the rainbow.

The rainbow of people and the spectrum of skin color. What makes the color of our skin different? How does skin care differ? 

I found an amazing article published by Crutchfield Dermatology that very clearly answers these questions. 

Our skin color is composed of three pigments: melanin in the epidermis, carotene in the dermis, and hemoglobin in red blood cells within the capillaries of the dermis. Genetics then determine how each pigment is produced or displayed. Someone with darker skin will produce more melanin- a naturally occurring sunblock. While a fair skinned person has a translucent epidermis, allowing the pink tones of hemoglobin to be more visible.  

For a more detailed explination, you can read the Crutchfield Dermatology article. 

Every ethnicity has common characteristics. Below I have provided the list as outlined by Crutchfield Dermatology


Southern Mediterranean origins

  • Oily, olive dark complexion
  • Signs of aging appear later
  • Cartilage tends to droop
  • Darker, thicker scars more common
  • Wrinkles appear later and in more localized areas
  • Skin cancer rare

 

Southern European origins

  • Dark, oily brunette complexion
  • Signs of aging appear later
  • Fine wrinkling less common
  • Bruising lasts longer
  • Scars may be thicker and darker
  • Skin cancers less common

 

African origins

  • Signs of aging appear very late
  • Very little fine wrinkling
  • Formation of keloids is possible
  • Pigmentation changes may occur
  • Thicker cartilage hard to change
  • Skin cancers very rare
  • Genetically, this skin type is less susceptible to damage from UV radiation, although the skin can still get burned.

Anglo-Saxon origins

  • Fair, dry thin-skinned
  • Scars heal well
  • Signs of aging appear earlier
  • Burn easily in the sun
  • Bruising more obvious
  • Greater chance of skin cancer

 

Northern European origins / German and Scandinavian

  • Fair, blue-eyed, blonde
  • Thin skin
  • Scars heal well
  • Signs of aging appear early
  • Bruising more obvious
  • Greater chance of skin cancer

 

Northern European/Irish and northern England

  • Ruddy freckled complexion
  • Red hair
  • Scars usually thin
  • Signs of aging appear later
  • Bruises easily
  • Pigmentation problems
  • Skin cancers most common in this type

 

Asian origins

  • Signs of aging appear late
  • Fine wrinkling does not usually occur
  • Pigmentation changes may occur
  • Eyelid surgery more difficult
  • Skin cancers very rare

So, what do you think? Are people actually different if their coloring differs? 

According to this article- NO! 

"People of different races have the same number of melanocytes
but they are more active in dark-skinned people."

Ultimately our skin care choices has everything to do with skin type, and nothing to do with the color. While there are common characteristics for each origin, we can also see that there are many overlapping traits. Not to mention that so many people come from a diverse background and will possess characteristics from varying origins. 

To discover your skin type, wash your face with a gentle facial cleanser, pat dry, and leave without product for thirty minutes to an hour. You skin will return to its natural state. 

Crutchfield Dermatology has summarized each skin type and provided several suggestions as the following:

Normal skin type

Normal skin is smooth, finely-textured, soft and supple. If you are lucky enough to possess this skin type, treasure it by using light cleansers and lotions and mild toners and fresheners.

Dry skin type

Dry skin is usually thin and delicate and often flaky and prone to fine lines. It sometimes feels tighter than it should. Extremely rich and greasy creams are not good for it because they block the pores, often enlarging them and so creating an extra problem. Use light oils and lotions when moisturising and choose herbal toners, which are mild and not too astringent. Try to restore the pH or acid-alkali balance with the application of such things as cucumber juice or diluted vinegar so that the sebaceous glands are encouraged to function. Generally speaking, the emollient and hydrating herbs (chamomile, comfrey, cowslip, elderflower, fennel, marshmallow, orange blossom, rose, violet) are the best to use in lotions and toners for dry skin. But there is no hard and fast rule. Astringent herbs can be good for dry skins, for example, if blended with emollient herbs or oils and gels, and many herbs are suitable for all skin types. If the skin is sensitive as well as dry, see the section on sensitive skin below.

Oily skin type

Oily skin is shiny and coarser-textured, often with enlarged pores. It is prone to blackheads and spots. Don't use alcohol to reduce the oiliness of the skin, as it will only worsen the problem. Many herbal toners are suitable for reducing oiliness and tightening the pores. Egg-white makes a nice mild face-mask. Don't over-dry the skin; moisturize with a light lotion. Aim to restore your skin's acid-alkali balance so that the sebaceous glands cease to produce such large amounts of oil. Astringent and cleansing herbs are generally the best to choose when treating an oily skin. These are: cinquefoil, clary sage, comfrey, cucumber, dandelion, horsetail, houseleek, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, marigold, mint, parsley, sage, witch hazel and yarrow. But don't forget that many herbs are suited to all skin types and that many of the strengthening and anti-inflammatory herbs (chamomile, cowslip, fennel, lettuce, elderflower, orange blossom, rose, violet) are suitable for oily skins.

Combination skin types

The person with this skin type will have to follow two skin-care routines, one for the dry areas, and another for the oily. I think the oily areas balance up more easily in this type of skin than when the whole face is oily, so don't despair.

Sensitive skin type

This skin is usually fine-textured and often prone to reddish veins and patches. Keep to light oils and lotions for cleansing and moisturising, and mild herbal toners and compresses to soothe the skin and reduce redness and veins. It is usually wise for people with sensitive skins to stay away from the stimulating herbs (lavender, lime-flower, mint, nettle, sage, southernwood, summer savory, thyme).

Dull skin

Dull skin has lost the bloom of vitality and the soft glow of renewal, the acid balance has been lost and it looks matt and lifeless. This condition of the skin often occurs during or following severe illness. If it is oily or large-pored skin use diluted cider vinegar or lemon juice, or cucumber juice to balance it or if dry skin, use buttermilk or cucumber juice, together with a highly nutritious diet.

Mature skin type

It is possible to tone, soften and restore older skin to much of its former freshness. The skin has wonderful regeneration abilities, given the right support. Use a light hand with makeup if you must use it, as this tends to further dry and age mature skin. Of course, exercise, good nutrition, adequate rest/relaxation and a positive outlook on life all help the restoration process.


Modern technology has provided us with an abundance of amazing skin care options. I have provided my favorites here and here. If you have other skin challenges that I have not discussed, please contact me with any questions and I will be happy to help!