Let’s clarify… no matter your skin tone, you need sun protection! There is the myth that darker skin tones don’t need protection from the sun, but although sun damage may not be as noticeable on darker skin tones as on fairer skin, the UV rays of the sun can still cause damage, as well as skin cancer.
“It is a misconception that the darker your skin the safer you are from sun damage and skin cancer,” offers Alexa Wilding, senior brand manager for Everysun. “Unprotected skin will be affected by the sun, no matter the skin tone. Although, red, sunburnt skin is more visible on fairer skin, all skin types need to be protected when out in the sun.”
When the skin absorbs the UV rays an increase in activity and number of melanocytes occurs and causes a brown pigment called melanin. Melanin helps to block out the damaging UV rays, but only up to a point. Due to this, darker skin tones are less likely to get sunburnt, and although sunburns can increase the chance of skin cancer, exposure to the sun’s UV rays can also increase the risk of cancer without causing sunburn.
A 2016 study showed that although skin cancer was more prevalent in people with fairer skin tones, it didn’t discount those with darker skin tones. In fact, the study proved that fatalities from this type of cancer was higher in darker skin toned people, due to them only being diagnosed much later into their illnesses. It is important to check on a regular basis for any skin abnormalities and consult a dermatologist should anything unusual be detected.
“Being safe in the sun, especially over the summer months, should be a priority. Using and applying your sunscreen in the morning before leaving the house, and topping up during the day, especially if taking part in activities such as swimming and exercising, should be part of your daily routine,” explains Wilding. “A high SPF should be used to give you the best protection, no matter your skin tone, and those with sensitive skin should look for a product that offers suitable protection for them.”
A great way to judge the sun damage that can be caused to your type of skin tone is to use the Fitzpatrick scale, developed by a dermatologist in 1975 to determine how a person’s skin will react to sun exposure:
Type 1: ivory skin that always freckles and burns, does not tan
Type 2: fair to pale skin that burns and peels often, and tans minimally
Type 3: fair to beige skin that occasionally burns, sometimes tans
Type 4: light brown or olive skin that rarely burns, tans easily
Type 5: brown skin that rarely burns, tans easily and darkly
Type 6: dark brown or black skin that rarely burns, always tans.
Types one to three have the greatest sunburn risk, while types four and six have a lower risk but can still occasionally burn. However, all types need to protect their skin with sun protection during the day, throughout the year.
The Everysun range offers complete sun protection for all skin types. Together with its family lotion and sensitive skin lotion all outdoor activities this summer will be enjoyed with the added protection of Everysun.
For more follow Everysun on Instagram: @everysun_sa or Facebook: @everysunsa