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By Enzo Berardesca; Jean-Luc Leveque; Howard I Maibach

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23) have demonstrated, studying a larger sample size, that TEWL is lower in blacks than Whites when measuring on the cheeks and legs. No racial differences in TEWL exist either on the volar or dorsal forearms. However, WC is increased in Hispanics on the volar forearm and decreased in Whites (compared only to blacks) on the dorsal forearm. These findings partially confirm previous observations (16,24). Skin lipids may play a role in modulating the relation between stratum corneum WC and TEWL resulting in higher conductance values in blacks and Hispanics.

CONCLUSION Ethnic (racial) differences in skin physiology have been minimally investigated. The current experimental human model for skin is largerly based upon physical and biochemical properties known about Caucasian skin. Biophysical Properties of Ethnic Skin 17 Thus, anatomical or physiological properties in skin of different races that may alter a disease process or a treatment of that disease are not being accounted for. ’’ There exists reasonable evidence to support that black skin has a higher TEWL compared to white skin by means of objective measurements.

V) Finally, EMP is considered an optical barrier to observation of skin reactions in skin of color—so how are changes with disease or with treatment to be documented? These are some concepts that we revisit in this chapter. We start with a short review of melanin in the skin, then consider light distribution in skin of color, and we end with a discussion on methods of assessing melanin and skin reactions in the skin of persons of color. MELANIN IN THE SKIN Constitutive Pigmentation Melanin resides in the epidermis in keratinocytes.

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