Skip to main content

Aging in Asian Skin

  • Living reference work entry
  • First Online:
Textbook of Aging Skin
  • 257 Accesses


Asian skin differs from Caucasian skin in both structure and physiology (Fig. 1). As a result of these distinctions, Asian skins with their darker pigmentation respond differently when exposed to ultraviolet light, lasers, and other light devices. This needs to be recognized by cosmetic surgeons and laser practitioners. Asian skins also exhibit alternate clinical manifestations of photoaging. As a result, Asian skins may benefit from skin treatments targeting different aging issues as compared to those affecting Caucasian skins. This chapter will review the biology of Asian skin and discuss a clinical approach to the aesthetic management of Asian skin.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Richards GM, Oresajo CO, Halder RM. Structure and function of ethnic skin and hair. Dermatol Clin. 2003;21(4):595–600.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Rawlings AV. Ethnic skin types: are there differences in skin structure and function? Int J Cosmet Sci. 2006;28(2):79–93.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Staricco RJ, Pinkus H. Quantitative and qualitative data on the pigment cells of adult human epidermis. J Invest Dermatol. 1957;28(1):33–45.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Goldschmidt H, Raymond JZ. Quantitative analysis of skin color from melanin content of superficial skin cells. J Forensic Sci. 1972;17(1):124–31.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Siegrid SY, Grekin RC. Aesthetic analysis of Asian skin. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am. 2007;15(3):361–5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Kotrajaras R, Kligman AM. The effect of topical tretinoin on photodamaged facial skin: the Thai experience. Br J Dermatol. 1993;129(3):302–9.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Fitzpatrick TB. The validity and practicality of sun reactive skin type I through VI. Arch Dermatol. 1988;124:869–71.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Liu W, Lai W, Wang XM, et al. Skin phototyping in a Chinese female population: analysis of four hundred and four cases from four major cities of China. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2006;22(4):184–8.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Choe YB, Jang SJ, Jo SJ, et al. The difference between the constitutive and facultative skin color does not reflect skin phototype in Asian skin. Skin Res Technol. 2006;12(1):68–72.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Gilchrest BA, Yaar M. Ageing and photoageing of the skin: observations at the cellular and molecular level. Br J Dermatol. 1992;127 Suppl 41:25–30.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Bernstein EF, Chen YQ, Kopp JB, et al. Long-term sun exposure alters the collagen of the papillary dermis: comparison of sun-protected and photoaged skin by northern analysis, immunohistochemical staining, and confocal laser scanning microscopy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1996;34(2 Pt 1):209–18.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Thornfeldt CR. Chronic inflammation is the etiology of extrinsic aging. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2008;7:78–82.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Chung JH, Lee SH, Youn CS, et al. Cutaneous photodamage in Koreans: influence of sex, sun exposure, smoking, and skin color. Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(8):1043–51.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Fisher GJ, Wang ZQ, Datta SC, et al. Pathophysiology of premature skin aging induced by ultraviolet light. N Engl J Med. 1997;337:1419–28.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Calderone DC, Fenske NA. The clinical spectrum of actinic elastosis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1995;32(6):1016–24.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Chung JH. Photoaging in Asians. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2003;19(3):109–21.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Nouveau-Richard S, Yang Z, Mac-Mary S, et al. Skin ageing: a comparison between Chinese and European populations. A pilot study. J Dermatol Sci. 2005;40(3):187–93.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Glocau RG. Aesthetic and anatomic analysis of the aging skin. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 1996;15(3):134–8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Griffiths CE, Goldfarb MT, Finkel LJ, et al. Topical tretinoin (retinoic acid) treatment of hyperpigmented lesions associated with photoaging in Chinese and Japanese patients: a vehicle-controlled trial. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1994;30(1):76–84.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Feng Y, Zhao J, Gold MH. Skin rejuvenation in Asian skin: the analysis of clinical effects and basic mechanisms of intense pulsed light. J Drugs Dermatol. 2008;7(3):273–9.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Glogau RG. Physiologic and structural changes associated with aging skin. Dermatol Clin. 1997;15(4):555–9.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Bolognia JL. Aging skin. Am J Med. 1995;98(1A):99S–103.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Sydney R. Coleman, Rajiv Grover. The anatomy of the aging face: volume loss and changes in 3-dimensional topography. Aesthet Surg J. 2006;26(1):S4–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Matsuoka LY, Wortsman J, Haddad JG, Kolm P, Hollis BW. Racial pigmentation and the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D. Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(4):536–8.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Low Chai Ling .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

About this entry

Cite this entry

Ling, L.C. (2015). Aging in Asian Skin. In: Farage, M., Miller, K., Maibach, H. (eds) Textbook of Aging Skin. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-642-27814-3

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference MedicineReference Module Medicine

Publish with us

Policies and ethics