Though melanin in Latina skin provides some protection from the harmful rays of the sun, there are skin conditions that also make Latinas prone to sun damage.
Here are four reasons Latinas should wear sunscreen on a regular basis:
- 1. Skin Cancer
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in Latinos/Hispanics. Basal cell carcinoma is usually linked to ultraviolet light exposure and is mainly found on body parts that receive the most sun exposure. A study by Howard University in Washington, DC found that 89% of basal cell carcinomas on naturally brown skin occur on the head or neck.
According an article by the Skin Cancer Foundation, Skin Cancer and Skin of Color, the correlation between UV light and basal cell carcinoma in darker skin types explains the relatively higher incidence of this malignancy among darker-skinned populations living in hot climates like New Mexico and Arizona. Many dermatologists now recommend the use of an SPF of 30, even for brown skin.
- 2. Melasma
When the skin is exposed to UV rays the skin’s pigment-producing cells produce extra melanin as a defense against burning. Sun exposure is the number one cause of melasma, a skin condition caused by the excess production of melanin, creating dark or brown spots on the face and other parts of the body. Latinas, in particular, have a high risk of developing this skin condition.
The use of sunscreen can prevent the appearance of skin discolorations, aid the treatment of existing dark spots and prevent the condition from getting worse.
- 3. Acne Scars
Since many Latinas have oily skin, the oiliness contributes to clogged pores, causing acne and blemishes, which can eventually turn into acne scars and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when the redness from acne turns brown when skin trauma causes the overproduction of melanin.
- 4. Ultraviolet A-ging
Like other women of color, Latina skin helps delay signs of aging. But just as you are not immune to skin cancer and sun-related skin problems, too much sun exposure can still lead to premature aging. The sun’s UV rays can penetrate the skin’s inner layers and damage collagen and elastin fibers, which results in wrinkles and sagging skin. So don’t just think about sunscreen when you’re hitting the beach. Make it part of your daily beauty routine.