Latino people, just like every other ethnic group, suffer from acne at a high rate.1-5However, 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 Investigation 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
What is Different About Latino Skin
People with Latino skin experience a higher occurrence of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.6,9-12This 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 Acne.org 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
How to Treat Acne in Latino Skin
Treatments for acne are consistent no matter the ethnicity of the skin. There is a regimen based on benzoyl peroxide here on Acne.org 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 Bottom Line
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.