Ethnic Variation in Skin Properties: Quo Vadis?

October 21, 2008 | Contact Author | By: Howard I. Maibach, MD, University of California School of Medicine and Sarika Saggar, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
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Ethnic variation in skin properties is an important topic because those variations may influence clinical differences in dermatologic disorders. Part I of this piece, published in the April issue of C&T magazine, began an update on the quantity and quality of dermatological knowledge on the skinmetrics of racial differences in skin structure and function. Skinmetrics such as transepidermal water loss, blood vessel reactivity, pH and morphology were discussed. Part II completes this update and offers an interpretation in reference to skin care for different ethnic groups.

It should be noted that because the definitions of race, ethnicity or skin of color are not well-established, different researchers may use different terms to describe ethnicity, complicating the interpretation and comparison of studies on ethnic differences. In this review article, the terms used by the authors of each referenced study have been maintained and thus these terms are not necessarily consistent from one study to the next.