There is this ludicrous assumption that dark skin doesn't need sun protection. I cant tell you how many times I have been the subject of 'pecong' for walking with my umbrella in the "hot sun like a white lady". Not to mention the, "Oh! But you don' black already! You cant tan," comments that personifies ignorance.
The Caribbean heat is no joke but many take 'im fee eedyat!. I have been meaning to write this article for almost a year now, but recent events have made me sit and type.
Don't be fooled, black can crack with harmful UV rays.
Melanin is that pigment that gives our skin, hair and eyes their colour. Naturally dark-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than people with lighter skin. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes.
It provides some protection again skin damage from the sun, and the melanocytes increase their production of melanin in response to sun exposure.
Sadly, many black and brown people are of the assumption that melanin is what protects us from harmful UV rays. The truth is, melanoma cases have been on the rise in recent years. According to a skincancer.org article, with Andrew Alexis MD,MPH, one study found an average five-year melanoma survival rate of only 65 percent in black people versus 91 percent in white people.
According to an observational study
black people are four times more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stage melanoma and tend to succumb at a rate of 1.5 times more than white people with a similar diagnosis.
While chatting with some friends on the issue, I realized that they didn't know about sun screen until their mid 20's. It was assumed sun screen was not needed because, well... they are dark. I cannot remember seeing ads targeting anyone who wasn't of a fair complexion and in retrospect, many would have dismissed it as a 'white people thing'.
In addition to protecting from skin cancer, long unprotected exposure to the sun ages the skin.
A couple years ago I met a woman is a driver by profession. One side of her face was plump and the other side, darkened and sagged with premature wrinkles. She stated that she never thought about using sun screen and did not know sun exposure could do that to her skin. She reminded of the 69 year old truck driver, whos skin damage image went viral in 2012.
Even in places where you think the sun doesn't shine, you still need to apply it! Personally, I need to invest in a good sunscreen myself. My good friend Danielle introduced me to the Neutrogena spray sun screen and boy oh boy is it life!!!! Sun protection and a bomb-ass body glow? Yess please!!
On a serious note, in addition to wearing sunscreen, walk with an umbrella at all times and pop it open when you are exposed to the suns rays.
For the makeup wearers, check out the links below for good sunscreens you can use under your makeup.
Below, I have linked articles related to this topic, so you can get a more in-depth understanding of sun protection as it concerns dark skin: