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African-American Skin Pigmentation Changes With Age

In Caucasians, sun-exposed skin darkens with age and is darker than sun-protected skin. However, a new study finds that in African Americans, sun-exposed skin lightens with age and is lighter than sun-protected skin. This study examined objective color measurements taken from sun-protected (buttock) and sun-exposed (back of forearm) skin in African Americans and Caucasians of different ages. The results show that as in previous studies, sun-exposed Caucasian skin was more darkly pigmented in participants aged 65 years and older versus ages 18 to 30 years. However, in contrast to findings in Caucasian skin, the researchers observed that the sun-protected and sun-exposed skin sites in African Americans tended to be lighter (and more red) in older participants. Sun-exposed skin was lighter than sun-protected skin in participants aged 18 to 30 years, suggesting that sun exposure may not affect skin pigmentation the same way in African Americans as it does in Caucasians and that there may be other factors involved in the skin pigmentation of African Americans. Sun-exposed skin presented with more redness than sun-protected skin in both Caucasians and African Americans, suggesting that sun exposure may contribute to redness in African Americans as it does in Caucasians. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, also had effects on skin pigmentation.

The authors conclude that although acute UV exposure is associated with darkening of skin in Caucasians and African Americans, increasing age and chronic sun exposure that is associated with skin aging may manifest as gradual lightening of skin in African Americans, versus a gradual darkening of skin in Caucasians. They further state that common contributors to skin aging and pigmentation in Caucasians may not be applicable in African Americans.


Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: October 24, 2016

Source: JAAD
Adapted from the original article.

[Image:  Pixabay / Counselling]

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