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For countless thousands of years most people were born, lived and died a matter of a few miles from where their ancestors had been born, lived and died, and skins naturally evolved to cope with the conditions and climates of particular parts of the world. Soft, pale ‘Irish’ skin was perfectly suited to the damp mists and moderate temperatures of that country; and Asian and African skins to high temperatures, humidity and baking sun. But transportation and emigration, which has been taking place for three hun­dred years or so and has greatly increased in the present century, have now placed pale skins in baking climates and dark skins in cold ones. Adapting to life in climates they were not ‘made’ for can cause difficulties.

‘Irish’ or Celtic skin
Pale, delicate skin often accompanying very dark or reddish hair is fre­quently found in people of Irish and Scottish descent. It is smooth and blemish-free, the stuff that poems are penned to in its prime. It often becomes translucent and beautiful in old age, but this softness, lack of colour (and often oil) can bring problems with early loss of elasticity, premature wrinkling, and a tendency to react irritably to beauty treatments like waxing and electrolysis. It can also collapse under the strain of pregnancy, leaving stretch marks and loss of elasticity on the
abdominal area.
Emigration in the past means these skins are often placed in hot parts of the States and Australia where strong sun will encourage the early ageing tendency and can bring major skin problems. Heat and increased surface circulation can lead to obvious veins on the surface of this soft skin. ‘Irish’ skin needs a gentle touch and plenty of protection from extreme weather conditions, central heating or air conditioning. . . and moisturising at all times.

Oriental skin
The sebum output of Oriental skin can be as variable as that of Caucasian skins, but it is genetically stronger and more resilient, so ageing comes later cry late if it’s sheltered from hot sun. This is usually a fine, smooth, even-toned skin and the facial structure is markedly less angular than the European with flat cheekbones and small nose which can mean less character lines around mouth and eyes. Although this skin can usually cope with hot sun, it lacks the red tones of tanned Caucasian skins and can become muddy-looking and suffer from pigmentation patching when exposed to the rays.

Asian skin
A strong skin that basically takes a lot of wear and tear without showing signs of age. In Asia it easily acclimatises to the heat and rainy seasons, but in Britain and northern European countries it can become very dry and suffer from pigmentation problems on cheeks, nose and forehead from a combination of climate changes, central heating and strip lighting. Mrs Pun of Shahnaz Herbal in London finds ‘lack of time’ is a beauty problem for her Asian and British clients. ‘In India women are more beauty ori­entated. They have massage, use oils and Ayurvedic medicine (an ancient Hindu health system which makes use of the powers of nature, special diets, massage with herbal oils and meditation for the maintenance of health, energy and youthful looks). Ordinary working girls will spend money on treatments for beauty, body and soul. . . even very poor women care about their looks, use oils and will, for instance, take a piece of charcoal from the fire and use it to remove every trace of hair from their legs.

Afro-Caribbean skin...
The description ‘black skin’ can cover the spectrum from ivory to deep jet (there are thirty-four to thirty-eight recognized shades of black skin), but generally black skin has larger pigment granules than Caucasian and thus has a greater natural protection against ageing and damaging UV rays. Black skins have a higher oil secretion than Caucasian skins, which is also anti-ageing, but can bring possible texture and eruption troubles from time to time.
The continual shedding of dead skin cells which lack colour and don’t show up too much on a white skin can be very obvious on black skins and rich emollients are essential to prevent an ashy tone, particularly in winter in northern climates where weather conditions and central heating accelerate the problem.
Uneven pigmentation may be a problem. Basically this means that there are many skin tones on one face. Skin lighteners may sometimes be used on small, darker patches, but this should only be done after taking expert advice and using special products that contain less than two per cent hydroquinone which is a strong lightening agent and should be used with caution. Even quite minor damage to black skin  a bad mosquito bite or a small cut  can heal leaving darker or lighter patches of skin. Vitiligo which again may be hardly noticeable on many white skins can be very obvious on dark skin. Camouflage cosmetics can be a great help where there are any pigmentation problems.


Top | Skin Test | Normal Skin | Dry Skin | Sensitive Skin | Oily Skin | Combination Skin | Special Cases

Skin Anatomy and Physiology Acne Ingredients Cosmetics
Dictionary of Skin Care Terms Skin Care Advice Skin Problems
The Sun & Your Skin Skin Care News  

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