One of the worst skin myths out there is that only pale skin is susceptible to sun damage and the physical effects, such as dark spots, wrinkling, and skin cancer. However, this is not true at all. While pale skin more easily burns from the sun and may appear to be more damaged, skin tones of all levels and depths can be damaged by the sun without protection against UVA and UVB rays.
In fact, a new study has just revealed what skin tone is the most susceptible to hyperpigmentation and it isn’t fair skin. Latin skin is the most prone to hyperpigmentation because this skin tone produces more pigment in response to trauma, such as sun damage. It’s important for Latin women to be safe with their skin, as breakouts and sunburns can easily damage skin.
This is just one of many examples that go to show that all women, no matter what their skin tone, needs to be cautious and take good care of their skin. Remember, the sun doesn’t discriminate. UVA and UVB rays penetrate skin the same way. The difference is that the darker the skin tone, the higher level of natural SPF. While Caucasian skin only has a natural SPF of 3.4, African American skin has 13.4. However, talk to any dermatologist and they will recommend wearing a minimum SPF of 30.
Just because darker skin tends to not burn as much as fairer skin, Latino and African American skin can still get skin cancer. When women with darker skin don’t wear sunscreen and UV wear because they assume they’re protected, they are putting themselves at risk for developing skin cancer. In fact, some ethnicities are at a higher risk for certain types of skin cancer. Darker-skinned people have a greater chance of getting acral lentiginous melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma is more common among African Americans and Asian Indians. Latinas, Chinese, and Japanese Asians are more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.
All women need to take good care of their skin, no matter how fair or dark-skinned they are. Even though it’s winter now, remember to follow these skin steps:
- On your face, wear a face sunscreen with SPF 30 or above and an eye cream with at least SPF 30
- When outdoors, wear UV wear to protect your body
- Twice a week, gently exfoliate your skin
- Once a week, apply a face mask
- Once a year, visit your dermatologist for an annual skin check-up, paying close attention to any moles or dark spots you may have