BY: CLAIRE KIM
Sunscreen has always been advertised by dermatologists to protect the risks of skin cancer from overexposure of the sun. But does such risk differ by skin color and if so, then is sunscreen necessary for everyone?
According to a few studies verified by the New York Times, sunscreen seems to have more or less benefits and risks when used by those with darker complexions than lighter complexions. From a scientific lense, this phenomenon can be explained. It’s been observed that darker-skinned individuals “absorb between 50 to 70 percent less of the sun’s ultraviolet light than paler skin tones” in which melanin comes into play. Though how much less has not been identified, various studies have shown similar trends with darker skin tones. As a result, it’s arguable to say that darker-skinned individuals tend to be more resistant to skin cancers when compared to their paler counterparts.
It seems like the relationship between skin color and sunscreen is more complex than initially perceived. Further research regarding this should be taken place so safer restrictions on sunscreen usage are made. With skin color taken into consideration, hidden risks of sun exposure and chemicals from the sunscreen can be avoided more strategically.
Yes, sunscreen is good for the skin, but a careful investigation of what effects each type of sunscreen has on each type of skin is the best solution from a health perspective.