Tomiko Fraiser – Photo Credit: Derek Blanks
I thought this was so very important to share because some men and women of color buy into the misconception that having dark skin (due to lots of melanin, the skin’s pigment) will protect them against premature signs of aging and skin cancer.
Of course, genetics play a huge role in how darker skin responds to environmental factors like the sun. People with darker skin tend to be more tolerant of the sun’s UV rays up to a point. That’s mainly because they need to spend longer periods in direct sunlight to naturally produce vitamin D.
For optimum vitamin D production, it’s recommended that people with light skin should get approximately 15 to 20 minutes of the sun per day, and people with dark skin should get 30-35 minutes per day. After that, it can become excessive. Of course, in order to make vitamin D, you cannot wear SPF. The key is to exercise prudence.
That said, it does not mean that spending excessive amounts of hours in the sun will result in no damage. Though the incident and death rates are higher among whites, Hispanics, and Asians/PI, blacks are more likely to go undiagnosed and untreated for longer periods.
O Magazine summed it up in a nutshell; “No one regardless of skin color is impervious to the dangers of the sun. While the risk of developing skin cancer is lower among African Americans, the disease is deadliest among this population. That’s because skin cancer often goes unnoticed until the more advanced stages. When treatment is more difficult. Protection and early detection are the keys to survival”
So yes, spend time soaking up the sun, but do so wisely, regardless of your race.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, health and wellbeing consultant and Qigong instructor. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo and more. She is the founder of Inside Outer Beauty Market, a multi-cultutal retailer curating and creating products to support the body inside and out. Visit the site at www.iobeautymarket.com