Skin of Color Needs Sun Protection

Dermatologists are not the only doctors who say that everyone needs sun protection. At the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA), doctors from different specialties agreed that people of all colors need to:

  • Protect their skin from the sun with sunscreen or clothing

  • Avoid the sun when the rays are the strongest

  • Get skin cancer screenings

There is strong evidence to support these recommendations. According to a news release issued by the AMA, “the incidence of melanoma (a skin cancer that can be deadly) in Hispanics over the past 15 years has risen to rates comparable among whites.”

This news release also reported that African Americans who develop melanoma have a 5-year survival rate of 58.8%. In Caucasians, 84.8% of people diagnosed with melanoma are alive 5 years later. The reason for this difference seems to be that when melanoma develops in African Americans, diagnosis comes late.

These findings mean that everyone needs skin exams. Melanoma has a high cure rate when detected early. Without early detection and proper treatment, the outcome is not so favorable.

The American Academy of Dermatology offers free skin cancer screenings throughout the United States and publishes information to explain how people can protect their skin from the sun. You will find links to these pages below.

More Information
Be Sun Smart®
Free Skin Cancer Screenings
Skin Cancer: A Fact of Life in Skin of Color

American Academy of Dermatology. Melanoma Fact Sheet.

American Medical Association, “AMA Adopts New Policies During Final Day of Annual Meeting.” News release issued June 15, 2010. Last accessed June 28, 2010.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

The term “skin of color” refers to diverse skin types and complexions. It includes people who have one or more of the following ancestries:

  • African

  • Latino

  • Mediterranean

  • Middle Eastern

  • Native American

  • Pacific Islander





     © American Academy of Dermatology, 2010  All rights reserved.
Page last updated 7/15/10

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