SmartShield Your Skin and the Sun

Black People and Sunburn
When you think of sunburn, you typically think of a pale, freckled person, not someone with black skin. But people with black skin can get a sunburn right along side their friend with pale skin. It’s true! Sure, it isn’t as easy to get a sunburn if you have dark skin verses fair skin, but the risk is still there. sun safety tips

The risk of sunburn has to do with the melanin in your skin. Dermatologists rank all of us in a skin pigment level depending on your melanin level. Melanin is the pigment in your hair, skin and eyes that give color. Those with lighter
Black People and Skin Cancer
Another myth is that people with black skin cannot get skin cancer. This is flat-out wrong. There are multiple types of skin cancer, and yes, having black skin does make you less likely to get some of them, but you might be surprised to know that while it is rare for black people to get melanoma, those who do have it are more likely to die or get further complications from the disease. Did you know Bob Marley died of melanoma?

Typically melanoma shows itself on areas of the body that get regular sun exposure, but melanoma tends to show up in less-typical places in those with darker skin tones, such as the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and the fingernail bed.

Because of the misconception that black people can’t get skin cancer and because people aren’t informed that melanoma can arise in atypical locations in black skin, people are diagnosed later. Melanoma is a cancer that spreads and can be deadly.

If you have black skin, please don’t assume you’re risk of skin cancer is zero. Regularly check your skin and see a doctor if something looks or feels different.