This is a common question among many people. Generally people will see a black (or brown skin, including Asians and some other cultures) woman and guess her age as being younger than what she is. The answer to this question is yes, blacks tend to age slower. This is mostly due to a substance called melanin. The darker the skin, the more melanin a person has. Melanin is almost like having a built in sunblock. It gives people with brown skin a higher level of protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. Melanin acts as a filter to prevent damage to the delicate deeper layers of the skin, by penetrating ultraviolet light. People who have very fair skin have very little to no melanin. This means that if they are out in the sun for any length of time, their skin will burn. Most people with darker skin will not burn when it comes to sun exposure, their skin will just become darker. A person who already has dark skin, often tries not to tan and avoids long sun exposure. Ironically, those who lack a significant amount of melanin can often be found tanning, which is extremely bad for the skin. Tanning causes premature aging, wrinkles and creates a lack of elasticity in the skin.
WHAT IS MELANIN?
Melanin, also known as pigment,
determines our skin, hair and eye color.
Many people should also understand that there is a direct correlation between where a person lives and how light or dark there skin may be. Our body will sometimes adapt to our natural environment as a way of protecting our skin. The general rule is, the darker the skin, the more protection a person has from the sun. The sun at an excess amount can be harmful to ANYONE. Although rare, blacks and people who have darker skin, are susceptible to skin cancer, usually on the palms of their hands and the bottom of their feet. Always be familiar with sun protection and regardless of what shade you are, WEAR SUNSCREEN even on cloudy days.
Written By: Te-Shandra Haskett, MBA
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4,)."