“Is Asian skin even different?” you ask. The answer is yes… and no. Confusing, we know! But first, some context—Asia is the world’s largest continent, spanning a whopping 48 countries and within them, a spectrum of climatic regions ranging from the icy tundra of eastern Siberia to the scorching equatorial Greater Sunda Islands.
As such, “Asian skin” is not a homogenous thing, and has a myriad of different representations adapted to each of these climates, with skin tones varying from pale to deep tan.
Yet it remains that Asian skins share certain characteristics. Skin colour is determined by the presence of three main pigments: melanin for dark brown to black skin tones, carotene for yellow to red tones and haemoglobin for red to pink tones. Carotene is what makes carrots, tomatoes and egg yolks yellow to red, and it’s most commonly found in the stratum corneum and fatty areas of the dermis and subcutaneous tissue of Asian skins as well.
As explored in our acne basics article, genes have a huge influence on skin resilience and sensitivity to specific issues, leading to advantages and disadvantages for individuals of all skin tones. For example, those with red hair and fair complexions are known to be sunburn-prone, thus having a higher skin cancer risk. They are also less susceptible to oily skin. Let’s explore the ways the structure and concerns about Asian skin is unique.
Sun-induced freckles and uneven skin tone is the leading sign of ageing in Asian skins, especially among those in sunny regions. Generally higher levels of hydration in the skin, as well as a naturally thicker, more compact dermis means wrinkling is less noticeable, and as such, less of a problem.
Melasma and hyperpigmentation can be found in all in skin tones, but are a major cause for concern among those of Asian origin.
Asian skins are the most sensitive, easily irritated and most likely to experience inflammation. Compared to other ethnicities, the outermost layer of Asian skins is thinner, meaning we’re most vulnerable to environmental factors and highly-active skincare. This is why peels and acid treatments should be used with caution and control on Asian skins.
Asian skins in warmer climates tend to produce more sebum, leaving skins more vulnerable to breakouts. Inflammation and acne-scarring is also something to look out for, and need to be treated quickly and efficiently to avoid hardened scars, redness and keloids, which occur more frequently in Asian skin.
Given these differences, does it mean Asian skin requires its own special skincare? Surprisingly, no! Overall functions and structures of skin, no matter their pigment composition or exposure to different climates, are largely similar, and can be cared for in comparable ways.
At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and even if your skin tone or even type is associated with a certain advantage, no two skins are the same. What we do know is that all skins can stand to benefit from being sufficiently cleansed, hydrated, and protected from the sun! Here are our favourite B&B Labs products for the job:
One swipe of this potent yet mild micellar water lifts dirt, grime and makeup without any elbow grease or harsh soaps. In the formula: salicylic acid to ensure deeply cleansed pores and the complex Aquaxyl to reinforce the skin’s strength and hydration.
This gel-type moisturiser instantly infuses skin with a shot of hydration for a youthful, dewy effect. Deep in the skin, its namesake pomegranate oil works to stimulate collagen production, while sodium hyaluronate locks in hydration to fill out fine lines and wrinkles.
Great for every ethnicity and skin tone, the invisible SPF 50 formula forms a comfortable, protective shield, keeping sun damage at bay with four main active ingredients that filter and absorb UVA and UVB rays.