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Karl D. Lewis, MD


Advances in Sun Protection May Encourage Sunscreen Use

By: Lauren Velentzas
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Using sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to protect against skin cancer, and yet for a variety of reasons, many people are discouraged from wearing it while out in the sun. A presentation at the recent American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting discussed some of the unique challenges and dangers people of different skin tones can face from sun exposure and how new developments in sunscreens may have the potential to help clear some of those hurdles.

One of the common aversions to sunscreen is aesthetic; until recently, most sunscreens left a white film on the skin, one more noticeable on darker skin tones. However, with the development of tinted sunscreens made to match various skin tones, this issue could potentially be avoided. Additionally, tinted sunscreens may be tailored to better protect different skin tones, which may have different needs, as explained by Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD, former Chair of the Department of Dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit.

“While people with darker skin have a lower risk for skin cancer, it can still develop,” Dr. Lim noted. “However, what we are learning is that the darker your skin tone, the higher your risk that UV rays and visible light from the sun will cause hyperpigmentation. This is because darker skin has different types of melanin than those with lighter skin. For that reason, we recommend sun protection for everyone. By tailoring the sunscreen formulations to an individual’s skin tone, people are more likely to protect themselves from the sun, therefore reducing their risk of skin cancer.”

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