Skin Cancer and Deep Skin Tones
Summer is in full swing. COVID-19 restrictions have been eased. We’re all more than ready to make a break for a much-needed vacation or enjoy more time outdoors with friends and family. The one thing everyone must not leave home without--this time of year and in fact, all year round-- is sunscreen. And we mean everyone, no matter your gender, skin type or tone.
A common and dangerous misconception is that people with melanin-rich skin are immune to skin cancer. While the occurrence of skin cancer is small in people of color, 1-2% for Blacks, 2-4% for Asians and 4-5% for Hispanics, it is often diagnosed in late stages, making it more deadly.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer and comes from abnormal, uncontrolled growth of basal cells. Because they grow slowly, they are usually curable when caught early. Basal cell carcinomas are often shown to be pink growths on fair skin, but on melanin-rich skin, they can present as brown or pigmented growths 50% of the time. Because of this pigmentation, they are often missed on people of color.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Melanoma occurs when the melanocytes that produce our skin’s pigment become cancerous. Symptoms can include a new or unusual growth or change to an existing mole. Melanomas can occur anywhere on the body. It’s important to know that melanomas in people of color often occur on areas that don’t often see the light of day, with up to 75% of tumors forming on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and the nail beds.
Here are some ways everyone can be more diligent about protecting themselves against skin cancer.
- Perform a monthly self exam of your skin where you check for any new growths or changes to any existing growths. Be sure to check the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, genitals, fingernails and toenails and in between too.
- Make an appointment with a dermatologist any time you see a new growth or a change to an existing growth or, particularly in skin of color, if you have a sore that doesn’t heal.
- See a dermatologist once a year for a full body exam from an expert.
- Wear sunscreen every day, 365 days a year. Although most skin cancer in people of color occurs in areas that don’t get a lot of sun exposure, it’s still important to protect your skin. Wearing sunscreen helps protect skin from the signs of aging and it also protects from the harmful UV rays that cause dark spots, hyperpigmentation and melasma.
We just introduced two new 100% mineral protection sunscreens that provide sheer protection for diverse complexions! Our new SheerGlow™ Even Tone Daily Defense Moisturizer is your daily dark spot defense, good for all skin types seeking an SPF 30 moisturizer. If you have oily, blemish-prone skin, we have ShineBlock™ Oil Control Moisturizer, a lightweight mattifying SPF 30 moisturizer that provides sheer protection. The secret behind our sheerness is our exclusive SheerGenius™ Technology. This formulation process features finely milled Zinc Oxide that is easy to blend and virtually impossible to see, providing broad-spectrum sheer protection.
Be sure to protect your skin to protect your glow! For more information on skincare essentials, tips, and products, check out the Glow-Up Guide often!