In 2005 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted approximately 25 cases of melanoma (skin cancer) for every 100,000 white Americans, compared to less than five cases per 100,000 people in Hispanic or Asian groups. Melanoma ratios were lesser for blacks and Native Americans. The use of sunscreen is recommended to block the UV rays from the sun that cause skin cancer. Based on the CDC statistics, one would think that an individual with dark skin (and the darker the better) has a lesser risk for skin cancer, so there’s no need to use sunscreen, right?
WRONG!! When discussing dark skin such as that of Africans, African Americans, Asians etc., one of the most widespread fallacies is that there’s no need to wear sunscreen if your skin is dark. This assertion cannot be further from the truth. While it is true that individuals with darker skin pigmentation have an increased measure of natural protection from the sun than those with lighter skin, no one is totally immune to the damage that the rays of the sun can cause.
Individuals with darker skin produce more of the chemical melanin, which causes their darker skin color and absorbs some of the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun; however they are not immune to sun damage. The sun’s rays infiltrate all skin types, causing harm to skin cells, which could lead to skin cancer. The University of Cincinnati research has shown that dark-skinned people are more likely to die from skin cancer than those with lighter skin. They report shows that the disease is typically more aggressive and diagnosed in its later stage for dark skinned individuals because they have a false sense of security which makes them less likely to take pre-emptive measures to prevent melanoma and they’re less likely to inquire as to whether they have skin cancer. Consequently, this translates into higher mortality rates because by the time they learn that they have skin cancer, it is typically in advanced stages where little can be done.
So how can you avoid skin cancer or other skin damage regardless of your complexion? By using sunscreen! Using sunscreen products with sun protection factor (SPF) filters out the sun’s dangerous rays to guard against cancer and other skin damage. The higher the SPF, the more rays you block, and the healthier your skin remains. Extreme sun contact can accelerate the skin’s aging process; using sunscreen can thwart wrinkles, sagging skin, and sun and age spots. In addition, sunscreen provides a defense against skin discoloration, especially for individuals with darker complexions. To decrease your risk of skin cancer avoid unnecessary sun exposure use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily, regardless of your skin color.