Changes in appearance and physical structure naturally occur as a person ages. However, people from certain racial backgrounds may find that they age in different ways from other racial groups.

As a person ages, they may notice that they develop wrinkles, or sagging skin. However, people of different racial groups can age differently. Certain racial groups may not develop deep wrinkles, whereas others may develop wrinkles at earlier ages.

It is important to mention that different people may have different cultural standards of beauty. A person should not fear aging and the changes it brings to their appearance, as aging is a natural part of human life.

This article will go into detail on how different racial groups age, as well as how to reduce the signs of aging.

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. For the purposes of this article, we use “male” and “female” to refer to a person’s sex assigned at birth. Learn more.

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Different cultures of the world have different standards of beauty. What people from one culture find attractive, another culture may not.

Beauty standards can be harmful. If a person does not fit the mold of what the people around them consider “beautiful” in their culture, they may develop low self-esteem or body issues.

It is also important to remember that, despite certain generalizations, all people age in their own way. Just because someone belongs to a certain racial group does not mean they will definitely age in a certain way.

Physical characteristics differ between different racial groups. Physical differences between racial groups include:

  • skin color
  • eye color
  • hair color and type
  • height

Genetically, all humans are 99.9% identical. The remaining 0.1% of a person’s genetic makeup is what makes them unique.

However, researchers have come to the conclusion that race is a social construct rather than a biological one. In fact, genetic variation is greater within racial groups than between them.

Exposure to the sun can cause a person to experience sun damage over time. Sun damage can cause photoaging, which is premature aging of the skin due to the sun. Photoaging can cause:

  • course and fine wrinkling
  • darker and lighter spots on the skin
  • rough skin textures
  • broken blood vessels on the surface of the skin
  • yellowing or browning of the complexion

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) may be less likely to experience the effects of sun damage than white people. This is because white people can have less melanin in their skin. Melanin is a pigment that gives a person’s skin, hair, and eyes their color. Melanin can also help to block harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.

BIPOC also have a thicker dermis, which is the second layer of a person’s skin. A thicker dermis can help to prevent damage from the sun.

Melanin and a thick dermis can only protect skin from the sun to a certain degree. BIPOC can also receive sun damage to their skin.

Researchers from the journal Dermatologica Sinica noted that people with dark skin experience five times less UVA skin penetration than people with lighter skin.

A 2016 study on aging skin in different racial groups found that Chinese females developed wrinkles from sun damage 10 years later than white females. However, Chinese and Japanese females developed more pigmented spots than the white females in the study.

Learn about sunburn on dark skin here.

Connective tissue provides functional and structural support to a person’s skin. Connective tissue contains collagen, which helps the skin stay firm, supple, and elastic. As a person ages, collagen levels decline, leading to thin, structurally weak skin. Loss of collagen can also contribute to wrinkles.

Research from 2016 noted that Black people tend to have a beneficial arrangement of collagen in their skin. Collagen bundles in Black skin are more compact and arranged in a way that helps to maintain structural integrity and youthful appearance for longer than white skin.

Asian skin has a thicker dermis than white skin, meaning it contains more collagen. Research from 2019 noted that Asian females may not notice wrinkles until they reach their 50s.

Loss of connective tissue will not occur at the same speed for all people in these racial groups. For example, an Asian person may find they develop wrinkles in their 30s.

See the benefits of collagen supplements here.

As a person ages, they may find their facial structure changes. Structural changes due to aging can be the result of:

  • a loss of fat
  • bone reabsorption
  • redistribution of soft tissue

Fat can be lost from the temple, cheeks, and chin, leading to a narrowing and lengthening of the forehead. The body also reabsorbs bone at a faster rate than it creates it as a person ages. This can lead to the weakening of bones.

In Black people, facial changes due to age are more likely to occur around the eyes and middle of the face than the forehead. This can result in:

  • fullness of the upper eyelids
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • development of jowls
  • loss of lip volume

As Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx people age, their facial structure may change in the following ways:

  • thickening and drooping of midcheek area
  • more-prominent lines developing from the sides of the nose to the sides of the mouth
  • eyebrow and eyelid drooping
  • puffy, baggy lower eyelids

Learn how to gain weight on the face here.

Aging skin can develop certain spots or blemishes. Photoaging can also cause a person to develop spots of pigmentation on their skin. Sun damage can also cause yellowing, browning, or roughness of the skin.

Asian females are more likely to develop pigmentation from sun damage than white females. People with dark skin are also likely to develop:

  • lighter and darker spots on the skin
  • dermatosis papulosa nigra, a condition that causes harmless skin-colored growths to develop on the skin
  • seborrheic keratoses, which are harmless wart-like skin growths
  • solar lentigines, which are harmless patches of darker skin

People who have dark skin are more likely to develop dyspigmentation as they age. Dyspigmentation is a change in the pigmentation of a person’s skin. Dyspigmentation can result in patches of lighter or dark skin developing.

Research from the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that white, Asian, Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx, and Black people may develop skin darkening as they age.

Learn more about age spots here.

The most important way a person can limit age-related changes is by wearing sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen can help prevent premature skin aging, such as wrinkles and age spots. Sunscreen is also an important barrier against skin cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) also recommends the following steps to prevent premature aging:

  • Use fake tan instead of sunbeds or lying in the sun.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent wrinkles developed by squinting.
  • Avoid repetitive facial expressions.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Reduce alcohol intake where necessary.
  • Increase exercise where necessary.
  • Cleanse skin gently.
  • Wash the face twice a day and after sweating heavily.
  • Apply facial moisturizer daily.
  • Avoid irritating skincare products.

Additionally, the AAD recommends that a person speaks with a dermatologist if they are concerned about aging skin. There are various treatments available that can help to smooth wrinkles or tighten skin.

Learn how to get rid of undereye wrinkles here.

Aging is a natural occurrence. However, how a person ages may change depending on their racial group.

Certain racial groups are more likely to develop wrinkles at a later stage than others. Other racial groups may be more prone to sagging skin or age spots.

However, how a person ages is not necessarily dependent on their race. A person will age in their own way, regardless of their racial background.

There are various ways that a person can prevent premature aging. If a person is concerned about their aging skin, they can speak with a dermatologist.