Q

Sun Care

Do African Americans and people with dark skin need to use sunscreen?

A Answers (3)

  • A , Internal Medicine, answered

    African-Americans and people with dark skin have a natural SPF 16 UV protection, although dark skin blocks vitamin D3 production even more. So darker-skinned people require 10 to 20 times the sun exposure length (which equates to about two hours of exposure) than lighter-skinned people to build up the same amount of vitamin D. While dark skin does offer this SPF protection, it's not enough to protect the skin fully so African Americans and people with dark skin should still use sunscreens when they'll be in the sun for prolonged periods.

  • A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    It's true that dark skin is higher in the pigment melanin than light skin, which can provide some protection against skin cancer and aging. This is why fair-skinned people are more likely to get a sunburn, and to get skin cancer, than dark-skinned people. Yet it's possible for everyone, no matter how dark their skin color, to get both sunburns and skin cancer. African Americans should wear a broad-spectrum, UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 whenever they go outside. For more information about sun protection, consult a dermatologist.

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

    2 people found this helpful.
  • A , Family Medicine, answered

    It has become a misconception that African Americans do not need to use sunscreen. Many believe that African-American skin has melanin which provides adequate protection. This is only partially true. Melanin does provide protection but only minimally, about an SPF 15. Ultraviolet rays still have the potential to damage skin and lead to often-undiagnosed skin cancers. African Americans do need to protect their skin with sunscreen, at least SPF 30.

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.
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