White skin

  • Acne very common in white skin
  • More incidence of nodules and cysts
  • Tendency toward dryer skin
  • Less chance of hyperpigmentation

Acne is an extremely common skin disorder in Caucasian adolescents and adults. According to Cutis, a peer-reviewed clinical journal for dermatologists, "During visits by white patients, the...most common [diagnosis] recorded [was] acne."1 Upwards of 95% of Caucasian people experience acne at some point in their lives.

People with lighter skin tend to have a higher incidence of nodules and cysts, the more severe types of acne lesions. Caucasian people also tend toward dryer skin, making drying and peeling medications more of a challenge. White people must also contend with more noticeable lesions when they do break out. The acute redness and inflammation that directly surround an acne lesion stand in stark contrast to light skin tones. However, when it comes to the red spots that acne leaves behind, white people tend to have less of a struggle. While white people do experience post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation—a fancy term for these marks—they experience them less often than their darker-skinned counterparts.2-5 Also, these marks tend to fade more quickly on lighter skin. However, Caucasian skin, just like any other ethnicity, can scar.

No matter the ethnicity, acne develops and is treated the same way, and with proper medication is easily treatable.6 Options include topical treatment as well as Accutane (isotretinoin).

Prevention is key. Preventing acne will not only improve quality of life, it will help prevent potential scarring.

  1. Alexis AF, Sergay AB and Taylor SC. "Common dermatologic disorders in skin of color: a comparative practice survey." Cutis. 2007; 80(5): 387-94.
  2. Halder RM and Nootheti PK. "Ethnic skin disorders overview." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2003 Jun; 48(6 Suppl): S143-8.
  3. Alexis AF and Lamb A. "Concomitant therapy for acne in patients with skin of color: A case-based approach." Dermatology Nursing. 2009; 21(1): 33-36.
  4. Shah SK and Alexis AF. "Acne in skin of color: Practical approaches to treatment." Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 2010; 21(3):206-211.
  5. Ho SGY, et al. "A retrospective analysis of the management of acne post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation using topical treatment, laser treatment, or combination topical and laser treatments in Oriental patients." Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. 2011; 43(1): 1-7.
  6. Czernielewski J, Poncet M and Mizzi F. "Efficacy and cutaneous safety of adapalene in black patients versus white patients with acne vulgaris." Cutis. 2002; 70(4): 243-8.

Further reading

  1. Lucky AW, et al. "Acne vulgaris in early adolescent boys. Correlations with pubertal maturation and age." Archives of Dermatology. 1991; 127(2): 210-6.