SPF – Breaking misconceptions for dark skins

In 2017 I had a mini-rant after a brand posted an SPF comment, particularly for dark skins exacerbating so many misconceptions and 2 years later I still feel so much needs to be done still.

1️⃣ Raise awareness around SPF for darker skins.⁠
2️⃣ Break common misconceptions surrounding darker skin tones.⁠
3️⃣ Understand the needs of melanin-rich skin better. ⁠

So I am going to repost this again and again until more is done ⑴ more coloured women in SPF campaigns ⑵ greater communication around SPF for all skin tones and ⑶ greater awareness of why SPF is important for all skin tones. #todaysspf 

Originally Posted 2017 (updated):⁠
👉🏻 1stly breaking the common misconception that dark skin women do not burn, are not sensitive to the sun or are not at risk for skin cancer:⁠

From first-hand experience, I can say I burn, even my scalp burns and flakes (I am a MAC NC42). I also pigment easily so a day out at the beach means I look like a Zebra, dark patches in all the wrong places and a dark upper lip which resembles the shading of a subtle mustache.⁠

📖 As for the Studies:⁠
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute in 2014 report: 13% of African-Americans experience at least one sunburn in the past year 31% for Hispanics.⁠

📖 A recent study in 2016 “Racial disparities in melanoma survival” – (S Dawes, S Tsai, H Gittleman et al) argued⁠
“Despite the higher incidence of cutaneous melanoma in whites, overall survival for cutaneous melanoma in non-whites was significantly lower. Our results suggest that more emphasis is needed for melanoma screening and awareness in non-white populations to improve survival outcomes.” We need to understand we can burn, we are at risk of cancer and look out for these signs before it’s too late.⁠

📖 In a 2006 study published in the Archives of Dermatology, researchers analyzed 1,690 melanoma cases. They found that 26% of those diagnosed in Hispanics and 52% of those in African-Americans were advanced (compared with 16 percent in Caucasians)

📖 Skincancer.org – “People who have dark skin tones often believe they’re not at risk for skin cancer. But that is a dangerous misconception, says dermatologist Maritza I. Perez, MD, VP The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of race,” she says. Let’s remind ourselves – Bob Marley, for example, died of melanoma on his toe that was misdiagnosed as a soccer injury.

(Just a note that the Fitzpatrick study dating from the 70s regards V-type “rarely burns” and VI types “never burns” (it’s a gold standard for types in Dermatology) yet it should always mention “but you are still at risk”). We have to also note here race and skin types do not always align neatly, and wide genetic variation exists even within races.
2nd misconceptions Dark skins only needed SPF15 .

🌅One of the biggest concerns for women of colour, melanin-rich skin, dark-skinned women, women prone to dark spots … (you get the gist) is hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tones, dark patches that can literally pop up overnight.

I would rather use high protection SPF/ UV base so that my skin is not called upon to go into melanin overproduction opting for a minimum SPF 30 (blocks 96% percent of the harmful incoming rays) / Skincancer.org also suggest SPF 15 + above for coloured skins. Again the more protection the better including UVA/UVB and antioxidants. People always tend to underapply SPF as we have seen time and time again, one of the reasons why I prefer a higher SPF rating and look to apply it generously (my rule has always x2/ times 2) with reapplication when outdoors in high UV countries.

Now, let’s hope we see more of these discussions and dispelling of myths around SPF use for dark skins.

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