Mrs Sabrina Shah-Desai explains the variations in ageing of the peri-ocular region in different ethnicities and how to treat the area appropriately
In my research, I have found that world literature on cosmetic facial rejuvenation is commonly centered on Caucasian aesthetic ideals and tends to ignore the larger ethnic groups such as African, Asian (Oriental and Indian) and Hispanic, despite darker skinned people (tan, olive, brown and black) constituting the majority of the global Of the 5,000 ethnic groups in the world, the largest are population the Chinese followed by the Indians.
The obvious difference in individuals of varying ethnicities is the skin colour, although there is a wide variation of the facial dimensions between ethnicity, gender, and age. When assessing the anatomical aspects, it is apparent that key angles and proportions do vary in different ethnicities. Photoageing affects all skin types, regardless of ethnicity. As eyelid skin is one of the thinnest in the human body, the periorbital area is the first to demonstrate visible signs of ageing.
Rawlings’ analysis of the effects of photoageing due to sun exposure concluded that although all ethnic groups are subject to the process of photoageing, Caucasian skin usually ages faster than any other ethnic group. The main reason is that this skin type contains low levels of melanin and is thinner, making factors such as upper eyelid hooding, eye bags and crow’s feet more visible (as early as the third decade), whereas hyperpigmented macules and seborrhoeic keratosis are more common with the darker skin types. Studies have confirmed that racial differences in skin physiology are mainly related to the protective role of melanin present in races with darker skin, differences in stratum corneum (SC) thickness, water content, rate of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and in skin characteristics like extensibility, recovery and elastic modulus. Typically in the skull, the nose area, eye orbits, and brow ridges, significant racial differences are apparent.