Dr. Mitchell of Mitchell Dermatology sets the record straight – “People with darker skin tones have a risk of sunburn,skin damage or skin cancer due to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Just because your skin has more melanin than people with lighter skin tones does not mean you are impervious to being burnt by the sun’s UV rays,” says Dr. Mitchell. Because darker skin has a higher concentration of the pigment melanin, people with darker skin types do have an advantage when it comes to natural protection, but it is not enough.
Even though people with darker skin types won’t burn quite as quickly, they are still at risk for skin damage and photoaging and should take preventative measures to minimize those risks. Melanated skin has a natural protection factor of up to SPF 13 compared to that in white skin, which is reported to have an SPF 3.4 and the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum of SPF 30. I actually recommend my patients wear SPF 30-50. There is no data to support a greater advantage to wearing an SPF higher than 50. The true benefit of sunscreen’s efficacy will come from consistency in its use and reapplication of the product.
Everyone needs to use sunscreen because all skin tones are susceptible to sunburn and photodamage. No sunscreen can block 100% of ultraviolet light but I recommend SPF 30 – SPF 50 which will block 97 -98% of the rays.
Dr. Mitchell recommends that everyone wear sunscreen for the following reasons:
If you have questions about how to achieve and maintain healthy skin all year round, call Mitchell Dermatology at 419.871.3737 today.