How Race and Ethnicity Effects Skin

Race and ethnicity determine many aspects of our genetics, including our skin color.  While it may seem obvious how we inherit our skin color, thousands of years of genetics are behind these traits.  Skin pigmentation based on race and ethnicity has a large impact on skin tendencies.  These differences in skin health and behavior are most apparent when gauging reactions to sun and the aging process. 

Dermatologists use the Fitzpatrick Skin Typing Test to divide skin tones into four categories:

Type I is the lightest shade designated to those with pale or milky white complexions.   Many people with Type I skin tone have freckles, light eyes such as blue, hazel or green, and will have red or blonde hair.  Their genetic descent is from Ireland, England or Scandinavia.  Skin tone Type I will always burn in the sun.

Type II skin tone is marked by very light brown skin with some freckles.  Hair may be light brown or dark blonde and eyes are usually a light shade.  This is the skin type of most Caucasians of Eastern European descent.   They may tan but most often burn in the sun.

Type III skin is light brown or olive.  Eyes and hair are usually any shade of brown.  Those with Type III skin tone rarely burn in the sun and tan easily.  Most people with this skin type are Asian, Latin, Mediterranean or Middle Eastern.

Type IV is the darkest skin tone with skin brown or dark brown in color and eyes and hair to match.  Skin tans quickly and hardly ever burns.  People with Type IV skin usually originate from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, or Latin countries.

While everyone’s skin is unique, as a general rule, lighter skin is much more likely to be damaged by the sun and therefore shows the signs of aging much more rapidly than darker skin.  As free radicals cause oxidative stress on cells, skin is weakened and the production of collagen and elastin slow.  This premature photo-aging leads to wrinkles, sagging and hyper-pigmentation, as well as dryness.  Sunscreen and sun-protective clothing are essential for this skin type, as well as a nutrient-dense moisturizer to prevent dryness and repair damaged cells.  Our Moringa-based creams for day and night are the perfect solution for Type I and II skin as they offer the nearly 100 nutrients of Moringa as well as therapeutic grade essential oils.  The Nighttime Repair Cream boasts medical grade retinol that, when combined with Moringa’s oleic acid potency, penetrates deeply into skin to heal, encourage new cell growth and plump fresh layers of skin.

Darker skin tones, Types III and IV, are less likely to show the signs of aging until later in life.  Not only do skin cells suffer less harmful reactions to UV rays, but darker skin hides imperfections more easily.  But dark skin is not without some challenges.  While black skin color is a natural defense against wrinkles and cancer, sometimes inflammation from environmental factors or harsh skin care products can cause dark circles or discoloration.  Light, all-natural cleansers, exfoliants and facial masks are ideal for darker skin.  Asian skin is rich in collagen but can be very sensitive, again requiring well-balanced all-natural skin care formulas. 

The sun is the most influential extrinsic factor that determines the age of our skin.  And the sun is not color blind.  Know your skin type to protect your skin from premature aging.  Plus, implement a Natura Veda daily skin care routine that meets the needs of your individual skin tone.  Natura Veda is formulated for all skin types with a blend of nature’s best nutraceuitcals.  No matter what your skin color, beautiful skin can be achieved with Natura Veda.

Erin Stieglitz
Erin Stieglitz