Everyone should wear sunscreen — everyone. The common misconception that people with darker skin do not need to wear sunscreen couldn't be farther from the truth.

Dr. Marina Peredo, owner of the Spatique Medical Spa in Smithtown, New York, and Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine clarified that skin cancer can affect anyone.

"Everyone should wear sunscreen, no matter what your skin color is," she told Medical Daily.

It is true that the chances of acquiring some type of damage depends on the amount of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color and is also is found in human hair, that exists in the skin.

However, people with darker skin sometimes scar worse than their fairer skin counterparts.

"Darker skinned people are prone to hyperpigmentation-causing dark spots on the skin, which is very preventable if you wear sunscreen," Dr. Peredo said to Medical Daily.

When people with darker skin scar or are exposed to the sun, the marks are sometimes hard to get rid of. That's why reducing direct sun exposure can allow skin to heal faster, and helps prevent any type of  scarring from acne, burns or cuts.

"I have a few African American patients with melanoma, it's a smaller percentage, but it does happen," said Dr Peredo.

Different skin types have different skin classifications and reactions to sun exposure.

According to Mayo Clinic, "Regardless of your skin type, the sun's energy penetrates deeply into the skin and damages DNA of skin cells. This damage may ultimately lead to skin cancer, including melanoma. Even people with type V or VI skin can develop skin cancer, often on the palms, fingers or other more lightly pigmented areas of their bodies."

Mayo Clinic has developed a chart to help you better understand your reaction to sun exposure:

[Mayo
[Mayo Clinic]

Dr. Hugh Gloster told BBC News that minorities have a higher mortality rate with skin cancer because they aren't diagnosed until the cancer is more advanced and more difficult to treat.

"Your pigment does protect you to some extent, but not completely. UVA/UVB rays will still penetrate your skin, use sunscreen." Dr Nancy Snyderman said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "People of color with malignant melanoma have lousy outcomes, they die, and usually get more virulent cancers."

The amount of SPF needed in sunscreen depends on how tanned your skin is.

"Light; burns moderately; tans gradually (light brown) — Use SPF 8 to 12. Medium; burns minimally; always tans well (moderate brown) Use SPF 4 to 8. Dark; rarely burns; tans profusely (dark brown) — Use SPF 2 to 4," said Dr. Michael Camilleri of the Mayo Clinic. 

 

The bottom line is, regardless of skin color, texture, or type, everyone needs sunscreen. It's a simple step in your everyday routine that could potentially save your life.