Southern California is home to an ethnically diverse population, so we at Feel Beautiful are privileged to evaluate and treat many skin types. Some cosmetic issues are shared by all (we’re looking at you, love handles), but the skin aging process depends on both chronologic age (age in years) and inherited characteristics. Different types of skin age differently over time, and are affected by environmental exposure (sun) differently.
The role of melanin in the aging process
Melanosomes are granules within skin cells that store melanin, which gives your skin its pigment. Darker skin has more melanin. Lighter skin has less. But melanin isn’t just for show. It absorbs and scatters light, protecting you from ultraviolet rays. One 1979 study showed that an average of 55% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate Caucasian skin, while only 18% penetrate African-American skin.
Of course, skin types and tones vary even within the same ethnicity, but if a darker-skinned African-American and a lighter-skinned Caucasian spent the same amount of time in the sun, the Caucasian is less protected and their collagen and elastin degenerates sooner than would the African-American. But the extra melanin in African-American skin renders it more vulnerable to hyperpigmentation.
Regardless of ethnicity, melanocytes (pigment cells within the skin) are hormone responsive. Sometimes, adjustment of hormone treatments or birth control should be considered if they are implicated in a serious skin pigment change.
Want to know where you stand and what to keep an eye out for based on your race and ethnicity? Below, we offer anti-aging advice for every ethnicity.
Caucasian skin has very little pigment to protect your collagen from breaking down at an early age. Northern European caucasians with thinner skin develop visibly rough skin texture with aging and ultraviolet (sun) exposure. Wrinkles can appear as early as your 20s.
Best remedies: Sun protection as much as possible to prevent new wrinkles. Regular application of tretinoin or our cream with GOLD thickens your protective layer of skin and increases collagen production within your skin. Laser, plasma, radiofrequency, dermabrasion, microneedling, and/or chemical peels may smooth fine lines and wrinkles you already have, and tighten your skin. Generally, the higher the energy applied to your skin, the deeper into your skin is the effect, the more dramatic is the result, but the longer is your skin’s process of recovery.
African-American skin holds more melanin, which can create dark spots, resulting in uneven skin tone. Chemical peels and other skin ablative treatments stimulate melanin-containing cells and exacerbate pigment irregularities. African-American skin may also be thicker which prevents a visibly wrinkled texture from developing.
Best remedies: Sun protection to prevent new dark spots. Prescription-strength skincare products to normalize pigment distribution and even out skin tone. Gentle chemical peels, intense pulsed light, and laser treatment may also help.
Latina skin tends toward higher levels of melanin, making it less prone to wrinkle, but more vulnerable to hyperpigmentation. It also tends to be more oily, which keeps it from drying out and showing wrinkles at an early age but also makes it more prone to acne and acne scars.
Best remedies: Sun protection. Light and laser therapies and/or light chemical peels help to even out skin tone and smooth away acne scars. Tretinoin (GOLD) also may lighten darkly pigmented areas.
East Asian skin
East Asian skin is highly variable, but many sub-populations have a thicker dermis with more elastin and collagen at all ages. Sun exposure may stimulate localized areas of pigmentation (tan or brown spots).
Best remedies: Sun protection as much as possible to prevent pigmented areas. Chemical peels, the GOLD night cream, exfoliation, intense pulsed light, and bleaching agents help brighten skin tone and freshen the appearance.
South Asian skin
South Asian skin tends to keep wrinkles at bay into the 40s and 50s. But, as with other skin types that carry high levels of pigment, dark spots can become an issue.
Best remedies: Retinoids (the GOLD) and other specialized skincare products (Kojic acid, Azelaic Acid, Hydroquinone) can help even skin tone. Light and laser treatments can degrade pigmentation and brighten the skin.
Visit Feel Beautiful Plastic Surgery in San Diego
Ethnicity, lifestyle, and so many other factors combine into your special individuality. We will understand your situation and offer a variety of treatment choices. YOU decide what will most likely offer your best result, and match your available recovery time and budget. At Feel Beautiful in San Diego, we’re experts in procedures, services, and products that effectively help you feel confidently beautiful at any age. Call us at (858) 295-4001 to schedule your free consultation or book online here, and we’ll develop a customized treatment plan for YOU !