Skin Tones

Skin Type & Sun Exposure: What you need to know.

Author: Dr David Shaw, a skin and cosmetic GP at Kingscliff Health medical and allied health centre in Kingscliff, NSW.

Ok, lets start with the obvious – fair skin generally has a higher skin cancer risk.  However, some people with darker skin may be unlucky enough to have a different genetic predisposition to skin cancer.

Melanin, the pigment in skin, absorbs UV rays from the sun which may otherwise cause skin cancer and photo-ageing (pigmentation, thinning and fine wrinkles).  As an added bonus, darker-skinned individuals also have a greater ability to repair sun-related DNA damage.

So are there any benefits from having fair skin?

Yes! Fair skin is better at using the sun’s UV rays to synthesize Vitamin D.  This is really important as Vitamin D is essential for many body functions including bone health and mood.

Fair skin is also better at regulating the immune system through very short sun exposures.  Science has recently discovered that small amounts of sun exposure will damp down immune system overactivity thus reducing or preventing some autoimmune conditions.  This is a ‘watch this space’ area where new research discoveries are ongoing.

Dr David Shaw is a highly experienced skin and cosmetic GP with areas of interest in dermatology, skin cancer checks, skin cancer surgery, and cosmetic injectables. Book an appointment online with Dr David Shaw or call us on 02 6670 1400.

* The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. You must consult your doctor before acting on the information in this article, especially if you have concerns regarding health related issues for yourself and your family.

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