Melanin may offer sun protection but not absolutely

Melanin may offer sun protection but not absolutely

Contrary to popular belief, fair skin people as well as dark skin people have melanin in their skin. The only exception to this rule is an albino who has no melanin production.  Interestingly with this controversial world of ours, it is surprising to realize that a tanned body may represent high social status while dark skin may be looked upon with disdain. Whatever the case, there’s need for the right sun protection with the right SPF value regardless of skin color.

Some wrong beliefs

Dark skin people have melanin while fair skin people don’t

This is not true! Except if you are an albino, every other human being has melanin in their bodies. The only difference between being fair or dark is the difference in the concentration of melanin levels. To support this idea, the only reason fair skin people tan is because melanin has been stimulated to rise to the surface of the skin. In all truth, no matter what the media may tell you, a sun tan is actually skin damage even though it may provide some protection against future sun damage.

Darker skin people are immune to sunburn and skin damage from the sun

Wrong! While darker skin will offer some protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun due to a higher concentration of melanin, the melanin alone is not enough protection to act against sunburn and skin damage. The proof is that there are many dark skin people who still suffer from sunburn and sun related skin damage. Therefore, just like in fair skin, your dark skin will not protect you from the harmful effects of the sun. It is therefore necessary to avoid direct contact with sunlight if you can. Also wearing the right SPF for added sun protection is very necessary despite your skin color.

As a dark skin person, note that your dark skin may help protect against burning easily from sun exposure but will not prevent the occurrence of other disorders that arise from excessive sun exposure like skin cancer and allergic skin conditions. The primary concern for the multi cultural community when it comes to the sun is to maintain an even skin tone and avoid hyper-pigmentation.

Whether you are dark skin or fair skin, the production of melanin reduces with age. That is why to offer more sun protection, it is necessary to use the right sun protection. It is even necessary to start using sun protection early enough and not to wait until the effects of sun exposure are already showing on the skin. Dark skin people should remove this false sense of security that being dark skin provides when it comes to sun exposure and protection. Your dark skin may provide some protection from the rays of the sun but it’s not enough for preventing against skin cancer.

The use of a good sun protection lotion should be part of every good skincare regimen. At the least people should try to avoid direct contact with sunlight as much as possible. Wear clothes that cover most of the skin when you’re going to be out in the sun for long periods.


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