Sun Sense for Deep Skin Tones

Sun Sense for Deep Skin Tones

Listen up, all of you naturally bronzed beauties. You may be blessed with a sun-goddess-like-glow year-round, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on your daily SPF. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, many non-Caucasian women have the misconception that they are immune to the sun’s harmful rays. In fact, a recent study surveyed 65% of women with deep skin tones who said they felt they were not at risk for skin cancer[1]. But the reality is that for Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women, early detection of melanoma is just as important for you as it is for your fair-skinned friends.

Here are the alarming stats: Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and the chance for survival is increasingly grim as it advances. The 5-year survival rate for Black women with skin cancer is 78% versus 92% for White women[2]. And, the risk is increasing among Hispanics. In a nutshell, deeper skin tones have a lower risk for melanoma because they have more melanin, but because early warning signs are frequently overlooked the cases are more likely to be fatal at a later stage [3].

So, be smart about your sun and apply a broad spectrum sunscreen daily to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

Keep in mind, up to 75% of melanoma cases in darker skin tones appeared on the palms, soles of feet and under the finger and toe nails [4], so be sure to pay close attention to those areas. Read Self Exam: 5 Ways to Spot Skin Cancer and remember to check in with your derm once a year.


[1]1 Kim M, et al. Perception of skin cancer risk by those with ethnic skin. Arch Dermatol 2009; 145:207-8

[2] Wu XC, et al. Racial and ethnic variations in incidence and survival of cutaneous melanoma in the United States, 1999-2006. J AM Acad Dermatol 2011;65:S26-37



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