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Why are dark-skinned people at lower risk for skin cancer?

The melanin pigment in dark skin acts like a weak sunscreen, although it blocks more UVB than UVA. This doesn’t mean that people with dark skin, such as African Americans, and Native Americans, are immune to skin cancer. They’re not, and their skin’s inherent screen isn’t nearly strong enough to keep them safe. This mistaken belief helps explain why skin cancer is often diagnosed so late in dark-skinned people, making it much harder to cure.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

A body produces melanin, the pigment in skin, after it spends time in the sun as a defense mechanism. Dark-skinned people have a higher concentration of melanin to begin with, meaning they have a stronger defense. But this doesn't make people with dark complexions immune to skin cancer. In fact, skin cancer is often caught late in African Americans, resulting in a higher fatality rate.

Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing to safeguard your skin from the sun's harmful rays.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.