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Plus, long-term exposure still increases the risk of skin cancer, regardless of skin tone. People with darker skin are less likely to experience sunburn thanks to a little thing called melanin. Its aim is to block the harmful effects of ultraviolet UV rays.
Skin cancers are less prevalent in nonwhite racial ethnic groups, but when they occur, they tend to be diagnosed at a later stage and, as a result, have a worse prognosis. One study, for example, found an average five-year melanoma survival rate of only 65 percent in black people versus 91 percent in white people. Another showed that late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more common in Hispanic and black patients than in non-Hispanic white patients. So these patients may be less likely to get regular, full-body skin exams. And third, the places on the body where skin cancers tend to occur in people of color are often in less sun-exposed, more out-of-the-way areas, which makes detection more difficult. For example, the most common location for melanoma in patients of color is the lower extremities — the soles of the feet in particular. In melanomas on the whole, UV radiation is certainly a major risk factor, and we see plenty of UV-induced melanomas and squamous cell carcinomas in people of color, who can have a wide range of complexions, from very fair to very dark. But the proportion of skin cancers that occur in non-sun-exposed sites is greater in darker-skinned populations. Melanin does confer some natural protection against the risk of skin cancers from UV, but everyone, of any complexion, is still at risk for sun-related skin cancers.
She is just one of many black women who told me that black men were judging their potential as a suitable romantic partner by the hue of their skin tone. Growing up I was very aware that if you had light eyes, long wavy hair, fair skin… basically anything the opposite of my thick full afro and brown skin, you were going to get far more male attention. Decades later, my journey has revealed not enough has changed. A quick search of the issues online produces many headlines, and there are high profile personalities who are accused of insulting and making fun of dark skin black women. Black professional Amina believes the men she has grown up with were exposed to a very European, Caucasian aesthetic in the media, which has meant they find it easier to relate to women who have lighter skin tones. Is she right? Or could the answers be buried deeper in black consciousness? I met a psychotherapist who runs a group for black women. Dawn Estefan says historical factors are to blame. At this point I have a slightly awkward question to put to you.