Individual responses of human skin to the environmental stress are determined by differences in the anatomy and physiology that are closely linked to the genetic characteristics such as pigmentation. Ethnic skin phenotypes can be distinguished based on defined genotypic traits, structural organization and compartmentalized sensitivity to distinct extrinsic aging factors. These differences are not only responsible for the variation in skin performance after exposure to damaging conditions, but can also affect the mechanisms of drug absorption, sensitization and other longer term effects. The unique characteristics of the individual skin function and, particularly, of the ethnic skin type are currently considered to shape the future of clinical and pharmacologic interventions as a basis for personalized skincare. Individual approaches to skincare render a novel and actively growing area with a range of biomedical and commercial applications within cosmetics industry. In this review, we summarize the aspects of the molecular and clinical manifestations of the environmental stress on human skin and proposed protective mechanisms that are linked to ethnic differences and pathophysiology of extrinsic skin aging. We subsequently discuss the possible applications and translation of this knowledge into personalized skincare.