This week’s edition of HH101 focuses on the potential damage done to the skin from over exposure in the Sun


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In a study done by the Center of Disease Control, CDC, between 1998 and 2007 1,439 Blacks were diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma is a skin cancer that is caused from too much sun exposure. This equals to about one Black person every two days diagnosed with skin cancer, or 59 percent women and 41 percent men. Studies show that although more Whites will contract this disease, more Blacks and people of color will die from it. This is mainly attributed to early detection due to more frequent doctor visits in order to prevent the development of the disease in Whites than in Blacks.

Right now, sun damage is a growing concern in the urban community. Not only can you die from skin cancer if not detected at an early stage, excessive sun exposure will also lead to premature aging in the skin. This is because of ultra-violet sun rays, UVA an UVB. Together these sun rays reach below the skin’s surface and breakdown the proteins in skin that are needed to retain a youthful complexion.

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So here’s how it works: Skin cells called melanocytes produce the protein melanin in our skin. The darker you are the more natural sun protection you have because these cells help block UVB and UVA rays from penetrating deeper layers of the skin. The lighter you are the least natural skin protection you will have.

There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens are extremely controversial, some doctors even say this type of sunscreen is toxic and may cause cancer. Chemical sunscreens are made with endocrine disruptors’. These toxins are known to stay in the body and may cause:

-Higher levels of estrogen in women leading to earlier puberty in girls.
-Higher risk of infertility in men.

These chemicals also showed up in women’s breast milk. Doctors have speculated that since the body cannot easily pass these toxic chemicals, they may have even more damaging effects over time.

Physical sunscreens are made from zinc and titanium. These are natural minerals from the earth. They block the sun’s rays by simply reflecting them off the skin, and since they’re rocks, the skin cannot absorb them. The best part about physical sunscreens is:

-No wait time before sun exposure unlike with chemical sunscreen (20 minutes).
-No skin absorption, unlike chemical sunscreens that must be absorbed by the skin to work.

So when you’re going to the beach, or outside for a long period of time, remember your sunscreen; evidently, Black will crack if you don’t take care of it!

-Natiya Hood

About The Author

The Source Magazine Staff Writer

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