Common Asian Skin Conditions and Treatments

November 23, 2015

Asian Skin Models

Asian skin conditions have genetic influences from a range of countries that include China, Japan, India, Southern Asia and part of the Pacific. Skin tones vary from very pale skin to light or dark brown. Regardless of climate variables that affect skin health, some skin conditions seem to be more prevalent among Asian people.

“My goal is to provide personalized, comprehensive medical and surgical dermatology for people of all ages and ethnicities here in our new Central Texas home.”
– Weilan Johnson, MD, U.S. Dermatology Partners, Central Texas


Asian skin produces more oil due to the warmer climates of the regions. As a result, Asians are more vulnerable than others to acne outbreaks. In most cases, the breakouts are keloids, hardened bumps. Unfortunately, without treatment, this can lead to acne scarring.

Melanin is abundant in Asian skin and melanin cells are sensitive to inflammation or injury. When Asian skin is affected with deeper acne pustules it can leave post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). These are dark spots or patches that stay on the skin after a skin injury. Almost any kind of rash or acne can make this happen.

Medications to clear acne include some OTC products. These acne products help reduce the incidence of PIH. Another product that is very effective in protecting Asian skin from an uneven skin tone is sunscreen.

Keep sun exposure to a minimum, wear sun-protective clothes and hats with a brim, as well as use a broad spectrum SPF 30 or 50 sunscreen.

Removing the surface skin cells or exfoliation improves both acne and hyperpigmentation. With acne managed, treating pigmentation problems is easier. Chemical peels and cosmeceuticals can be helpful with that. Remember, these are procedures that should be performed only by a board-certified dermatologist.

Hyperpigmentation and Hypopigmentation

Asians do not wrinkle like Caucasians and Africans because they have higher levels of natural hydration. Their primary age-related skin problems are dark spots. These spots are due to hyperpigmentation—an imbalance of skin tone highly visible against the contrast of warm, smooth Asian skin.

Another skin disorder that South Asians worry with is melasma. It shows up as brownish spots on the face. Asians experience it sometimes in pregnancy, but other people with darker skin also experience it. Too much sun and irritations to the skin can make it worse.

Common Hypopigmentation Skin Disorders

Vitiligo occurs among all ethnicities but is common in South Asians. The contrast of light patches on darker skin makes it more noticeable. With vitiligo your immune system disrupts skin pigment cells. This creates white patches on the skin and mucous membranes. Vitiligo can exist alone, but can also be associated with other immune system medical conditions.

Get a confirmed diagnosis of the skin disorder to eliminate the underlying cause of the pigmentation. Vitiligo can be difficult to cure, but the symptoms can be managed with treatment from your board-certified dermatologist.

Improving Skin Health

For optimum skin health, it’s recommended to make a conscious choice to eat healthy, fresh vegetables, fish and fruits, avoiding fast foods and snacks. Taking a holistic approach to beauty and healthy skin, Asian Americans represent the kind of beauty and good health that starts from the inside out.

However, if you find yourself with a worrisome skin condition or one that does not improve, don’t delay in seeing a board-certified dermatologist. Make an appointment right away. They are experts who fully understand the best treatments and procedures for all skin care types and conditions. 

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