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J Dermatol Sci. 2009 Feb;53(2):135-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2008.08.008. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Ethnic differences in the structural properties of facial skin.

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  • 1Kao Corporation Biological Science Laboratories, 2606 Akabane, Ichikai-Machi, Haga-Gun, Tochigi 321-3497, Japan.



Conspicuous facial pores are one type of serious aesthetic defects for many women. However, the mechanism(s) that underlie the conspicuousness of facial pores remains unclear. We previously characterized the epidermal architecture around facial pores that correlated with the appearance of those pores.


A survey was carried out to elucidate ethnic-dependent differences in facial pore size and in epidermal architecture.


The subjects included 80 healthy women (aged 30-39: Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics and African Americans) living in Dallas in the USA. First, surface replicas were collected to compare pore sizes of cheek skin. Second, horizontal cross-sectioned images from cheek skin were obtained non-invasively from the same subjects using in vivo confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and the severity of impairment of epidermal architecture around facial pores was determined. Finally, to compare racial differences in the architecture of the interfollicular epidermis of facial cheek skin, horizontal cross-sectioned images were obtained and the numbers of dermal papillae were counted.


Asians had the smallest pore areas compared with other racial groups. Regarding the epidermal architecture around facial pores, all ethnic groups observed in this study had similar morphological features and African Americans showed substantially more severe impairment of architecture around facial pores than any other racial group. In addition, significant differences were observed in the architecture of the interfollicular epidermis between ethnic groups.


These results suggest that facial pore size, the epidermal architecture around facial pores and the architecture of the interfollicular epidermis differ between ethnic groups. This might affect the appearance of facial pores.

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