In several forums and on different occasions, Rancho Mirage Dermatologist Dr. Wendy Roberts has spoken vocally about the apparent lack of skin cancer recognition in patients of color. While she recognizes that Caucasians are at higher risk for skin cancer, non-Caucasians are essentially not immune at all from the chronic disease. Due to this attitude, dark skin color individuals are often diagnosed at a later stage when the cancer has already become difficult to treat.
True enough, a new L’Oréal Research and Innovation study supported the notion that skin cancer does not discriminate, and that it exists in all populations regardless of skin color. This lack of skin cancer recognition in patients of color is a problem and poses a serious health threat if left untreated. After all, skin cancer is highly curable if detected early. The topnotch dermatologist in Dr. Roberts constantly reminds individuals of color to be aware of their risk and be vigilant about protecting their skin from the sun, as well as seeking help with skin lesions that do not heal.
That said, Dr. Roberts is keenly aware of the benefits of sunshine as a great source for Vitamin D or the so-called sunshine vitamin, which is essential to an individual’s overall health. In other words, she does not want the risk of skin cancer to keep you from avoiding the sun altogether. Thus, Dr. Roberts and L’Oréal advocate for everybody to practice safe-sun exposure.
Here then are a few tips to keeping one’s skin beautiful and cancer-free:
- Apply sunscreen. Even on days where sun exposure is limited, it’s important to use sunscreen. Try to find a facial moisturizer with sunscreen at the very least. If one has to spend a lot of time in the sun, use a product with SPF 30 and let it dry sufficiently before heading outside. Don’t forget to reapply.
- Cloudy days still put an individual at risk. One might not be able to see the sun, but it does not mean that the day is safe from UV rays. Protect one’s skin as usual — don’t change behaviors simply because of the overcast skies.
- Avoid peak sun hours. UV rays are typically strongest in the summer between 10AM and 3PM, when the sun is high in the sky. Try to limit one’s exposure during these high-risk hours.
- Wear a hat and protect oneself from the sun in style. A wide brim straw hat will protect both one’s hair and skin from harmful UV rays.
- Know one’s skin. Become familiar with it so that it is easier to recognize any changes.
L’Oréal has been a leader in photoprotection research for over thirty years. The company is working to educate all races about the risks of sun exposure. Dr. Wendy Roberts is a preeminent board certified physician based in Rancho Mirage, California.