In the Black American community there’s a great deal of ambiguity when it comes to wearing sunscreen. Because we possess more melanin a lot of us feel there is no need for it. Perhaps, we just haven’t been very educated on the subject.
I am guilty of not wearing sunscreen for all of my childhood and most of my adult years. No one in my family uses it either. It is just one of those things that isn’t mentioned.
As I got older I kept hearing that Black Americans need to wear sunscreen too. I was shocked because you rarely hear about Black people getting skin cancer. Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t a little stubborn. I didn’t adhere to the suggestion initially but then I went on vacation in the tropics and got sunburned.
I was so shocked. At first I didn’t know what it what was happening. My friend was like “Girl, I think you got sunburned”. Surely, this could not be happening to me with all my chocolate melanin infused skin. I was in so much pain and my skin was very itchy and sensitive to the touch. Shortly, afterwards I got right on Google and started researching.
I found out that most skin cancers are associated with ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and just because we have melanin doesn’t mean that it helps protect skin to the fullest extent. Black Americans can still get sunburned, and they can also develop skin cancer.I found out that the sun also ages you and wearing sunscreen daily saves your skin from aging prematurely.
After the whole sunburn fiasco I swore that I would never put myself through that again. It was so irritating but very preventable. I definitely spread the word among all my friends. I use caution when out in the sun, especially for long periods of time and wear sunscreen containing a broad spectrum SPF designed to protect against UVA and UVB rays.