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Yes, Black People Do Need To Wear Sunscreen – Here's Why

For decades, most of us quite literally took the line of least resistance when it comes to sun protection. As black people, we assumed that the melanin in our skins worked to our advantage when it came to sun protection. To some extent, we were right.

Science confirms that melanin does indeed offer a measure of protection from UV rays. According to the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), “Naturally occurring biological agents in the skin absorb a proportion of UVR, with melanin being one of these. People with the darkest brown skin, for example those of African descent, have the most melanin and so are usually best protected from the sun.” 

However, melanin alone isn’t enough. Dr Joanne Simpson, a US based dermatologist and melanin skin expert explains: “No matter how fair or dark your complexion (and even if you never get sunburned), all skin tones are susceptible to sun damage and need daily SPF and sun protection. And even though darker skin tones contain more melanin, excess exposure to sunlight can cause an overproduction of melanin which can lead to hyperpigmentation or darkened patches and spots on the skin.”