Here's why darker skin wrinkles later and less than lighter skin
By Carla Snuggs
There are a lot of factors that determine how soon and how severely we wrinkle as we age.
One of those factors is the color of our skin, and that’s because of the biological factors associated with how light or dark our skin is. People with darker skin wrinkle later and wrinkle less than those with lighter skin — but why?
One of the main reasons that those with darker skin seem to be luckier in the wrinkle department is the simple fact that the sun has a much lesser impact on their skin. That’s because of why darker skin even developed in the first place — it was an evolutionary development in people who lived in sunny environments near the equator.
If we look at our skin color, we can easily determine where our ancestors lived — the darker the skin, the closer to the equator. The lighter the skin, the further from the equator. That’s because we evolved over time to adapt to our environments.
Our ancestors who lived in environments with long winters and little sun exposure needed to be able to absorb vitamin D from the sun more readily, so their skin is light and allows in more sun. Those in sunnier environments needed the opposite — to restrict the amount of sun and harmful ultraviolet rays.
Darker skin is caused by a larger amount of melanin in the skin, which is a pigment that protects the skin from sun exposure. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin, and the more protected you are from the sun’s UV rays.
And because the sun has a lot to do with how your skin ages and wrinkles, this protection from the sun has a significant impact on your wrinkles (or lack thereof). Though people with darker skin still have some sun exposure, it’s much less than those with lighter skin.
In addition to the sun protection it offers, darker skin with more melanin also is structured differently than lighter skin with less melanin. Darker skin has larger pockets in skin cells for the melanin, which is a dense and sticky material.
This increase in melanin causes darker skin to also be a lot more dense, which can lend itself to preventing wrinkles just like the protection from the sun.
So melanin, as it turns out, is very useful in preventing wrinkles. But unfortunately for those of us with lighter skin, we can’t simply develop more melanin to prevent wrinkles.
And even those with darker skin can’t escape them — wrinkles happen to everyone, though their severity and how quickly they occur can differ depending on skin color. So if you hate wrinkles, here are a few things you can try to prevent them no matter what color your skin is:
Using an anti-wrinkle eye product and moisturizing skin regularly.
Using stronger sunscreen often and reapplying as necessary.
Maintaining a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and water.
- Resting facial muscles whenever possible.