Home Health Should dark-skinned people wear sunscreen? Breaking the myths.

Should dark-skinned people wear sunscreen? Breaking the myths.

Should dark-skinned people wear sunscreen?  Breaking the myths.

Sunscreen seems like an obvious skin protectant as extreme weather heats up the world with record temperatures. But according to a Consumer Reports survey, 61% of Black people and 23% of Latinos said they have never worn sunscreen, believing melanin provides natural protection.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects your skin from the sun’s UVA (aging) and UVB (burns) rays. This type of sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer, sunburn and premature skin aging. The sunscreen should have an SPF of 30 or higher – and yes, you still need sunscreen on a cloudy day to protect you from the ultraviolet rays that penetrate the clouds.

“UV is a known carcinogen,” said Dr. Ali Hendi, a dermatologist, surgeon and clinical assistant professor at Georgetown University Hospital, told Yahoo News. “We need the sun to survive, and our planet needs it. But it increases my risk of skin cancer, and as much as I want to be outside, I have to protect myself.”

Lurii Krasilnikov/Getty Images

Although black people are less likely to develop skin cancer, a new study from the American Academy of Dermatology found that black men, with a 52% survival rate, were more likely to die from it than any other racial group. But Dr. Andrew Alexis, professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and president of the Skin of Color Society, pointed out that the sun is not the only factor in the diagnosis and prognosis of skin cancer.

“One of the possible causes of the higher death rates from melanoma, especially in black men, and one of the reasons we see a lower five-year survival rate and a tendency to be diagnosed at a later stage, is that melanoma occurs in highly pigmented people. skin types tend to be in areas that are less often looked at, like the sole of the foot or the palm of the hand, or the nail bed,” Alexis told Yahoo News.

Hendi highlighted the fact that the African American and Latino communities and the physicians who treat them do not always have melanoma on their radar, leading to delayed diagnosis.

“Often their melanoma is noticed at a much later stage than in someone who is white. And their doctors know that [Caucasians are] are at risk, making them more likely to use sunscreen,” Hendi continued.

Here are a few myths dermatologists hope to dispel for dark-skinned people as millions experience the effects of dangerous heat.

Myth: Dark-skinned people don’t get skin cancer

“Regardless of our natural skin color or skin tone, everyone is susceptible to skin cancer, including skin cancer which can be a risk factor for UV exposure from the sun,” said Alexis.

“There is low public awareness of the risk of skin cancer in people of color, and there is low public awareness of the tendency for skin cancer to occur in a variety of locations, not just in areas frequently exposed to the sun.”

The dermatologists said that while melanin provides protection, it is not absolute.

“It doesn’t make you completely immune to the harmful effects of the sun, but it does reduce the risk to some extent,” Alexis said.

“You are still at risk, and the more UV exposure you have, the greater your risk,” Hendi added.

Myth: Darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen or sun protection

Leo Patrizi/Getty Images

Hendi emphasized the need for people of all skin types to protect their skin from the sun’s ultraviolet ray emissions and for overall skin health.

“Everyone would benefit from sunscreen, not only for skin cancer prevention, but also from an anti-aging perspective,” he said.

In addition to applying sunscreen, Hendi suggests that people seek shade during peak sun hours. He also advises people to wear protective clothing and sunglasses with UV protection to protect their skin.

Alexis emphasized the importance of being able to find the right sunscreen for one’s skin tone that doesn’t leave a visible white cast, an issue that can be a barrier to wearing sunscreen.

“For years, options were limited for cosmetically elegant formulations that would be applicable to people with richly pigmented skin,” he said. “But many of today’s newer formulations are suitable for all skin types. The options we have now are suitable for the vast majority of skin types.”

Myth: Sunscreen causes cancer

Hendi says we apply such small amounts of sunscreen that the risk is “theoretical.”

“If you’re concerned about the carcinogens and chemicals in sunscreen, you can always use mineral sunscreens, and those mineral sunscreens are composed of zinc or titanium dioxide. So these are physical sunscreens that are not absorbed through the skin, and they are not carcinogens. They stay on the surface of your skin.”

Myth: Dark-skinned people don’t get sunburned

“Having a history of intense sun exposure, including sunburn, is associated with a higher risk of skin cancer in general,” Alexis said. “I have seen different types of skin cancer, whether basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma, in patients from all different backgrounds and skin types. Basal cell carcinomas in particular are very closely linked to sun exposure, regardless of skin type.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Exit mobile version