Black skin, white skin, Asian skin – what’s the difference?

differences between black and white skinSurprisingly (or not), it’s more than just skin color that separates a black person from a white person, and a white person from an Asian.

Scientists have discovered structural differences between black, white and Asian skin in terms of its:

  • thickness
  • water content
  • lipids (fat and fat soluble vitamins)

Differences between black skin and white skin

  • The epidermis of black skin contains less glutathione than white skin. (Reduced glutathione may be responsible for skin color. Inhibition of epidermal glutathione system leads to darker skin, and glutathione in the epidermis has been shown to inhibit melanogenesis.)
  • In the epidermis of white skin, hyperpigmentation or tanning is always followed by a drop in glutathione reductase and reduced glutathione.
  • Black skin have larger melanosomes than white skin.
  • Black skin has a higher electrical resistance than white skin, which suggests greater cohesion and thickness.
  • Black skin has more and larger fibroblasts than white skin. The fibroblasts in black skin are also more multi-nucleated. This can lead to more abnormal scarring and keloid formation.
  • Black skin also has larger mast cell granules than white skin, which may also play a part in keloid formation.
  • The stratum corneum of black skin has more layers and stronger cells than in white skin.
  • Black skin and Asian skin have thicker and more compact dermis than white skin. This is also why blacks and Asians have fewer facial wrinkles than whites.
  • Black skin has more casual lipids and more moisture in the stratum corneum than white skin.
  • Black skin sheds its outer layers more (increased desquamation) than white skin
  • Black skin has 50% lower ceramides than white or Hispanic skin. Asians have the highest skin ceramide levels.
  • Black and Indian skin has two times more alkali-insoluble melanin (darker DHI-enriched eumelanin) than white skin, hispanic skin and Chinese skin.
  • Black skin has a lower pH than white skin.

What does this mean?

The differences between our skin can determine several things.

  • Effectiveness of topical skin lightening creams and lotions
  • Safety of chemical peels and skin laser treatments
  • Our skin’s healing response to wounds and the formation of abnormal scars

38 thoughts on “Black skin, white skin, Asian skin – what’s the difference?”

  1. Try to use hydroquinone and mercury free skin-lightening products. Whitening skin care has been a cosmetic concern for thousands of years, all around the world. From all races in Asia, the Caribbean, India to Europe and even with the Caucasian race.

    1. Woman / man, be proud that ur black!
      Be proud of whatever race u r!
      Weather ur asian or black or white or blue or orange or even purple!
      BE PROUD OF WHO U R!!!
      :)

    2. Well said Cow! As a white guy I can say I would take a black girl over a tall skinny white blonde any day! Not that I have a problem with blonde girls but our stupid American society that will only hire white blonde girls for a spokes woman or a restaurant hostess. Black girls are beautiful and are very under appreciated in American society. Blacks look better with black hair and not as much when they dye it blonde so quit trying to conform to this barbie doll American image because yall are much better than that!

  2. i don’t know whether i understood what you said but i am a black of fair complexion, i don’t scar easily, like i get a deep cut, within hours the flesh is back together, after two days, it’s all healed with no medication and you will never find any kind of scarring….that fact about blacks scarring easily…not so true!!
    wish you could write a more elaborate conclusion.

  3. actually sonia it varies and if i get one scratch it will heal very quickly about a week depending on how deep the cut is….and after the scaling falls off it either gets darker than the skin sourounding it or significantly light than the skin around it..although the dark scars dont go away it takes two years for the lighter to turn some what closer to what it was originally but still you can see where the scar is meaning it never disapeared completely …but its different for the face i have had many deep cuts from falling over or hitting something and those cuts never left scars they just disapeared because i used turmeric powed right when i cut it that really helps the scarring to never occur…magic all you have to do if you ever get a cut on your face is rinse the blood off and the germs with water and make a turmeric paste and apply it..there will be scaling for a couple of days and when it falls off it will be slightly lighter ofcourse new skin..after that your new skin will look exactly like your normal complexion and after that it will be hard to find exactly where the scar was…

  4. “Black skin has more and larger fibroblasts than white skin. The fibroblasts in black skin are also more multi-nucleated. This can lead to more abnormal scarring and keloid formation.”

    sonia, you said you are black but with a fair complexion. i can only guess that you are saying that you have light skin. this means down the line you are mixed. your scars would heal better than, lets just say, the guy in the pic at the top of the page. also, scars depend on which direction and how deep the cuts are.

    1. Girl! You got it so backwards! First of all, have you ever seen a white person have a black child without mixing races? No, but you have seen the opposite, think of albino. The first people were black. I believe that when God cursed Adam and Eve it was by taking the color from their children, to make them suffer. And anyone knows that when your children do not look like you, you are naturally upset.
      Food for thought. Cain may have been Albino . . .
      Now I am not saying that Albinoism is a curse it itself but that it was used to get Adam and Eve’s attention.

      1. Your comment is full of wrongs:
        No, there is no one who have seen a black person have a white child, albino is not the same as white.
        You also think the first humans were black, well, it’s impossible to know if the first humans where black or lighter brown, they were most likely not very white (because they lived in Africa). It depends in what stage of evolution you start to count our ancestors as humans. Chimps are white under they’re hairs you know. We can’t know if our ancestors developed black skin before they lost they’re hairs.
        You’re saying taking the colour FROM their children. For your information, white is all colours mixed and black is no colour (0 light = 0 colour). The correct thing to say would be to give them colour. You are also saying that he did that to make them suffer and as a curse. So you’re saying white people are a curse for humanity. I just can’t see that being true.

        1. I’m so sorry, but Whites ARE a blight on the face of the earth. Aside from the wars started among Africans because of imposed British/European idealism during the British occupancy of Africa, when was the last time blacks or anyone else (with the exception of Genghis Khan) tried to take over the world – genocide, nuclear war, hate propaganda, slavery (even among their own kind), such of the like?

          1. The only reason blacks never tried to take over the world is because they never had the capability. There were plenty of African empires inside Africa though. Oh, and they used other blacks as slaves as well. Don’t be so racist. It’s an animal thing to expand and kill their enemies. The higher capability, the more they expand and kill.

          2. Allrelative….I am curious to know where you grew up, as to why you think all white people are the blight of the earth? I take each person as they come. As to how much or little melanin they have in their skin is irrelevant. Maybe you had some bad experiences which can affect how you perceive others?

    2. Please don’t! I am very very white and I am attracted to very black men. I love black skin and afrohair. I love the features and the darker the berry the sweeter the juice.

      Remember skin bleaching is a product of slavery. Slavery shaped attitudes towards skin colour. Your ancestors fought for your freedom so you could be free to embrace who you are.

      Stand up and challenge these values. Embrace your black beauty. Do not put these harmful chemicals on your skin. Skin bleaching makes me very sad. Do not conform other wise change will never happen.

      God and nature made you that way for a reason. Most men I know love natural beauty. Healthy skin glows if you look after it. But you have to learn to love yourself.

      Otherwise you will waste your whole life with negative self esteem. Black is beautiful. Pave the way for your generations to come.

      Plenty of white men in the UK would love to be with a black lady. But they are too shy to approach.

      Skin bleaching is so harmful to your skin. Who gives a f*** about anyone who cusses and says negative comments about your skin. Your true friends accept you for you. Say I am who I am and I cannot be anyone else.

      Peace and love…Duppygal :)

  5. Haha, i hope that guy is joking about skin bleaching. Intresting article. I knew black peoples skin was thicker than white peoples. My girlfrend rolled her eyes at me when i said somthind about that related to wrink
    Es or somthing or other. Haha. (im white, shes black).

  6. When people say “White” they normally refer it to a “Caucasian” person. When someone wants to do whitening, or wants white skin. This doesn’t mean they want to be white. Actually, correctly speaking East Asians tend to actually literally be closer to the color white-skin then actualy white people. (Who have the tendency to have spots, red-faced, freckles, hair, pink undertone, thin-skin sometimes blue and purple from seeing veins through their skin) since asians have a variety of skin color (olive-tone, tan for south east asians, and others have yellowtone especially when they’ve been in the sun and all it “discoloration”) because they have more malin in their skin. Yet a lot of them are “one-toned” since they have thicker skin and VERY pale and a lot of my japanese friends have literally white skin naturally. When a person wants to whiten/brighten their skin is it is to make their skin eventoned, correct discoloration and to fix spots then may have had from the sun.

    1. I am not sure where you got your info from or who advised you to be a speaker for others? I am referring to your comment about not trying to be white by bleaching the skin. You should have said some because I know some personally who would rather be white and speak of bleaching their skin to obtain those results. Also it is true that people of color do have more melanin as reported in the article but I am not sure if they have ANY malin [sic]. Yes the spelling is important because as an ambassador of speaking for ALL others you have to know what you are talking about!

  7. Firstly,i would like to say that your mind is to narrow and very shallow to know what colour adam was.and secondly,only uneducated people,make irrelevant comments like that.

  8. What is wrong with everyone read a little people I am black my parents are black from Puerto Rico and Barbados and I am still black. Whether white, asian, or ” Hispanic” I placed Hispanic in quotes because Hispanics are a collective fusion of African,indiginous, and of course descendants of their Spaniard captures. In the end scientist oh let me add white and black have finally revealed that we all are one people. We are all black, descendants of the fist humans found in Africa. We traveled the globe and due to climate and other variables in nature our features changed as an adaptation. So I believe tha our skin would be different due to our variation of climates. Oh and as for Adam and eve god dimake us in his image, and took us from the ground and breathed life into us. Just as we come in shades the brown shades of the earth’s soil come in a variety of shades.

  9. White women have better everythang,,,, skin too now dat its mentioned,,,

    if we black men could pick,, we pick dem pretty white girls over our own,, sad butt true. Just look at brothers with white goddess, we treat the white princess much better,

    ya boy out!

    1. LOL is being an idiot a race? Again a person who speaks for everyone. I am not believing you are black at all because if you were then you would have not just told the world that you would not have been born because your mother would have been overlooked. I feel sooooo sorry for her and the lessons she missed teaching. The ebonics by the way told on you!

  10. Blacks girls disgust the hell out of me and I’m a black male. I saint the only brother that feels this way. Most of all the good looking brothers like myself chasing white girls first then blacks second.

    It aint just the skin, black girls got them bad attitudes, aint got pretty hair, n big nose

    1. Well it’s natural that people avoid what they can’t handle, but to accuse all black women of having bad attitude is ignorant. You are not a brother, only an ignorant man. Your comments on noses and who good looking brothers is funny indeed. I’m one of those brothers, and only an ignorant woman would get with a shallow man, regardless of what his skin choice is.

      ….And remember a lot of women of other races want black men because they have a fetish for the skin tone, and it has nothing to do with who you are either….I guess shallowness attracts shallowness. I have love for all races and don’t have a shallow mind…That’s probably why my relationship is working. Hope it helps knock some sense into your low self-esteem.

  11. My inquiry was to find out whether skin thickness is linked to race. Then try to translate the scientific data from standard English to a local language. I’m satisfied with the answers the article provided. But I found a bunch of men and women making this research material a basis of making other races inferior. There is only one race-the human race, all created by God-regardless of real or perceived difference. All the comments are irrelevant to the study. However, thank you all for the exptession of what is in your minds.

  12. my girifriend is black and i am white,and i noticed that her skin is thicker and more oiled than mine,maybe i am wrong…by the way i never want to date again with caucasian women not for racism reasons is just i don t like women that have so many hairs,big noses,more fat in their body and so many marks as fracles..

  13. Would a thicker and more compact dermis change the tattoo process at all? Would the thickness or compactness make it hold ink different than lighter-skin? Would it be harder to place or would it last longer once in?

    1. There’s not much written about this, but pain can be more intense for blacks during the tattooing process. Compared to white skin, black skin is more sensitive and prone to scarring, so needle depth matters a lot (this means tattoo artists should generally go easier/lighter when tattooing a black person’s skin).

      Not sure about how the ink’s staying power or intensity will differ, though I’d imagine that most people would prefer touching up a faded tattoo than having to deal with scars.

      Hope that helps.

  14. Just because a person wants to brighten there skin, doesn’t mean there’s a complex issue with their skin. Perhaps, the sun damage the skin, or uneven color,and maybe they do want lighter skin. But that’s that person right and body to brighten if it makes him/her feel good about themselves.

    1. Dayshena in response to your comment…ask yourself why you would feel better with lighter skin? Why not go darker to even out your skin tone? Everyone has a right to modify themselves. But remember you were designed to be the colour you are. Nature did not intend for you to be putting chemicals on your skin.

      It was my non white friends, from Africa, Caribbean and Asia that taught me to love my pale skin. I have celtic roots and I am very white. I had negative comments from white people telling me I am too pale, too freckly, being called a ghost and that I needed a tan. Nature did not intend for me to go burning and cooking my skin for a tan.

      In order for me to tan, I have to burn which is very painful. But I do not conform to society and the media telling me to go browner. When all it does is age the skin. The more melanin you have, the more protected you are. If you bleach you are exposing your skin more to the sun.

      I love all skin colours. However I think very black skin is so beautiful. I love how dark skinned my partner is. I prefer dark skinned men because they have a different gene pool to me. I would want to have a mixed race child because they would have healthier genetics. Opposites attract. Look after your skin and it will glow. That is why I am glad I use sun cream. At the age of 30 I don’t really have any wrinkles. My body is the same overall colour. Black people taught me to mousterise. White skin does not get dry and ashy like black skin. My ex who was Jamaican called me Duppy meaning ghost in a fond way. He was proud of being black and wanted to get blacker in the sun. His sun looked much healthier after a holiday to somewhere hot away from cold English weather.

      You may not think it is a skin complex but look at the society around you. The mass media do not always celebrate black beauty. It is a product of colonisation and slavery. The colour privelegding system is still implicit in all aspects of our society. This brain washes people of colour to think that to look more attractive you have to lighten your skin or europeanise you look by straightening your hair.

      I am sure your skin colour is beautiful just as it is :)

  15. A black woman in a night club came up to me and said: “Your skin is so white you are like a porcelain doll”. I will never forget her compliment. Many white people said I was too fair, too pasty…back home in Norfolk. But when I moved to London it was black and asian people who taught me to love my skin.

    Now I pay back. Giving a compliment is a good feeling. You make the person feel special. I will always compliment people, of whatever race, if you look after your skin….it glows. I always compliment black and asian people on road.

    For those who do not appreciate are just ignorant to the beauty that I appreciate everytime I kiss my very dark bornville ebony boyfriend on his lips.

    Exfoliate. Tone. Moisturise. Give your skin the right sun protection. Black don’t crack but porcelain don’t crack either if you look after yourself. Every skin colour is beautiful. We are all the shades of god’s artist’s palette. Beauty is socially constructed. No one said one colour is more attractive than the other.

  16. The more melanin you have the thicker your skin is. This does give you an advantage with skin aging. However all black people moisturise their skin religiously. It is shameful to have dry ‘ashy’. Most white men I know do not moisturise at all or wear sun protection.

    As I very pale skinned white lady I wear sun protection, never sun bath and moisturise. I have some red hair which means I do have the genetic predisposition to taking in more vitamin d from the sun. I can handle cold air and climates much more than my black friends, often hating air conditioning and needing to heat the house more living in the UK.

    But on the other hand the sun wipes me out in hot countries. My blue eyes squint and I have to block out the sun which factor 60 sun cream, 100 % uv filter sun glasses and I wear a low spf factor in the winter. My skin does not get dry and takes longer to absorb moisture but I still moisturise with cocoabutter etc…

    A lot of white people do not realise in a quest for a tan they are aging their skin, depleting their skin of collegen. I embrace my pale porcelain skin but I appreciate all skin colours.

    I have dated and been in relationships with all different races of men. Living in London is different to America. Lots of people are in mixed race relationships. My uncle is married to a Kenyan women and my other is one from Iran. My partner is the opposite to me. I am blonde, blue eyed and very pale. He is very very dark and I love his afro hair, full lips, big batty and broad nose. Our contrast brings out the best in us because he is East African and I have a lot black friends and connections with African.

    Only slavery and colonisation shaped our attitudes towards skin colour and beauty. But there is a big change in the area I live in Brixton . Many black women are going back to natural beauty afros and I see plenty of them with white men. I know plenty of white men who desire black women. Many of my black female friends are with black women because they appreciate their strong nature and assertiveness. Just as I do.

    Hopefully one day black beauty will be fully embraced. Because I appreciate it. Only those who are ignorant and not englighted the way I am, growing up in a multi cultural tolerant society often different to America would have no clue about how accepting and utopian society can be.

  17. What’s strange is that at first the author characterized the skin in to three groups , black white and Asian. Later on the author characterized them in to black white and Chinese. Asian is a more proper term because not all Asians are Chinese. There are also Japanese, Malaysian , Taiwanese , Mongolian, Korean , and so on.

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