Sun Protection for Skin of Color

We only get one body to live in and our skin is the body’s largest organ. We need to protect it from its biggest enemy, the sun. If you have skin of color, you have more natural protection against the sun’s UV rays than individuals with light skin. However, having more protection doesn’t mean your skin cannot be damaged or develop skin cancer after years of exposure. The American Cancer Society states that the lifetime risk of getting melanoma, skin cancer’s deadliest form, is 1 in 167 for Hispanics and 1 in 1,000 for African Americans, compared with 1 in 38 for Caucasians and others with fair skin. However, studies show people with skin of color are more likely to die from skin cancer than light-skinned people because it is often not detected until later stages.

Thankfully, protecting your skin is easy so long as you put in the effort and make it part of your daily routine. Here are the top 3 ways to protect your skin this summer:

#1 – Shots! Shots! Shots!

We aren’t talking about the shots you are probably thinking about after reading that. We are talking about how a shot glass worth of sunscreen is the proper amount needed to cover your body. Use SPF 30 or higher and remember it should be reapplied every 2-3 hours you are exposed or after swimming or sweating excessively. We know how easy it is to skip this step, or how badly you want that summer tan, but sunscreen is easily the #1 way to help prevent millions of cases of skin cancer each year.

#2 – Give SPF clothing a try!

This type of clothing goes by a variety of names: SPF clothing, Sun Protection Clothing, UV Protective Clothing. It has come a long way over the years and the options are more abundant. We get it – it sounds like a gimmick, but SPF clothing is clothing specifically designed for sun protection and is produced from a fabric rated for its level of ultraviolet protection. The fabric absorbs or blocks harmful UV radiation, and is a great addition to sunscreen as an effective form of protection against sun damage and skin cancer.

# 3 – Pucker up!

What’s one of the most forgotten areas when it comes to sun protection? Your lips! To be fair, have you ever gotten sunscreen around your mouth and lips and then spent the next hour tasting sunscreen? It’s awful. Luckily, many brands of lip balm sell products with SPF included, bad taste omitted! Not only do they keep your lips moisturized, but they also block UV rays. Look for brands that sell SPF 30 lip balm or higher.


Remember regardless of how protective you are of your skin, it is always important to get an annual skin cancer exam. Early detection truly saves lives. Find a Forefront Dermatology clinic near you today to schedule your next skin cancer screening.