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By  Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD
Suzanne Connolly, MD, FAAD
Sandra Read, MD, FAAD
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, or from artificial light sources, can be divided into longer wavelength UVA, which causes tanning and wrinkling of the skin, and shorter wavelength UVB, which causes sunburn.

  • Remember: “A” in UVA stands for skin aging, “B” in UVB for sunburn.

  • SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a reflection on how well the sunscreen product protects the skin from redness caused by sun exposure. It is therefore an assessment of protection against the effect of UVB.

  • Because of the propensity for tanning, minor blemishes in ethnic skin types can become quite dark and noticeable, primarily because of the tanning response upon exposure to sunlight.

  • Therefore, it is important for ethnic skin types to select good broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against the effect of UVB and UVA. Look for products SPF of 15 or above that contain avobenzone (Parson 1789), ecamsule (Mexoryl SX), titanium dioxide, and/or zinc oxide.

  • The use of sunscreens is only one component of photoprotection. Proper photoprotection should include seeking shade during the peak UV hours (10AM to 4PM), the use of protective clothing, wide-brimmed hat, sunscreens, and sunglasses.

  • For those concerned about vitamin D insufficiency, balanced diet, vitamin D fortified food and drink, and vitamin D3 supplement can be considered.

"America's Ethnic Skin: an Al Roker Health Special" was sponsored by
AMBI ® Skincare through a grant from Johnson& Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.

Women's Dermatologic Society
Toll-Free: 1-877-WDS-ROSE (937-7673)
eMail: wds@womensderm.org | www.playsafeinthesun.org

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