What about Vitamin D?
Due to higher levels of melanin, darker skin
tones do take longer to produce Vitamin D from
the sun and experts say that applying a high
factor sunscreen may result in a higher proba-
bility of a deficiency. To avoid this, it is advisable
to consult your GP and consider including a
Vitamin D supplement in your diet, especially
from March to October.
Black Skin Directory's, Dija Ayodele
that adverts for sunscreen don’t have any skin
of colour representation!
There is evidence that shows that due to the
focus and attention paid to Caucasian skin tones
and their increased likelihood for developing
skin cancer, skin cancer awareness programmes
for darker skin tones are few (if any) and pre-
vention messages are scarce. This is why Black
Skin Directory decided to tackle the sun pro-
tection health message by producing the first
ever UK ad targeted at the skin of colour pop-
ulation. Additionally, it appears that many
health professionals do not immediately recog-
nise (or associate) skin cancer with darker skin
toned individuals, therefore miss opportunities
to deliver a differential diagnosis, counsel or
perform a biopsy.
UV rays cause more than skin cancer
In addition to burning and increasing the risk
of skin cancer, UV rays can also have a displeas-
ing effect on the skin, often worsening existing
skin complaints such as melasma and hyper-
pigmentation, whilst fuelling the development
of conditions such as Solar Lentigines, Derma-
tosis Papulosa Nigra and Poikiloderma of
Civatte. UV rays are also the chief contributor
to collagen depletion and solar elastosis ulti-
mately leading to fine lines, wrinkles, uneven
pigmentation and loss of tone.
So, which sunscreen?
Typically, physical sunscreens with Zinc Oxide
or Titanium Dioxide as the main ingredients
can cause an unsightly white cast on dark skin.
However, technology has advanced in leaps and
bounds; many brands now have physical sun-
screens that work perfectly fine on black skin.
The use of Nano particles is increasingly wide-
spread and this reduces the white cast, making
the product more elegant on darker skin tones.
Chemical sunscreens with filters such as Oxy-
benzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene,
Homosalate and Octinoxate leave no tell-tale
signs on the skin and skin of colour clients tend
to prefer this option.
In conclusion, whilst skin of colour patients are
less likely to develop sun induced skin cancer,
the risk is still present and the prognosis for
skin cancer on darker skin tones is poor. There-
fore, it is important to emphasise the need to
apply a minimum SPF30 sunscreen. This also
helps to combat some of the less desirable effects
of the sun on the skin. Additionally, engaging
in regular skin checks and assessments, and
reporting any skin abnormalities will help to
prevent all types of skin cancer.
Sources: 1 Goldenberg, A et al, Melanoma risk perception
and prevention behavior among African-Americans: the
minority melanoma paradox. Clinical Cosmetic and Inves-
tigational Dermatology, August 2015. 2 Mahendraraj
K et al, Malignant Melanoma in African Americans.
Medicine (Baltimore), April 2017. 3 Wu et al, Racial
and Ethnic variations in incidence and survival of cutaneous
melanoma in the US, 1999-2006, JAAD, Nov 2011
ISSUE #12 | 2019 | SkinHealthMagazine.com 31