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Do African Americans need sunscreen?


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” (

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,


Leave a Reply


  1. May 11, 2012 / 6:17 pm

    I'm definitely guilty of not using sunscreen. I know I should be, and definitely will in instances like vacation when I'm deliberately going to be in the sun.

    • January 4, 2013 / 10:57 pm

      As much sun as I got over this past summer I really should have used it more. just not used to doing it.

  2. May 11, 2012 / 6:32 pm

    My doctor told me that skin is skin and all skin types can burn. I have always worn a moisturizer with at least a 15 SPF. I remember one summer my brother got a really bad sun burn, so after that my mother always made us kids wear sunscreen. Good advice!

    • January 4, 2013 / 10:58 pm

      I do use a moisturizer with SPF in it on my face but very lacking in that area for hte rest of my body. I've got to do better.

  3. Anonymous
    July 15, 2012 / 1:43 pm

    The incidence rate for Blacks and black African-Americans as it pertains to "skin cancers" from sun exposure is less than 1 in 100,000. Caucasians
    are 27 in 100,000, all others in between. The statisticians will emphasize the fact that no matter what the illness Blacks receive an inferior treatment in the U.S. I spend much time in West Africa, Egypt and in countries on the Equator. I never hear of skin cancer being of concern. Matter of fact when I am in the sun there, for there is a great difference, I feel so much better. I hear some people from these countries complain of how when in Europe, i.e. London, how they are so depressed. I love the sun and the "People of the Sun" as the title of George Wells Parker book. Their complexion on the African Continent is so uncompromising and super lovely … just like me.

    • January 4, 2013 / 10:59 pm

      I love the sun too. I love living here in Colorado which has 300 sunny days a year. More than Florida.

  4. September 12, 2012 / 2:11 pm

    When the sun is out and the temperatures are reaching all-time highs, it is important that we all protect ourselves and our skin. The sun does not discriminate, it does not see if you are a fairer tone or of a darker tone. Diseases like skin cancer, sunburn and other sun or heat related conditions can be caught by anyone exposed to too much sun. It becomes more important for darker skin toned people to wear sunscreen for protection against the sun as darker tones have a higher risk of developing Melanoma. So it is advised to be always protected against harmful UVA/UVB rays, no matter your skin tone.