Are there ethnic differences in skin cleansing?

Beautiful Skin Image Gallery Skin tones can vary, but do they affect how the skin should be cleansed? See more pictures of beautiful skin.
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There are a lot of people in the world -- nearly 7 billion -- and the diversity among them is great [source: U.S. Census Bureau]. Although sometimes people who have different ethnic backgrounds might share similar in skin tones and textures, the differences usually are more noticeable. Because of this, there are differences in the way people of varying ethnicities must take care of their skin, including techniques for cleansing.

For example, people with dark skin tones, such as those of African descent, tend to have sensitive skin. To avoid irritation and excessive dryness, it can be a good idea to go easy on cleansing products containing abrasive exfoliants and chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide because they can be too harsh and can cause problems [source: Nordenberg]. The same can be true for Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and anyone else with darker skin. Some products targeted to clear up acne -- especially those with bleaching ingredients -- can temporarily lighten the skin, causing blotchy discoloration [source: American Academy of Dermatology].

However, in Caucasians and others with very light skin tones, cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can often be used to achieve a better skin tone and a smoother texture. Discoloration is less of a concern for them because light skin tones already have very little melanin, the pigment that gives skin and hair their color.

Just because two people have the same skin color, however, doesn't always mean that they will require the same treatment. People who share the same ethnicity may have different skin textures or skin conditions. Keep reading to discover ethnic differences in skin tone and texture and what can cause hyperpigmentation (dark spots) on certain skin types.