sun damaged skin

You've probably heard that the high levels of melanin present in African American skin provides a sun protection factor of about 13. But don't let that fool you into thinking that you're immune to sun damage. The truth is sun-damaged skin can happen to anyone – regardless of your skin color or ethnic background. Like white skin, sun damage on black skin and brown skin can manifest as wrinkles, photoaging, sunburn and skin cancer, although they may be less obvious. Additionally, people of color also experience uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation and photosensitivity as a result of sun exposure.

The following are the most common types of sun-damaged skin experienced by people of color:

Protect yourself from a sun-damaged face and use a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 every day.

Sunburn – Contrary to popular belief, people of color are not immune to sunburns. This can result in a sun damaged face, as well as sun-damaged legs, arms, feet and hands. To protect yourself from getting a sun-damaged face, it's critical to use a sunscreen with at least a SPF of 15 every day. When visiting areas where the sun is intense, use a sunscreen for all parts of the body and wear opaque clothing that blocks out harmful UVA/UVB rays.

Hyperpigmentation – Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition that most commonly affects people of color. Hyperpigmentation dark marks are flat, dark or gray patches on the skin and often look like large freckles or large moles, but they can also be much larger in appearance. Because sun exposure triggers melanin production, people of color are much more likely to experience hyperpigmentation after being exposed. An effective hyperpigmentation system can dramatically reduce the appearance of dark marks.

Uneven Skin Tone – For people of color, uneven skin tone is one of the most common consequences of "getting too much sun." Uneven skin tone can range from mild to dramatic, depending on the original color of your skin.

Skin Cancer – Basal cell carcinoma is the type of skin cancer most likely to affect people of color who have been exposed to the sun. This type of skin cancer is most likely to appear on the head, face and neck.

Photoaging – Photoaging refers to the cumulative signs of aging that result from exposure to the sun. Skin may appear dull and feel rough to the touch. A hydrating moisturizer can help soften the skin and bring luster back.

Wrinkles – Although wrinkles are less problematic for people of color, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause them to appear in the forehead, around the mouth, on the hands and on any part of the body that's regularly exposed to the sun. This is especially true for people of color who have lighter skin tones.

Photoaging – Photoaging refers to the cumulative signs of aging that result from exposure to the sun. Skin may appear dull and feel rough to the touch. A hydrating moisturizer can help soften the skin and bring luster back.

Photosensitivity – Photosensitivity is a sensitivity to light and can cause an allergic reaction, such as a rash. Certain medications, such as tetracycline and Accutane (an acne medication) can trigger photosensitivity, as well as pre-existing skin conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis.

It's important to know that sun-damaged skin is not necessarily inevitable. With the right preventive measures – using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and accessories and avoiding the sun – you can protect your skin from the most mild to the most severe forms of sun damage.






 

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