Calling all melanin Kings and Queens, class is in session! With the recent change of weather, a product you should definitely be investing in is sunscreen. I’m sure that most of you believe/ believed that for people of colour, sunscreen is a waste of time and money.
When it comes to sunscreen, we as people of colour don’t realize the health benefits of wearing sunscreen simply because this particular subject is not something that is emphasized enough in our communities.
Many of us have heard, or said the phrase “I’m black, I don’t need sunscreen.” This generalization can be extremely harmful due to the fact that black people as a whole vary in skin tone, our skin colours are on a spectrum from very light to very dark.
Black people on the lighter end of the spectrum are at higher risk of suffering from issues such as skin cancer, where as those of us with darker skin tones are less likely to face such problems. It is important to note, this doesn’t mean that just because you are not light in complexion, you will never struggle with skin cancer or sun damage. The sun doesn’t care how you identify, and being darkskin will not make you immune to the damage it can do.
Fun fact, melanoma is a dark pigmented, usually malignant tumor. This is one of the diseases which can occur upon failure to protect your skin when in direct sunlight.
Although black people have fewer cases of melanoma, the death rate is higher in comparison to the other races. This is mainly because as people of colour, we don’t take the issue of skin cancer as seriously as we should. As a result melanoma tends to be detected in it’s much later, crucial stages.
Brown and black people often experience post inflammatory hyper pigmentation, dark spots and discolouration more than someone with a lighter skin tone would. If you are not wearing sunscreen as much as possible, if not everyday then you are allowing your dark spots to get even darker!
Without the use of sunscreen, it can take up to a year for you dark spots to fade, because post inflammatory hyper pigmentation occurs when melonocytes (melanin cells) go into n overdrive and begin to darken the skin around the area of trauma. Now when you combine that with sun exposure and the lack of sunscreen results in darker dark spots.
From this point onwards, disregard any myths and common misconceptions which led you to believe that just because you are more melanin infused, sun exposure will not affect you. Skin cancer exists and doesn’t discriminate, all skin types and tones are at risk without SPF protection.