Ethnic Skin and Hair

The generally accepted classification of race worldwide is as follows:ethnic

CAUCASIAN ' Generally people of European descent often called "white skinned"
MONGOLOID ' People with yellow toned skin e.g. the Chinese
NEGROID ' People of colour i.e. dark skinned e.g. Africans
CAPOID ' A new classification referring to the Bushmen due to their unique individual traits

AS we have a predominance of black people in South Africa this article will discuss problems specifically affecting skin and hair.



Research shows that there are 35 varying shades of darkness among people of African descent!!
Many have beautiful skins, the envy of their white counterparts and the term "Black is beautiful " has more meaning than purely for commercial reasons.

Firstly having a darker skin offers much better protection from ultra violet rays, which, as we know, cause a multitude of problems. The darker pigment produced in more abundant cells offers this protection. They certainly age less rapidly and it is often said that a black person can look 10 years younger than a white counterpart!

Black skins also appear to be slightly thicker and have far more of a natural glow than Caucasian skins.

Some problems experienced '

Stretch marks: [striae] are common to all races but do appear darker on ETHNIC skins.
Corns and callouses: due to a build-up of dry, rough skin, which can be removed.
Thick scarring: after healing [keloids] are a real problem often seen after deep skin damage and ear piercing. Surgically, these can be removed.
Pigmentation: there is no doubt that the darker the skin, the darker the marks left behind after healing [a common problem after acne has healed] termed hyper-pigmentation. At the other end of the spectrum is Hypo-pigmentation i.e. a lack of melanin pigment, an unfortunate problem manifesting as blotches of white, very obvious on black complexions [Think Michael Jackson!]
A person termed an albino usually has a total lack of pigment thus the pinkish-white skin. Another cause of pigmented skin is an imbalance of hormones frequently evident after pregnancy.


The ETHNIC skin has larger oil glands which produces more sebum, giving a shiny, oily appearance. The follicles out of which the sebum flows can be prone to bacterial invasion and the result being blackhead and pustular formation. Cleanliness of the skin is therefore a priority to avoid this occurring.
ETHNIC people, like all others can suffer from acne and the necessary medications should not be ignored


All human beings have 2 types viz Ecrine over the general body surface and apocrine, which develop during puberty and are situated under the armpits and in the genital area, which appear to be more active in the darker races. Research has shown that African people have a greater number of the latter. Sweat in itself does not smell, but once in contact with bacteria on the surface, that nasty odour results. Therefore immaculate hygiene must be practised at all times.


The majority of African people have dark, tight curly hair, having a spongy feel to it. It is naturally dry and has a "frizzy "appearance. Today's hair salons offer much expertise and solutions to ETHNIC hair problems.

In an area like the armpits this curved hair tends to become ingrown. Bacteria which enter can lead to nasty, pustular lesions in the pores. One solution is to regularly shave this hair or tweeze it out before a problem arises. The facial hair of African men can also be subjected to this ingrown problem. The first signs are usually the appearance of small "red lumps".

MATSIMELA offers such a wide range of products to deal with problems affecting all races.
For example, hard, horny skin responds well to soaking in bath crystals, followed by a good exfoliation with one of our mud scrubs and to complete this easy and economical home treatment a generous massage over the area with one of our heavenly fragranced body butters.