Skin Health Magazine Issue #12 / Summer-Autumn 2019 - Page 31

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 | 31