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

Advertisement
Advertisement

Darker skin can get sunburned. It may be more difficult to see the immediate effects of a sunburn, but darker skin is negatively affected in the same way as lighter skin by the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Proper prevention of sunburn with sunscreen and protective clothing should be used by people with darker skin.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

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.

Dr. Marshelya D. Wilson, MD
Family Practitioner

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.

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.

YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

More About this Book

YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

Most people think that beauty revolves around such things as lipstick, sweet eyes, or skinny jeans -- all those things that we can see (and obsess over) in the mirror. But the fact is that beauty isn't some superficial pursuit, and it's not some random act that you can thank (or curse) your ancestors for.There are, in fact, scientific standards to beauty. Beauty is purposeful, because it's how humans have historically communicated who we are to potential mates. Beauty, in fact, is really about your health and happiness.In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz bust the myths and stereotypes about the way we view ourselves -- and how we define beauty. In these pages, you'll find out why beauty isn't as much about your vanity as it is about your humanity. The doctors take a scientific, informative, and entertaining look at the three levels of beauty and explain how they all work together to form a complete and authentic YOU. Those three levels of beauty are:Looking Beautiful: Your appearance influences your self-esteem and has major health implications. Here, the docs will tell you how you can look the way you want.Feeling Beautiful: So what if you have luscious lips or gorgeous locks if your joints creak and you have the energy of a rug? The docs will tell you how to improve your energy levels, beat back your life-altering aches and pains, and come to grips with some of life's toughest stresses.Being Beautiful: By improving your relationships with your loved ones as well as with others, you'll be well on your way to finding true happiness. That's the ultimate goal: Having all three levels of beauty working together so you can have a happy and healthy life.You'll start off by taking the ultra-revealing and validated YOU-Q Test to help you assess where you are on your own beauty scale and where you want to be. Take the test, see how well you do; then use the book to help you improve your score.With their usual candor and honesty, Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz break down the mechanics of beauty and explain how little adjustments in your routine can help you become a happier, healthier person. You will learn about the biology of beauty, take YOU Tests to determine where you are on the beauty scale, get tons of YOU Tips to help you improve your life, as well as learn the secrets of the Ultimate Beautiful Day.From hair to toenails, Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz go through every part of your body to explain how different foods, vitamins, creams, gels, and injections can really boost your looks. They scrutinize the beauty myths that bombard us every day and offer an unbiased perspective on which ones cause more harm than good. You will be able to revamp your beauty regimen (or start a new one from scratch). They'll also take a close look at chronic pain, mood swings, low energy, and financial stresses. And they'll dive into the science of building relationships, finding happiness, and using spirituality to help you define your own levels of true beauty.Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz act as tour guides navigating the tricky but exciting terrain of today's beauty industry. YOU: Being Beautiful is your all-inclusive ticket into the world -- the real world -- of beauty.

Continue Learning about Sun Care

Sun Care

Sun Care

Proper sun care is essential because of wrinkles and dangers like melanoma. Experts estimate that more than 90 percent of skin cancers stem from overexposure to tanning beds and the suns ultraviolet radiation. Wear protective clot...

hing and sunscreen outdoors, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the suns rays are strongest. Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply about 15 to 30 minutes before going outside, then reapply every two hours.
More

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.