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"It’s fine for African Americans to spend time in the sun, provided they are protected with SPF 30," Solomon said.“African American people often think that because they have more melanin that they have ‘natural sunscreen.' That places them in grave danger.”- DR. SHEEL DESAI SOLOMON

“No matter how thick those overcast clouds look in the winter, up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can still penetrate them,” she explained. “Everyone must protect his or her skin from the sun. While darker skin does not burn as easily, it’s the damage you can’t see right away that is particularly worrisome.”
That damage from the sun can come in many forms, from hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, dark spots, sunburns and even cancers.
“African American people often think that because they have more melanin that they have ‘natural sunscreen,’” Solomon said. “That places them in grave danger because it’s not enough to completely ward off the threat of skin cancer, no matter how dark their skin may be.”

“We all say, ‘Black don’t crack.’ But we can take care of our Black even more with very simple steps in our skincare.”

Does Black truly not crack?

Image result for angela bassettThere’s a widespread belief that Black skin is immune to the ravages of time, and that melanin protects faces and bodies from aging and environmental harm. The phrase “Black don’t crack” has become something of a motto and a myth in the Black community, a phenomenon seen on the faces of stars like 60-year-old Angela Bassett and 94-year-old Cicely Tyson.
Is this true? Does Black skin have special healing and protective properties?
“While there is some truth in this old adage, Black skin still does show aging in the skin through a more mottled appearance, plus hyper pigmentation, age spots and small pigments,” Solomon explained.
“If you go your whole life without wearing sunscreen, your skin is going to look pretty close to cracked eventually,” Chaplin added.

Can Black people get skin cancer?

Image result for BLACK SKIN AND CANCER
Short answer: Also yes.
“People who have dark skin tones often believe they’re not at risk for skin cancer, but that is a dangerous misconception. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of race,” Solomon shared.
There are three common types of skin cancer. Melanoma is the most dangerous and the most likely to grow and spread. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are also common and usually occur in sun-exposed areas of the skin, but they are much less dangerous. Plus, Black people (and everyone else) are at risk of developing other rare forms of skin cancer that are difficult to diagnose and treat.
Take the case of Mylah Howard, for instance. When she was starting college in the fall of 2011, she noticed some abnormalities in her brown skin.
“I started to notice these white circles all over my body and they were spreading,” Howard, now 27 and living in Atlanta, told HuffPost. “I was looking like a little Dalmatian with these white spots on my brown skin. At first I didn’t think anything of it, doctors told me it was a sunburn.”
After several trips to different dermatologists across the country, Howard was eventually diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare cancer that affects the skin. Howard underwent over a year of radiation therapy and is currently in remission, but will never be cured of the disease.
While skin cancer is very rare in African Americans (and cancer like Howard’s is even rarer), Black people are more likely to die from cancer once they have contracted it. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the overall melanoma survival rate for African Americans is only 65 percent, versus 91 percent for Caucasians. This disparity, according to dermatologists like Solomon, is simply because of late detection and many Black Americans’ lack of awareness about skin diseases and the effects of sun exposure.



  1. I enjoyed your work and the manner in which you presented this article on sunscreen . For us, it is a beneficial and useful paper. Thank you for sharing this story.
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