A Deeper Look at What Makes Asian Skin Unique 

Photo credit:    Septian Simon   //Unsplash

Photo credit: Septian Simon//Unsplash

Asian skin has many qualities that make it unique from that of other ethnicities. While many skincare products have been westernized for Caucasian complexions, it’s important to understand and tend to the specific demands of our skin. When it comes to our bodies, we require products that are gentler on our skin and free of harsh chemicals.

Read on to learn how Asian skin is unique and how you can effectively care for your specific skin care needs:

1. Asian Skin has an Oily Complexion
Asians tend to have more sebaceous glands, which are responsible for sebum (oil) production. With more glands, your skin is naturally inclined to accumulate extra buildup and have a shinier complexion. Therefore, you may need to take a few additional steps to clear your pores and control shine. 

Contrary to popular belief, certain cleansers may actually do more harm than good. Products that contain harsh ingredients, like alcohol and sodium lauryl sulfate, can dehydrate your skin and stimulate the production of even more oil. To minimize buildup and keep your skin hydrated, opt for a gentle, water-based cleanser that moisturizes without irritating your skin.

You should also exfoliate your skin regularly to remove any excess sebum that may be clogging your pores. Exfoliation is the process of clearing the outermost dead layer of skin to even out skin tone and remove impurities. However, due to our skin’s sensitivity, you should avoid over-scrubbing and only use exfoliators specifically formulated for sensitive skin

2. Asian Skin is Prone to Acne and Scarring 
Compared to other ethnic groups, Asians tend to have a thinner stratum corneum. This is the outermost layer of skin, which is essential for protecting underlying tissue and maintaining your physical appearance. A thinner stratum corneum makes it harder for your skin to fully recover from injuries and can also make you more vulnerable to external conditions. Consequently, you may find that you scar more easily, especially from acne.

Unfortunately, our oily complexion can also make us more susceptible to breakouts. However, it’s a common skin condition that many Asian women face, which is why a breakout should be treated gently and as soon as it appears to prevent scarring.

You probably already know you shouldn’t pick at your blemishes, but do you know the best ways to treat acne on Asian skin? Asians tend to have higher sensitivities to benzene and hydroquinone, so it’s best to steer clear of products formulated with these ingredients. You don’t want to use a product that worsens your condition, so be sure to check the labels and pay special attention to the products you apply to your skin. For optimal results, treat breakouts with an acne- and sebum-controlling sheet mask that removes impurities without stripping your skin of its moisture. 

3. Asian Skin Loses Moisture Easily
Some studies indicate that Asians have a higher level of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), which is water vapor loss through the epidermis that occurs in non-sweating conditions. This means that your skin loses hydration much quicker and can easily become dry and irritated. That said, you may need to moisturize more often than others.

To lock in natural moisture and prevent your skin from drying out, consider using skincare products that contain higher concentrations of water-binding ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid. Moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid work to prevent moisture from escaping your body, keeping your skin hydrated and glowing.

Another way you can prevent moisture from leaving your skin is by including an emulsion in your beauty routine. Emulsions are lighter, water-based alternatives to creams that are easily absorbed by the skin. They provide your skin with the necessary hydration without stimulating unnecessary oil production. 

4. Asian Skin is More Susceptible to Pigmentary Conditions
Asians naturally produce more of the pigment melanin, which serves as a built-in SPF to prevent sun damage, premature aging and the development of skin cancer. Melanin absorbs the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which is why you may notice that you are less prone to getting sunburn and have an easier time tanning. However, having more melanin can also make you more susceptible to pigmentary disorders, such as melasma, hyperpigmentation, freckles and age spots.

Just because you’re less likely to develop sunburns doesn’t mean you should skip out on sunscreen. As a precautionary measure, you should wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 daily. This will help prevent the sun’s rays from penetrating deeper into your skin, which could lead to pigmentary conditions or more serious skin damage. 

Don’t fret if you’ve already experienced signs of hyperpigmentation. Consider using a light chemical peel to reveal new, rejuvenated skin or a prescribed melasma treatment to fight melanin production and lighten dark spots that may have developed over time. If you suspect you have a pigmentary disorder, it’s best to discuss your concerns with your dermatologist first, so you can determine the best treatment for your specific needs. 

5. Asian Skin Ages Slower
Aging is a unique process that reflects a combination of your biological and environmental influences. Not surprisingly, your genetic makeup can also greatly impact the way your skin ages, so you can thank heredity for your youthful complexion! 

In general, Asian skin tends to age slower because we have a thicker dermis compared to other ethnic groups. Your dermis is the layer of skin that’s responsible for collagen and elastin production. It helps maintain your skin’s elasticity and prevents signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. That’s why people may say you look younger than your actual age. 

While your skin possesses innate, anti-aging properties, you can further preserve your youthful looks and prevent premature aging by using a multi-purpose anti-aging cream. These products work to brighten and even out your complexion while also improving your skin’s elasticity, allowing you to preserve your youth right underneath your makeup.

Though you’re more likely to have the aforementioned qualities, this list is neither exhaustive nor exclusive. Of course, no two women are created alike, which is why it’s also important to first consult with your dermatologist to determine the best treatment for your specific skin care needs.