Do Dark Skinned People Need Sun-screen?


Sudanese model Alec Wek

We’ve all heard the saying that “black don’t crack” which is usually said to mean that Black women age gracefully. Some people do however, perceive this to also mean that Black women do not have to worry about what over-exposure to the sun can do to their skin.

While it is true that a Black person can be in the sun for a long time and not get sun burned the way a fairer complexioned person would, it is important to be mindful of overexposure to the sun. Some exposure to the sun is great because it is a  much needed source of vitamin D, but again, it must be done mindfully.

When asked the question of whether dark skinned people need sunscreen, Dr Mehmet Oz of the popular Dr Oz Show answered as follows:

It’s true that dark skin is higher in the pigment melanin than light skin, which can provide some protection against skin cancer and aging. This is why fair-skinned people are more likely to get a sunburn, and to get skin cancer, than dark-skinned people. Yet it’s possible for everyone, no matter how dark their skin color, to get both sunburns and skin cancer. African Americans should wear a broad-spectrum, UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 whenever they go outside. For more information about sun protection, consult a dermatologist.

Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing to safeguard your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Dr Marshelya D. Wilson, M.D., a female African American medical doctor also answered the question and she said,

It has become a misconception that African Americans do not need to use sunscreen. Many believe that African-American skin has melanin which provides adequate protection. This is only partially true. Melanin does provide protection but only minimally, about an SPF 15. Ultraviolet rays still have the potential to damage skin and lead to often-undiagnosed skin cancers. African Americans do need to protect their skin with sunscreen, at least SPF 30.




  1. It is common sense to avoid over exposure despite the darker color, but also God gave us the skin color gift that highly protects the darker skin persons from untraviolet radiation. I have never used sun screen lotion and do not ever plan to do so because I do not need it. Also I do not spend hours naked in the sun to darken my skin, its not in my mind set.
    Ultraviolet radiation is very powerful and can break down many chemicals, especially those that are not closely related to Melanin of darker people. Melanin is a very neutral chemical and really cannot be broken down by ordinary methods. Any thing that is Black will break down slower than lighter color. This is one of the reasons automobile tires are Black instead of lighter color.
    Be thankful to God for high Melanic colors because its the protector from the sun rays.

  2. Why do we use the term Dark-SKINNED or Light-SKINNED? SKINNED just reminds me of animals and the removal of flesh of the animal. I prefer to use the term Dark or Light COMPLEXION. Just remember all skin burns.

  3. Mark Anthony Johnson on

    Wow, this particular article was right on time! I'm very dark skinned and did embrace the notion that my darkeness protected me. Ooops urban legend!!!!

    I have been fishing both sides of coast and local lakes without a shirt, chillin and fishin…. However today my dark behind not only began peeling but a blister or two popped up on my shoulder. Therefore, this man of African descent will today be wise and use the appropriate level of sun screen
    from now forward.

  4. Gimme a break!..they better do more research on Melanin and its properties…I’m good on the sunscreen, plus Dr Oz.? Yeah ok..not saying he is not a good dr. But he is not carrying hig amounts of meaning either…and I don’t know black person who needs sunscreen or has has a sunburn in my entire life..if this were the case there would have been documented cases of slaves dying from untreated sunburn?..the powers that be wanna make u equal to whites in that sense and it is entirely false..THEY will die after a few hours in the sun with no protection…we on the other hand will not…bottom line we don’t need it unless we plan on purposely trying on getting burned for being in the sun for more than 13 hrs straight, which is what it would take for us to be “burned”

  5. Dark complexioned people need more sun than light complexioned people.
    It is true that if you stay in the sun too long it will cause problems. Without the rays of the sun the density of our bones decrease. This is not a simple problem. You need the sun, but don't stay in the sun for great periods of time.

  6. I live in Hawaii and I'm.dark skinned and I'm in the sun all day..never got.burned yet..i don't use sun screen…i also sun.gaze and i don't use sun.screen ..been doing it for years…i have flawless the way lol..

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