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The Science

Even though everyone has the same amount of melanocytes, some people produce more melanin than others. If such cells produce only a small amount of melanin, your hair, skin, and eye iris can be exceedingly light. If your cells multiply, your hair, skin, and eyes will darken.

Our Skin

Contrary to belief people of colour can and do get skin cancer. No skin type is immune. Whilst our melanin provides some protection from the sun, we are still susceptible to some forms of skin cancers, age spots and wrinkles. So sometimes the saying ‘black don’t crack’ does not always apply.  

Melanin is a pigment produced in skin cells known as melanocytes. It is this that determines our diverse beautiful shades. The more we have the darker we are. Although this is a natural blessing of beauty, it can be slightly detrimental as some skin cancers are harder to detect purely because of the shade of our skin. 

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Types of Skin Cancers

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There are three types of skin cancers that are of particular concern to people of colour:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma, which is most common in people of colour

  • Basal cell carcinoma

  • Melanoma
     

People of colour are less likely to receive a cancer diagnosis early, which is why it is important to self examine  your skin regularly for any changes, using a mirror if necessary for the hard to see places, so the spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body can be limited  or stopped

Conscious self care practice

So apart from protecting your rich melanin loaded skin with the Shades of Melanin, here are some practical tips to aid your protection… remember prevention is always better than the cure:

  • Use an umbrella where possible

  • Stay hydrated both externally and internally

  • Wear clothing that is protective but also allows your skin to breath

  • Seek shade whenever possible

  • Wear sunscreen on exposed areas

  • Apply sunscreen 15–30 minutes before going out and reapply every 2 hours

  • Remember to reapply if your skin gets wet' and also don't forget to protect your neck and ears
     

When checking the skin, people of colour should pay attention to any of the following signs such as:

  • A sore that will not heal or that heals and then reappears

  • A dark spot, growth, or darker area of skin that is bleeding, growing, or changing in size or shape

  • A dark line around or underneath a fingernail or toenail

  • A sore that does not heal well or quickly

Examples of Melanoma on black skin

There is less risk of skin cancers on black skin, but when diagnosed it is often at a later stage.

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Specifically for darker skin tones

So why should people of colour pay extra attention when exposed to the sun?

It is a myth that darker skin tones are fully protected from the harmful sun rays because of the beautiful natural melanin. Whilst the melanin does provide greater protection than that of fairer skin tones, darker skin still needs to be nourished and protected. Darker skin is still suspectable to some forms of hyperpigmentation, cancers, and burns. The percentage of darker skin cancers are relatively low to fairer shades, and this is because it is harder to detect certain skin cancers in people of colour.  A little bit controversial but true, considering we were born to be in the sun.

 

Shades of Melanin with its SPF30 protection from the harmful UVB & UVA rays is perfect to wear everyday in the sun, it’s a must.

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