On the subject of skin protection from the sun, there’s something of a misconception in circulation that if a person has a darker skin tone, they have no need to wear sunscreen for face. Further to that, there are some out there that think darker skin is not susceptible to sunburn, but this couldn’t be more removed from the truth.
While there is a little truth to this way of thinking, in that darker skin has more natural protection against UV rays when compared to light skin, it’s a long way from being immune from its effect.
Let’s have a look at the science…
If you’re an African American, Asian or a member of the Hispanic community, you’re naturally going to have skin that produces more melanin. This is what gives the skin it’s darker color, something that allows it to absorb more of the damaging UV rays that come from the sun.
The fact is though, that even the darkest skin tones only have a representative SPF protection of around 13, meaning that sunscreen for the face is still very much needed, as it is on the rest of the body. This protection is around double that of someone with caucasian or fair skin.
SPF ratings are based on the duration that it takes for unprotected skin to become burnt by UV rays, with the figure rising, depending on the protection provided. Each SPF point can be multiplied by 10 minutes to get to the time it would take to burn. So, the SPF 13 we mentioned a moment ago, means that the darkest skin tones will still burn after 130 minutes (2 hours 10 mins).
Sunscreen Needed For Everyone
If you listen to what the experts are saying, everyone needs to wear sunscreen for face, as well as sunscreen for the body and use a factor 30 at the least. Of course, darker skinned people will take longer to burn, but eventually, they do too and when that happens, they can get the same damage, like wrinkles, lines, sun spots and at worst, cancer.
Studies also show that darker skinned people are more likely to die from skin cancer than caucasians, partly because of a false sense of security that having this skin tone brings. This leads to protection not being used and the full force of the sun being able to hit the skin’s surface.
Skin cancer is also harder to spot on darker skin, meaning that it will often be in much more advanced stages when it’s treated.
Always Use Sunscreen For Face & Body
The truth is that dark skin does have an innate barrier against the sun’s rays, but that shouldn’t be considered to be an impervious one. Every type of skin will burn in the sun and it’s only a question of how long it takes to do so. Sunburn and other associated issues may be harder to see on dark skin, but they’re still and they present every bit as much risk as they do when talking about lighter skin tones.
So, no matter who you are or where you’re from, always wear sunscreen in the sun. Fail to do so and it’s only going to cause you problems, be they minor or indeed, life-threatening.