Why are Chinese people yellow?


Quick Answer

According to dermatologists, Chinese people have more carotene pigment, which gives their skin a yellow hue. Carotene is the same pigment that is found in egg yolks and yellow fruits and vegetables. In the skin, carotene concentration settles in the fatty areas and subcutaneous tissues.

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Full Answer

Melanin, carotene and hemoglobin in human skin dictate skin color. According to the Tech Museum of Innovation, melanin, located in the epidermis, is made up of melanocytes. The melanocytes produce an enzyme called tyrosinase. The amount of tyrosinase produced dictates tanning. The epidermis of fair-skinned people is translucent, so the hemoglobin also plays a role in skin color in Asian races. It gives off a red or pink hue. The proportion of hemoglobin to carotene produces varying degrees of skin tone. Chinese people have less melanocytes than dark-skinned people, so their skin color is influenced more by the yellow hues in their carotene since their hemoglobin production is low to moderate. The ratios of enzyme production and the resulting proportions of the three main skin pigments perpetuate the characteristic yellow hue in the Chinese population. Sun exposure and diet also have an impact on skin tone since both influence the balance and actions of amino acids in the body.

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