The Sun & Your Skin
July 9, 2015
There is a misconception that skin of color is somewhat more immune to the affects of sun damage and skin cancer than lighter skin. Science proves that the sun affects everyone regardless of skin color. Melanoma was the reason behind the death of legendary Jamaican musician Bob Marley who dismissed a scar under his toenail as a soccer injury that later turned out to be cancer. Bob Marley’s death was a tragic wake up call to many people of color about the impact the sun has on all types of skin.
Individuals with dark skin have more melanin in their skin compared to those of lighter skin tones. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin and eyes their color, and also helps protect skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure such as skin cancer and aging. The more melanin you have in your skin the more protected you are; however the protection is minimal. Skin of color has a natural sun protective factor or SPF of 13.4 compared to 3.4 of fair skin. Therefore, skin of color is not totally protected. When signs of skin problems appear, many people dismiss them assuming they are freckles, moles, or scars (like Bob Marley). The best rule when it comes to the sun is “better safe than sorry”, early detection is key. Make sure you are conscious of your skin health always!