Three Reasons Black People Should Be Careful Under the Sun
When we talk about skin cancer, we usually associate it with white, fair skin.
What would be your reaction if you were to learn that everybody, including people with dark skin and black people, should be cautious of the effects of the sun?
Today we are going to go over the three main reasons black people, and those with darker skin, should pay more attention to their skin, and take better care of it.
What are these reasons, and how is it that even though black people are less affected by skin cancer, they fare dramatically worse?
Here are the three reasons that answer this question:
First, as the Skin Cancer Foundation mentions in their article “Ask the Expert: Is There a Skin Cancer Crisis in People of Color?”, “there’s a lower public awareness overall of the risk of skin cancer among individuals of color”, meaning that we believe that only white people, the lighter the skin the easier, can get skin cancer, and black people just plain don’t know they can also get it and do nothing in the way of prevention!
Second, as the article continues, “from the perspective of health-care providers, there’s often a lower index of suspicion for skin cancer in patients of color, because the chances of it actually are smaller”, which means that when a black person goes to the doctor for their annual checkup, doctors may not pay the same attention to their skin as they would on a white or light-skinned person. What is even more worrying is the fact that people of color would be less likely to go for a full-body skin exam, under the false belief that they don’t need to pay much attention to their skin for signs of skin cancer.
Third, the last reason is that occurrences of skin cancer in black people are in locations that aren’t especially exposed to the sun, in hard to spot areas, like the sole of the feet. This means that if we don’t check our bodies for signs of skin cancer, chances of other people spotting them for us are very slim, close to null.
There is also a very important difference in the skin cancer warning signs that are different in skin of color (again from skincancer.com) “about half of Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCCs) in darker-skinned patients are brown, or pigmented, and thus easier to miss.”
Add to that difficulty the fact that educational materials focus on fair skin, you’ll see a “pink, pearly growth… What you’ll never see is an image of a brown, slightly translucent lesion.”
Now you have all the information and don’t know what to do with it, right?
There are two steps we need to take to minimize our risk of getting skin cancer: We need to pay attention to our skin and ask our doctors to perform a full-body scan, which is usually just a detailed visual inspection of our skin; and to protect our skin, especially the areas exposed to the sun when we are outside. Many products work, and you probably have your favorite. We have one, too, and would like to recommend it:
Dare to be Bald Head & Scalp broad-spectrum protection Sunscreen SPF 50. It’s been formulated specifically for people of color and with its SPF50 (Sun Protection Factor), protects the skin from the damaging effects of the sun, reducing the risk of skin cancer, and early skin aging.
As a side note, here is an explanation about SPF from the article “All About Sunscreen” published in cancer.com: “SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number tells you how long the sun’s UVB rays would take to redden your skin if you apply the sunscreen exactly as directed compared with the amount of time without sunscreen. So, if you use an SPF 30 product properly, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you used no sunscreen”.
Leave a comment if you have questions about the information in this article, or if you want to share your experience using Dare to be Bald SPF50.