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After so much hype in the media about how dark skin protects from the effects of sun exposure, many people have come to believe that having dark skin is all you need to avoid the harmful effects of the sun. That is why many fair skin people would go through the trouble of having a tan. Sorry to spoil your day but having dark skin is not enough to be protected from the harmful rays of the sun.
The human skin is constantly exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Ultraviolet rays on the skin are the main factor that will induce skin cancer. Although it is believed that the dark color of some skin caused by higher concentration of melanin will act as photoprotector, there are still issues that arise due to sun exposure regardless of skin type.
UVR reaches the earth in the form of a long and short wavelength known as UVA and UVB respectively. These are the UV rays that have effect on the skin. UVA will penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB that is why it is advisable to wear sunscreen with the right SPF value even when not in direct contact with sunlight. The longer wavelength UVA will result in more DNA damage that may ultimately result to skin cancer. On the other hand UVB will most often cause sunburn.
Therefore for those dark people who think they are safe from the effects of the sun, it becomes clear that although they may not easily burn from exposure to sunlight, they may still suffer from skin problems associated with sun rays thanks to the longer wavelength UVA rays. Apart from causing sunburn, UV rays will also act as an immunosuppressant that reduces the skin’s ability to fight tumors. It therefore becomes easy to understand why even with dark skin, there is need for extra sun protection.
Therefore, when preparing to go out on a hot day, always use the right sun protection for your skin. Understand that the amount of ultraviolet rays that reaches the skin may vary depending on where you are such as place location and altitude. The different seasons may also require different sun protection requirements. All this should be considered when choosing an SPF lotion or cream to use. Whatever the case, the use of SPF is recommended through out the year despite if there is sunlight or not.
Apart from wearing sunscreen, people should avoid direct contact with sunlight as much as they can. When going out on hot days, wear clothes that cover most of the body. This may be uncomfortable but knowing what the effects of not doing so could be, it becomes better to suffer some discomfort once in a while. Hopefully you now understand why having dark skin should not be an excuse to expose the body to the rays of sunlight. Take time to explain to your kids and friends why they need to protect themselves from sunlight. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.