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Too many Latinas with dark skin falsely assume they don’t need sunscreen

LatinaLista — The official start of summer may still be a few weeks off but Mother Nature didn’t get the memo with a lot of the country experiencing high temps this Memorial Day weekend.


What that means is that Latinas will be among the crowds soaking up the sun, and it doesn’t even have to be on the beach or by a pool. Dermatologists say that even shopping in outdoor malls or driving around with the sunroof open or spending any length of time outside during peak sun hours, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., is enough to put a person at risk for skin cancer.

Yet, according to Neutrogena’s Choose Skin Health™Campaign, too many Latinas aren’t using sunscreen to protect themselves from the sun’s rays because — they think they don’t need it!

According to a recent survey, about one-third of Hispanics (33%) believe they do not need to wear sunscreen daily because they have a darker complexion. Further, people of African, Asian, Middle Eastern and Hispanic decent have higher levels of melanin and therefore are prone to developing hyperpigmentation and dark marks, making it difficult to maintain even-toned skin. The first step to preventing the development of hyperpigmentation is to limit sun exposure and use at least SPF 30.

There’s nothing more obvious than someone who has dark, birthmark-like marks on their face or arms. To know that it can be prevented just by using sunscreen should be a no-brainer since obviously the fact that 2 million cases of skin cancer are reported annually isn’t making much of an impression.

Nor the news that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and only one in five people wear sunscreen on a daily basis, even though 94 percent of Americans know that “prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin damage and even skin cancer” — no matter the color of the skin.

On the Choose Skin Health™Campaign website, there are resources to use to help stay safe in the sun and, if you or someone you know has a funky looking mole, there’s an online kit that helps determine if that mole is cancerous or not.

The simple truth is cancer can kill or disfigure or give a helluva scare to a person and their loved ones. It’s just not worth the risk.

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