Sunburn and sun protection in black skin

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BackgroundPeople with black skin are much less susceptible to sunburn than white-skinned individuals, yet there are scarce data on self-reported incidence of sunburn and sun protection measures in people with deeply-pigmented skin.MethodAn on-line survey tool was used to collect self-assessed data about demographic variables, sunburn incidence, and use of sun protection modalities.ResultsTwo-thirds of respondents with black skin living in the UK claimed never to have been sunburnt; a much higher proportion than those living in South Africa and Nigeria where 34 and 46%, respectively, reported never experiencing sunburn. Similar results were seen in the reported use of sun protection measures between the countries with two-thirds of black people living in the UK claiming they never used any form of sun protection compared with about one-third of Black Africans. Black people living in the UK were more likely to use sunscreen as a form of sun protection, whereas sunscreen was the least popular modality in the two African countries with shade being the most common form of limiting sun exposure.ConclusionThe findings provide some insight into the complexities of skin color perception, incidence of sunburn, and sun protection use among people with deeply-pigmented skin living in three countries with large differences in the solar UV environment.

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