Darker skin still susceptible to sun damage

April 6, 2015

Darker skin doesn’t necessarily protect a person from potentially dangerous UV radiation and skin cancer.

Warmer temperatures and longer days coax many to spend more time outdoors, exposing skin to the sun’s radiation.

Like many people, Susanna Lee enjoys sunny days and spending time outside in the sun, but years ago on a family vacation, she overdid it.

“I got sunburned. I was really red for about at least a week or so and my skin was peeling and it hurt,” Lee said.

[U.S. Dermatology Partners’] dermatologist Dr. Janet Lin said the latest preliminary research shows people with darker skin aren’t as protected from the sun as they may think, and can still get dangerous sunburns.

“Despite what background skin tone you have, you’re still at risk for skin cancer, and there’s an actual increase right now in young women of Hispanic and Asian descent having skin cancers develop,” Lin said. “In Caucasian skin, we can predict, based on the numbers of moles that we find, the numbers of sunburns that a person has experienced, what your risk is ultimately. Now on the other hand, in skin of color, those are not predicted factors, which is scary.”

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