I’m sure this topic comes up every year when we get closer to Summer but most in the Black community would say a resounding ‘No’ every time. Despite this majority ruled answer recent years have found numerous doctors and specialists disagreeing with this belief. Is it all hype or as some have stated in groups on FB a conspiracy to make Black buy sunscreen? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, “No, it’s a necessity we need to start using”.
Let’s face it. There’s not a lot of money or interest being poured into research on us. Not many studies being conducted just on African Americans, or Blacks as I prefer to use, and many times we are left in the dark about ourselves in regards to our health. Yes, we know the common risks we face with Type 2 Diabetes and Asthma but we still fight a losing battle with some diseases not prevalent in our community simply because we find out too late and end up having higher numbers of death rates. One of those diseases would be skin cancer.
“…although people of color, including African Americans, contract skin cancer far less frequently than their Caucasian counterparts, their mortality rate is significantly higher. The five-year survival rate for Caucasians with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is 91%, however, the five-year survival rate for African Americans with melanoma is 58.8%, a startling and shocking disparity” (http://www.sunaware.org/)
One reason for this disparity is unawareness. Many of us hold the belief that we cannot get skin cancer because of the melanin in our skin. Another reason is skin cancer looks differently on us than on Caucasians and we get it in areas not commonly associated with the cancer. The most common places are the legs and feet, especially palms of the hands, soles of the feet where there is neither color nor sun exposure and under nails.
So check your body, your skin for suspicious lesions or moles. If you do see something go to a Dermatologist quickly. Protect yourself while in the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses or sunscreen and even though we tend to have a deficit of Vitamin D, only a few minutes of sun while not wearing sunscreen three times a week is all that is needed to get it.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking our color is all we need to be safe from the sun but if you are a skeptic isn’t being safer than sorry a great motto to live by?
Protect your beautiful skin Naturals,