After our skin gets sunburn, it turns tan. No, the reason we turn tan is not because God wants us to be beautiful, the reason we turn tan is because this is the body’s defensive mechanism to decrease additional sun damage. When we turn tan we make more melanin in the skin and melanin is a very good sunscreen. It really helps to absorb ultraviolet energy, and this is your body’s way of adapting to the damage and trying to decrease additional damage from additional ultra-violet radiation. Natural extension of this issue is, if someone has a lot of melanin pigment in their skin, do they need to wear sunscreen? So, I’m often questioned by African Americans with skin tones from light to dark whether or not they need to wear sunscreen and the answer is Yes, that they do. A medium toned African American skin color actually has a natural UVB protection of between 13 and 16 SPF. That means there’s protection against 80-90% of the UVB light. We also believe that that same melanin protects against a lot of UVA radiation. Although we don’t have as good of numbers on a quantitative analysis, we do know though that African American seems to photo-age much later and much more slowly than Caucasian skin. But the bottom line is, while there is moderate sun protection by the extra melanin pigment, there’s not complete protection and since sun damage is really based on an accumulation of small amounts of damage, even African Americans need to wear sunscreen to completely protect themselves or maximally protect themselves from the photo-aging effects of ultra violet and from the skin cancer causing effects of ultra-violet light.