For Immediate Release
March 03, 2010
Contact Information

Celine Elveus
Sonshine Communications

(BPRW) The Truth About Sunburn for People of Color

(BLACK PR WIRE) -- Of all the four seasons, summer is the most exceptional. One of the contributing factors that make summer so enjoyable is the heat of the sun. Families plan vacations hundreds of miles away to sunny islands to enjoy that heat. It is almost impossible to imagine that something so pleasurable can be so painful, even deadly. Although the sun completes a summer beach vacation, the danger it can cause with minimal or no protection can be fatal.

Sunburn is a burn to living tissue such as skin or leaves, resulting from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sources of UV radiation can be from the sun or tanning beds. The UV radiation burns the top layer of the skin and causes redness to the skin. Once a burn occurs, the person may feel dizzy, depending on the magnitude of the burn. Other symptoms related to a burn include tenderness, pain, edema (swelling from excessive accumulation of water fluid in cell tissue), itching, rashes, nausea, redness and peeling of the skin. During prolonged exposure, the sun burns and kills skin cells. If many skin cells are burnt, the skin starts to peel. A burn can occur after 15 minutes of being in the sun, though it may not appear until several hours later. Sunburn is a serious situation that increases the chances of malignant melanoma, which is a skin cancer. Doctors suggest applying a suntan lotion with sun protection factor (SPF) to block the UV rays. The SPF of a sunscreen is a laboratory measure of its effectiveness. The higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen offers against UV-B, which is the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn, according to

Overexposure to the sun is dangerous to all skin types, including dark skin. One myth about people of color and the sun is that they are unable to burn. Another myth is that because the skin is already dark, there’s not much damage that can be done to it. Because people of color have more melanin in their skin, the occurrence of sunburn is lower but not impossible. They are able to spend more time in the sun without getting burned compared to redheads and blonds with fair skin. That is not to say that their skin is resistant to the sun. In fact, sunburns among blacks are higher than any other race. A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 50.4 percent of sunburn cases among blacks, which is higher than the 35.6 percent among whites and 45.6 among Hispanics.

Since there is no cure for sunburn, protection from the sun is a must. The best way to avoid sunburn is to protect your skin from the sun by wearing wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved clothing when outdoors. Other protection methods also include the use of sunscreen lotion with the designation of SPF 15 or SPF 30. Try to spend less time in the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. With enough protection from the natural heat, go ahead and enjoy your vacation.