Indian skin tone don’t need sunscreen, myth proven wrong

The sun emits a spectrum of rays, among which ultraviolet (UV) rays are harmful to the skin. These rays can penetrate the skin layers and cause varying degrees of damage. In a country like India, where the sun is intense throughout the year, the question arises – Is sunscreen necessary for Indian skin tones?

Indian skin tone not needing sunscreen myth
Indian Skin tone, A lady applying sunscreen lotion

The Common Indian Skin tone myth

Indian Skin tone
Image: Indian Skin tone/ Vogue

Firstly, it’s a common myth that darker or more pigmented skin doesn’t need sunscreen. While it’s true that melanin provides some natural protection against UV rays, this protection is not absolute. The melanin in Indian skin does provide a slight buffer but at an SPF equivalent of about 13 or lower, which is not enough to fully protect against UV radiation.

Sunscreen plays a crucial role in guarding the skin against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are responsible for premature aging and wrinkle formation, while UVB rays cause sunburns. Both UVA and UVB have been linked to skin cancer. Even though people with darker skin tones have a lower risk of developing skin cancer compared to those with lighter skin, the risk still exists. Moreover, when cancer does develop in darker-skinned individuals, it tends to be detected at a later, more dangerous stage.

Where did the Myth come from?

The myth came contrary from the fact of of Indians having a brownish and darker skin-tone which said to be already a better protection from the UV rays of the sun. Unfortunately, the sun rays are capable enough of to cause skin burns on darker skin tone as well. AS per a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that darker skin tone people were likely to get sunburns as compared to more fairer people. The white people’s population seemed to have higher rates of sunburns as compared to darker skin tones.

The report as per the CDC statistics on people from different background to get at least one sunburn concluded in 2012:

  1. Approximately 38% of Hispanic women and 32% of Hispanic men
  2. Around 66% of white women and over 65%percent of white men
  3. 13% of black women and 9% of black men

How to find out if you are under risk of skin burn

To find out if you are under the risk of having a skin burn , a method is used to find that out, the Fitzpatrick scale. The Fitzpatrick scale is divided into 6 types from high risk to sun burn to low risk to sun burn.

TypeSun Burn
Type 1Ivory skin resulting in freckles and serious sun burn
Type 2Pale skin resulting in burn further causing it to peel off but tans to a minimum
Type 3Fair to wheat skin resulting in less frequent sun burns
Type 4Light brown skin resulting in seldom burns, but tends to tan easily
Type 5Moderate brown skin resulting in rare burns but tans easily with higher chances of skin getting darker
Type 6Dark brown skin, burns very rarely but hast the highest rate of getting significantly darker than other skin tons
The Fitzpatrick scale

What SPF is suited for Indian skin tone

When it comes to choosing the right SPF for Indian skin tones, it is important to understand the unique needs and characteristics of this specific skin type. Indian skin tends to have higher levels of melanin, which offers some natural protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. However, it is still essential to use sunscreen to prevent sun damage, premature aging, and the risk of skin cancer.

For Indian skin tones, it is generally recommended to opt for a sunscreen with a minimum SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30. This level of SPF provides adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays. However, individuals with extremely fair or sensitive skin may consider using a higher SPF, such as 50 or above.

Additionally, considering the hot and humid climate in many parts of India, it is important to select a sunscreen that is lightweight, non-greasy, and easily absorbed by the skin. Look for sunscreens that are labeled as “non-comedogenic” to avoid clogging the pores and causing breakouts.

In terms of formulation, Indian skin can benefit from sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum protection, meaning they shield against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for ingredients like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, or Mexoryl SX for effective UVA protection.

While choosing a sunscreen, it is also essential to consider other factors such as water resistance, sweat resistance, and reapplication frequency. Indian skin may need more frequent reapplication due to sweat and humidity, especially if you are spending prolonged periods outdoors.

It should also be noted that only by applying sunscreen won’t help you in staying free from harmful UVA and UVB rays. By staying out of the sun during its highest peak hours and wearing protective gears such as sun glasses which protect the eyes and hat which protect the head and face form serving sever sun burns. It is recommended to also wear cotton as it helps in controlling heat as well as soaks the sweat which in turn allows you to remain comfortable at all times.

By selecting a sunscreen with an appropriate SPF and following proper sun care practices, you can keep your Indian skin safe and healthy while enjoying time outdoors doing the things you like such as trekking and playing sports.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *