latino acne

Latino skin

  • Acne very common in Latino adolescents and adults
  • Latino people tend to seek treatment less often
  • Tendency for hyperpigmentation

Latino people, just like every other ethnic group, suffer from acne at a high rate.1-5 However, the medical community has performed little research on Latino people with acne. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, "There is a need to understand the variety of dermatologic disorders that manifest in ethnic groups of non-Caucasian skin types."6

A study published in 2010 in the journal Clinical and Laboratory Investigations reported interesting differences in the perceptions of acne in Latino participants in the United States. Compared to Caucasians, Latino participants were more likely to think that acne was the sufferer’s own fault. Latinos were also only half as likely to seek treatment for acne compared with Caucasian people.7

Another study, published in 2011 in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, examined 2,895 women of various ethnicities in the United States. Overall incidence of acne in Hispanic women was highest. When the researchers separated out types of acne, Hispanic women had the second to highest amount of comedonal acne, which refers to non-inflammatory blackheads and whiteheads, when compared to African American, Asian, Caucasian, and Indian women, but had the greatest incidence of a milder form of acne which tends to show up in adulthood, called physiologic acne.8

Acne skin of color
latino skin

People with Latino skin experience a higher occurrence of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.6,9-12 This is the medical term for the dark/red spots that are left behind after acne lesions have healed. These dark spots can take months or even years to fade and can be as troubling as the acne itself. Check out the hyperpigmentation page here on to learn more about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2002 reported that Hispanic people had a higher incidence of cystic lesions, the most severe type of acne lesions, as well as more pustules, the inflamed “zits” with white/yellow centers, when compared to other “skin of color” groups. Hispanic people also had more than twice as much incidence of acne scarring.13

Asian and Other
(n = 19)
(n = 239)
(n = 55)
Papular Lesions 78.9% 70.7% 74.5%
Pustular Lesions 21.1% 26.4% 43.6%
Comedonal Lesions 52.6% 46.9% 50.9%
Cystic Lesions 10.5% 18.0% 25.5%
Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation 47.4% 65.3% 52.7%
Scarring 10.5% 5.9% 21.8%

Treatments for acne are consistent no matter the ethnicity of the skin. There is a regimen based on benzoyl peroxide here on which works remarkably well for Latino people. Another option for people with severe widespread and scarring acne is Accutane (isotretinoin). Whatever treatment you embark upon, due to the greater probability of hyperpigmentation and scarring, it is vital that Latino people treat their skin early and aggressively.14

The most important goal is prevention. Preventing acne will prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and potential scarring. Once you get your acne completely cleared up and are actively preventing new lesions from forming, you may embark on one of the methods of treating hyperpigmentation.

  1. Quandt, S. A. et al. Dermatological illnesses of immigrant poultry-processing workers in North Carolina. Arch Environ Occup Health 60, 165–169 (2005).
  2. Quandt, S. A. et al. The association of dermatologist-diagnosed and self-reported skin diseases with skin-related quality of life in Latino migrant farmworkers. Int J Dermatol 47, 236–241 (2008).
  3. Albares Tendero, M. P. et al. Dermatoses in Latin American immigrants seen in a tertiary hospital. Eur J Dermatol 19, 157–162 (2009).
  4. Vallejos, Q. M. et al. Self report of skin problems among farmworkers in North Carolina. Am J Ind Med 51, 204–212 (2008).
  5. Paek, S. Y., Koriakos, A., Saxton-Daniels, S. & Pandya, A. G. Skin diseases in rural Yucatan, Mexico. Int J Dermatol 51, 823–828 (2012).
  6. Halder, R. M. & Nootheti, P. K. Ethnic skin disorders overview. J Am Acad Dermatol 48, S143–148 (2003).
  7. Cheng, C. E. et al. Self-reported acne severity, treatment, and belief patterns across multiple racial and ethnic groups in adolescent students. Pediatr Dermatol 27, 446–452 (2010).
  8. Perkins, A. C., Cheng, C. E., Hillebrand, G. G., Miyamoto, K. & Kimball, A. B. Comparison of the epidemiology of acne vulgaris among Caucasian, Asian, Continental Indian and African American women. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 25, 1054–1060 (2011).
  9. Taylor, S. C. Epidemiology of skin diseases in ethnic populations. Dermatol Clin 21, 601–607 (2003).
  10. Alexis, A. F. & Lamb, A. Concomitant therapy for acne in patients with skin of color: a case-based approach. Dermatol Nurs 21, 33–36 (2009).
  11. Shah, S. K. & Alexis, A. F. Acne in skin of color: practical approaches to treatment. J Dermatolog Treat 21, 206–211 (2010).
  12. Ho, S. G. 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 Surg Med 43, 1–7 (2011).
  13. Taylor, S. C., Cook-Bolden, F., Rahman, Z. & Strachan, D. Acne vulgaris in skin of color. J Am Acad Dermatol 46, S98–106 (2002).
  14. Sanchez, M. R. Cutaneous diseases in Latinos. Dermatol Clin 21, 689–697 (2003).