Understanding Damage from Sunlight and Advances in Sun Protection - Episode 4

Gaps in Understanding Skin Damage by the General Population

Susan Taylor, MD, FAAD, addresses gaps in understanding damage to the skin by the general population.

Susan Taylor, MD, FAAD: When we think about rating the general public’s understanding of damage to their skin from sunlight, either UV light or visible light, the understanding is very limited. There are significant myths and misconceptions particularly amongst patients with skin of color. Patients with skin of color think that the melanin in their skin completely protects them from UV damage. I don’t think that they are aware of the damage that occurs from visible light. Caucasian populations and some Asian populations understand the damage to the skin, particularly as it relates to the development of skin cancer as well as lentigines, sunspots, and the overall darkening of the skin. There is variation in the public’s understanding of the damage to their skin from sunlight. Some populations are more aware of the damage and how to prevent it, and others much less so.

Our populations of skin color have little understanding of the damage to their skin from sunlight. Many populations with skin of color feel that their skin does not burn and that is a misconception. Many populations with skin of color do not understand the harmful effects of visible light, particularly as it relates to hyperpigmentation and pigmentary disorders. Unfortunately, that understanding is limited, and it falls on dermatologists to educate those patient populations.

Transcript Edited for Clarity