Skin of Color

Evaluation of Inherent Differences Between African American and White Skin Surface Properties Using Subjective and Objective Measures

Conflicting data have been published on the inherent differences in skin surface properties among various ethnic groups, though there is a widespread perception that differences exist. This study included subjective and objective assessments of skin surface properties in African American and white subjects. A dermatologist conducted visual assessments of photodamage and irritation. Instrumentation was employed to perform objective measurements of skin surface sebum level, pH, moisture content, and barrier function. In addition, resistance of skin to chemical challenge as a measure of barrier integrity was assessed in a subset of the populations. Results showed differences in photodamage and hyperpigmentation between the 2 ethnic groups tested, but no significant differences between the 2 groups were seen in the results of instrumental measurements for sebum, pH, corneometry (skin moisture), or transepidermal water loss (barrier function). These data help fill the gap in knowledge about photoaging-related differences in the skin of various ethnic groups, especially in textural and pigmentation parameters, as well as increase the knowledge base of differences in objective measures.


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