Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Ultrasun: Busting the SPF Myth for Darker Skin Tones
As discussed in our last blog, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and one of our favourite sunscreen brands, Ultrasun, have partnered up with educational platform the Black Skin Directory, to launch the UK's first initiative to highlight the need for sun protection for ALL skin types.“It's a long held myth amongst sections of BME (Black and minority ethnic) communities that dark skin doesn't require sun protection and the presence of melanin is enough to protect from the harmful effects of the sun and the development of skin cancer says Dija Ayodele, Aesthetician and founder of Black Skin Directory. “All skin tones have melanin, however, darker skin has deeper and more active melanin cells, which affords a natural sun protection factor of approximately 13, but experts agree that this is insufficient to protect skin completely and people of colour must still practice sun safety including the application of sunscreen."A broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or above is essential. Black skin can still suffer burns from being unprotected in the sun, which is an indicator that damage including cell mutation is happening further down in the dermal layers.Dija continues “Scientific research confirms that darker skin tones are less susceptible to skin disease like Melanoma, however the mortality rate is higher and deadlier amongst black people than amongst Caucasians, simply because usually at the point of diagnosis, the cancer is more advanced.Abi Cleeve, Ultrasun UK MD, agrees: "A high UVA % filter preferably of over 90% and SPF (UVB) of at least 30 is equally crucial for darker skin tones, both ¨for the prevention of skin cancer and preventing skin damage as part of a regular skin care routine. UVA's link to the cause and worsening of hyperpigmentation is well established and ensuring that protection is a daily skincare step is the best prevention tool.Application is also key to ensure maximum benefit. Protection should be applied indoors at least 15 minutes before going outside including under make-up as a primer all year round. Ultrasun has sun protection products for all skin types that deliver high, broad-spectrum protection leaving none of the chalky residue that those with darker skin tones are understandably keen to avoid.With this myth fully quashed, how do you guard against sun damage and skin cancer on darker skin tones?
- Apply a daily broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen minimum factor 30 at least 15 minutes before going outside.
- Seek shade during the hottest parts of the day, wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses and cover up in loose clothing.
- Check your skin frequently for changes in colour, shape and size to existing moles or new moles. Skin cancer can also develop on the nail bed, palms, soles, buttocks and groin area.
- Monitor cuts and sores that don't seem to heal properly or patches of skin that are dry and scaly without improvement.
- Seek medical opinion quickly.