A phrase the young lady uses in the video, “Silence is cancer’s best friend” is an adept description of the problem.
Keeping symptoms of skin cancers to yourself is a form of silence, when professional help may be needed. Not sharing knowledge of dangers the sun holds for people of all colours is unwanted silence.
Misconceptions on sun damage and skin cancer exist across ethnicities, although as research demonstrates, there are differences:
The chart is from a 2023 study and shows similar data to research 20 years earlier. Perception remains low of the harm sun exposure can bring to black, or brown skin, with many people believing their skin colour brings protection.
The Reality Of Melanin
Skin tones vary within any colour but the protection dark skin gives is roughly equivalent to an SPF rating of 10. That’s a third of the minimum recommended level, without considering other needs.
A wide brimmed hat and sunglasses can shield all skin colours and vulnerable eyes. Protective clothing matters, along with time in the shade.
Higher levels of melanin in darker skin do help, yet not to the extent often believed. Skin cancer is rarer but is not a white disease, neither is dark skin exempt from a range of issues the sun can deliver.
Melasma, hyperpigmentation and discoloration are more common on darker skin. They can be worsened by sun exposure, as can acne, pimples, moles, or scarring and the effectiveness of treatment you receive.
Points above may be new for you, or you already understood them. Whichever the case, sharing them is important, to overcome misunderstanding.
The situation is not helped by marketing of sun protection products being focused on white skin, although thankfully this is changing.
Sunscreen has been developed for different skin tones, the ghostly look, or false sheen this could bring are now avoidable. Neither does sunscreen need to be expensive, or seen as an item you don’t need.
Using this yourself and encouraging others you know to take a rational approach to enjoying the sun will safeguard health.
Avoiding Deeper Issues
Protection for you, your family and friends makes sense and may prevent skin cancer. There can still be times when the sun’s UV rays win, the DNA in your skin is changed and over time and cancerous growths develop.
The welcome news is that almost all skin cancers can be cured without extensive intervention, if they are caught early. A point which isn’t helped if people think they can’t have skin cancer, because they have dark skin.
This is the reason skin cancer outcomes are worse for those with darker skin. They didn’t react as they should when finding an issue and diagnosis came late, leaving the prospect of a prompt cure less likely.
If you are able to, see a specialist in skin cancer treatment for darker skin. Or find a dermatologist wherever you are and they will help, far better than missing out on support due to feeling a problem can’t happen.