The Myths of Sunscreen and Melanin skin tone
For years I have convinced friends and family alike of the importance of using sunscreen all year round. Some have retorted implying that I was not the best candidate to advocate sunscreen use, others have ridiculed me and reminded me I did not only have melanin toned skin, but I also sent most of my youthful life in a country with year round humid temperatures and sunshine all year round.
One recurring myth that I usually encounter when speaking to people is the belief dark skin individuals are already protected from the sun’s ultra violet (UV) light. And also we are rarely diagnosed with melatonin cancer. This is somewhat true as research shows we are somewhat protected, However; we are not at risk from the sun’s damage, aged spots and some cases skin cancer. Research has shown that dark skinned people including Hispanics, Asians and Native Indians naturally produce melanin, and this is what gives the dark skin tone, this absorbs the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Our Melanin toned skin gives us a natural skin protection factor of up to 13 SPF (sun protection factor) than fair skinned individuals.
The natural SPF 15 means the time allowed for a dark skin individual to stay in the sun unprotected, you will have 15 minutes in the sun before one’s skin turns red and without sunscreen and a total of 150 minutes to have a sunburn .
Ultraviolet radiation and electromagnetic spectrum has three varied wavelengths that contributes to skin cancer.
The UV radiation’s originates from the sunlight UVA has a long wavelength and is associated to skin ageing. UVB has a shorter wave length and associated to skin burn and skin cancer. UVC are absorbed by the ozone layer. Both UVA and UVB are primary to infiltrate the skin’s surface and are harmful to the skin and responsible for skin damage.
The myth of black people rarely getting melatonin cancer leaves the notion of a false sense of security making us not take preventative measures of skin cancer. Due to this belief we also would rarely go and have a skin cancer screen. Although skin cancer is rare in dark skin people, the death rate is quiet high due to some of the above reasons.
Also other’s including myself in the past have stayed clear of sunscreens as most of the one’s on the market were made without thought of our skin tone. The white screen on our skin tone left a grey residue on our skin leaving our skin ashy. Recently there has been an introduction of tinted sunscreens on the market. These are mineral based with added color incorporated. Honam Naturals reason for jumping on the tinted sunscreen band wagon was very personal, having been diagnosed with lupus and knowing that the sun’s ultraviolet rays and the environment is a huge contribution factor to my lupus crisis.
Most lupus patients are advised to limit their sun exposure during 11am – 3:00pm when the UV index is at its highest peak. For this reason all Honam body butters have at least an SPF of between 10 – 20 SPF which would give you some coverage. Recently we also introduced the tinted sunscreen with Non Nano zinc oxide. Non Nano zinc oxide particles absorb UV light better and provides greater UVA protection. The tinted sunscreen has both UVA and UVB incorporated giving you enhanced coverage. The tint also provides instant skin even tone and glow. Evidence also shows that tinted sunscreen has been beneficial and reduces the re occurrence of melasma better than the non tinted sunscreen. It also reduces hyperpigmentation on the surface of the skin.