The association of youth and beauty is universally accepted in society. The desire for beautiful skin color and texture, absence of wrinkles, lustrous hair has fueled huge growth in the cosmetic and surgical industries. Women who possess a youthful appearance are consistently rated more attractive than older appearing women. Studies on skin texture and color have demonstrated that humans have a preference for younger appearing skin that is viewed as both healthier and more attractive.
In the current cauldron of political correctness, it may seem impolitic to say, but facial wrinkles, spots, saggy skin and aging faces discriminate based on skin color. White, Black, Latino, Middle Eastern, Asian are all different skin types, which develop lines, laxity and loss of volume in different ways and at different rates. Indeed, the aging process transcends politics and national borders. It’s how we battle back that makes the difference.
Aging is a complex process that reflects biological, environmental and genetic influences. Deeper pigmented, darker skin has characteristics that make its aging process unique. The thicker and more compact dermis makes facial lines less noticeable. Increased concentration of the pigment melanin also make the skin more vulnerable to pigment changes and scaring. It is critical to understand the unique structural and functional differences among ethnicities, and to have the appropriate modalities for various skin types, both of which are essential to treat the signs of again. Over the past 20 years we have specialized in rejuvenation of the aging face, and the unique requirements of patients from around the globe
**Here is the simple truth about White skin; the Irish, English, Scandinavian “peaches” complexion is going show more signs of aging. Blame the sun, and the fact that light skin has very little pigment, or melanin, to protect against it. UV rays from the sun break down collagen, and cause wrinkles that start as early as your 20’s. Your skin produces pigment to protect itself. Along with that come the dark spots.
And the skin cancers. I have seen many young people in there 20’s with their first skin cancer.
The good news for this skin type is that we can be more aggressive with laser and other anti-aging treatments, since light skin does not absorb as much laser energy and we don’t have to worry about hyperpigmentation,
The essentials for your skin type;
- Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock. At least SPF 30 or greater, every day, re-applied every 3 hours or so.
- Good anti-aging skin care regimen. We have designed an anti-aging and anti-pigment protocol unique to this skin type. There are others, but there is also a lot of junk. Make sure you are investing in quality.
- Quit smoking. It is the fast track to wrinkles, and worse.
**“Black is beautiful” has never been more true than when talking about aging skin types. You can smile and laugh and squint all you want because you wont even begin to see wrinkles until your 50”s. The increased melanin, which gives the skin its deep pigment, along with thicker dermis and prolonged keratinocyte life, protects it against wrinkles, often for many decades.
Increased pigment, however does lead to uneven skin tone. The pigment cells are larger and can react dramatically to minimal irrigation with dramatic color irregularities and scaring Volume loss is also a telltale sign of aging in people with this skin type
Things to think about include topical skin care regimens, which include bleaching and fading creams, and fillers for volume replacement.
** Middle Eastern Skin types are blessed with extra pigment in the skin, so that lines don’t show up until well into your 40’s 50’s or even later. I have seen many women with this skin type who never develop permanent wrinkles
But when in comes to skin, no one gets a free ride. Folks with Middle Eastern skin have also been exposed to Middle Eastern sun…. This skin type has a good chance of developing dark blotches from enhanced sun exposure, dryness, irritation, and hormonal changes. UV exposure also leads to breakdown of collagen and volume loss at an earlier age.
There are many new modalities now available to treat this skin type. I use the E-matrix Sublative Laser, designed specifically to treat this skin type. It is important to maintain the skin tone with regular light/laser based peels to continue to correct and improve dark spotty skin. We also create a personally designed skin care program of products to treat pigmentary changes and keep acne under control. I recommend a multi-tiered approach to early volume replacement and maintenance with products determined by specific location. And of course, don’t forget the sunblock.
**The Asian paradigm for beautiful skin is pale and silky. And while many Asian women want lighter, radiant and luminous skin, this skin type is actually thicker; with more pigment producing cells that fair skin. Asian skin is prone to prominent dark spots, very uneven skin tone especially around the cheeks and forehead, melasma that makes the skin look dusty and dull. This skin type is also prone to raised round keratoses that may require early surgical intervention. Because of the facial contour, volume loss is common. I recommend appropriate custom designed skin care regimen, control of acne, Syneron EPL and RF based therapy, specifically programed to Asian skin, and volume replacement when it becomes necessary
Pigments in Latina skin can be as varied as the cultures. There are light skinned Latinas who age more like Caucasians, and very dark pigmented Latinas whose skin ages like black skin. The universal complaint is discoloration of the cheeks, chin, upper lip and forehead. According to one survey up to 66% of women will develop some form of melasma during pregnancy. Sunscreens are important, but melasma is not just from UV radiation so it is important to use a sunblock that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Home remedies to correct pigment changes are often used, and generally a bad idea. Lime and lemon based treatments can cause a toxic reaction when applied to sun exposed skin, and lead to severe hyperpigmentation. Cocoa Butter is very thick and occludes the pores, leading to acne and further scarring and pigmentation. Plus, they don’t work to lighten the skin
Across all skin types, across all continents and cultures, the aging process includes photo damage, volume redistribution, and loss of connective tissue and wrinkling of the skin. As life expectancy continues to increase, almost doubling over the past century, and as youthful appearance has become more pivotal to personal success and wellbeing, appearance continues to become of increasing concern. Our global cultures are now intermixed. Society has become more heterogeneous. Ethnic differences are clearly evident every day, in every culture. Dark Skinned individuals have firmer smoother skin than those with lighter skin of the same age, however aging does occur in all cultures with regard to pigment, wrinkles, volume loss and laxity
When seeking plastic surgical rejuvenation of the aging face our patients know we have been caring for the international community for over two decades, and offer a comprehensive knowledge of the functional principles of ethnic and aging skin, and can property care for aging skin of all populations.
Guy M Rochman MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Chief, Division of Plastic Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconesss Hospital Milton
CEO, WorldPath Health