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The Anatomy of Global Skin Tones

By: Pamela Springer
Posted: May 31, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
professional skin care client with skin of color

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Darker skin tones have minimal elastin fibers throughout the dermis, resulting in a decrease in elastosis. In the retricular layer of the dermis, there are many more epocrine-aprocrine sweat glands, with a significant increase of aprocrine glands in the axilla, scalp and facial regions. This increase lends to the belief that global skin has more of a tolerance to humid climates. Lastly, the structure comparison reveals numerous nerve endings and lymphatic channels.

A bounty of opportunity

The ethnic skin care market may have been neglected in previous years; however, with the forecasted explosion of many different ethnic populations, skin care professionals have a bounty of opportunity ahead. Now, there is a greater potential for creating a niche market for those who want to specialize in global skin. To capture this market, it is important to be aware that the blending of races brings with it the combined genetics of each ancestry. What is observed visually may not tell the entire story. A thorough education in skin histology, skin conditions and genetic evolution will support the outcome of a successful treatment intervention.

General References

E Berardesca, J Lévêque and H Maibach, Ethnic Skin and Hair, Informa Healthcare, London (2006)

W Montagna, G Porta and J Kenney, Black Skin Structure and Function, Academic Press (1993)

Dermatology and Dermatological Therapy of Pigmented Skin, Informa Healthcare, London (2005)