You Can Prevent Skin Cancer

It’s a popular myth that skin-of-color is immune to skin cancer. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, the more melanin your skin has, the more built-in protection your skin has against the sun’s harmful rays; but this doesn’t mean that you can’t develop skin cancer. So, let’s discuss 8 tips to prevent skin cancer in skin-of-color.

1. Understand how melanin works in helping to prevent skin cancer in skin-of-color

As mentioned above, melanin provides skin-of-color with a certain level of natural sun protection. When your skin is exposed to the sun, the skin’s first defense is to absorb the UV rays it is exposed to in an effort to stop excessive UV absorption. UVB rays penetrate the outer layer of your skin and may cause you to have a tan.

Tanning is the skin’s way of preventing excessive UV absorption. However, melanin can’t absorb all of the UV rays.  Additional sun exposure can lead to sunburn and other sun damage from UVA rays that permeate the deeper layers of your skin. This can cause cell damage and the mutations that create the conditions for skin cancer to develop.

2. Cover your skin with the proper clothing

One of the ways to prevent skin cancer in skin-of-color is to cover-up when you’re in the sun. Many clothing brands have lightweight, breathable, SPF rated clothing that is both stylish and protective.  

3. Limit exposure to direct sun

Everyone loves a day at the beach or park. Have fun and be smart. Set up your day at the beach or park under a tree, umbrella or other built-in structure designed to provide a respite from the sun. Limiting direct sun exposure will prevent unnecessary damage to your skin.

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4. Wear sunscreen everyday

Many believe that because our skin has some level of built-in sun protection, sunscreen is unnecessary. We hope you’re not one of the many. This simply isn’t true. We need to wear sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher every day to protect our skin against sun damage. You’re probably thinking you don’t like wearing sunscreen because of the unsightly white cast it creates on our skin; but there are sunscreen options that go on clear that can be worn every day.

Look for a good mineral sunscreen rather than a chemical sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens, protect against the sun’s harmful rays better than chemical sunscreens because they reflect the sun’s harmful rays rather than absorbing them into your skin. They are also less likely to irritate your skin if it is acne-prone or sensitive. Mineral sunscreens contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  

5. Do regular skin checks

Check your skin monthly. If you see anything unusual, see a dermatologist that is well-versed in skin-of-color to be sure you have not developed skin cancer. Look for changes in texture and color in new or existing moles or birthmarks.

As people of color age, we develop new moles. Moles are areas on your skin where pigment and cells have condensed. These are typically seen around your eyes and cheeks.  They are harmless and very common. However, they can easily be overlooked and not identified as melanomas that have changed in shape, size, or color.  

6. Avoid indoor tanning

Tanning beds are a great way to get a tan in a hurry. These types of tans also last longer than tanning sprays. However, the ultra violet radiation generated by tanning beds is 2-3 times stronger than the sun’s rays. Also, tanning bed usage increases the likelihood of developing skin cancer by 75%. 

7. Wear UV blocking sunglasses

Invest in UV blocking sunglasses to provide the sensitive area around your eyes with additional protection against the sun’s harmful rays. Look for sunglasses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection. Not only will the right sunglasses help you prevent wrinkles and crow’s feet around your eyes, they will also help protect you against developing cataracts later in life.

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8. Wear a hat with a brim

You’re wearing sunscreen daily. You’ve got sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.  You’re wearing clothing that is UV rated as needed. Let’s top all that off with a wide brimmed sun hat. A wide-brimmed hat provides an additional layer of protection to the areas of your body that are constantly exposed to the sun’s harmful rays.

There are a lot of wide brim hat options available. Many of them are foldable so they are easy to both store and carry around. You can keep them in your car, purse, or gym bag. Now, you may be thinking, “Why would I wear a wide brimmed hat any place but the beach?” The answer is because all the quick trips you take out to pick something up at the grocery store, or meet a friend at an outdoor mall, are opportunities for the sun to damage your skin. Keep a wide-brimmed hat handy and throw it on whenever you can.

The Bottom-Line

Melanin provides you some level of protection against skin cancer, but who wants to play the odds? Be smart and consider following these skin cancer prevention tips while still enjoying the sun.

And, always Love Your Brown Skin®.

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Beauty Of The Nile GUARANTEE

Please note – for the purpose of Skin Care: We use Black skin, Brown skin, and skin-of-color interchangeably when discussing people-of-color. When we use the term people-of-color, we intend to mean those whose skin tone is not White and who are Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Mediterranean, Pacific Islander, or of Middle Eastern descent.

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