaries

Mediterranean skin (Italian, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, Yugoslavian, South American or Central American origin)

Looks sallow with some reddish pigment

• Good degree of melanin present which obscures the colour of the blood vessels

• Tends to have a generous coating of sebum and is therefore oily

• Tans easily and deeply without burning

Afro-Caribbean/black skin

(West Indian/African origin)

Darker with a higher degree of melanin

• Oily with higher degree of sebaceous glands

• Desquamates easily

• Forms keloid scars when damaged

• More likely to be affected by several different types of disfiguring bumps (see pages 53 and 69, DPN)

Mixed skin

Clients with a mixed skin will usually have a combination of characteristics of all of the above skin types

The shades of colour and characteristics will vary greatly depending on the mix

Oriental/light Asian skin

As black skin is thicker than white skins it is prone to congestion and comedones. Black skin generally ages at a much slower rate than white skin, mainly due to the extra protection afforded by the melanin. A disadvantage to having more melanin is that it makes the skin more 'reactive'. This means that almost any stimulus such as a rash, scratch or inflammation may trigger the production of excess melanin, resulting in dark marks or patches on the skin. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Occasionally some black skins develop a decrease in melanin, or post-inflammatory hypopigmentation in response to skin trauma. In either

Dark Asian skin Mediterranean skin Afro Caribbean/black skin

Dermatosis papulosa nigra

(DPN) is a benign cutaneous condition that is common in black skins. It is characterised by multiple, small, hyperpigmented, asymptomatic papules (see page 69).

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  • Patricia
    What is a Ethnic skin?
    3 years ago
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    Which skin type is african carribean?
    2 years ago
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    What difference in skin and nails in variety if ethnic groups?
    2 years ago
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    2 years ago
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    What are the skin characteristics and types for a african caribbean?
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    What is a congetsed skin type and their characteristics?
    1 year ago
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    What ethnicities are skin type 5?
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    What are the different characteristics of different ethnic groups?
    12 months ago
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    11 months ago
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    Why human skin color can not be used to idify between human ethnic groups?
    10 months ago
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    What are the characteristics of black skin?
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    What etnic group has the thickest skin?
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    How ethnicity ages the skin?
    7 months ago
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    What other ethnicity has copper skin?
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    1 month ago
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