Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?

Am I at risk for skin cancer if I have medium-dark skin, tan easily, and have never burned?

girl in blue and yellow bikini
(Image credit: Chloe Webber)

Absolutely. The melanin in darker skin protects it mostly from the burning UVB rays but offers less protection from the UVA ones that penetrate deeper, causing not only photo-aging (wrinkles, sagging, and brown spots), but melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer. It's actually the second-most common cancer in women ages 20 to 29. And Bob Marley died from it, which surprises people. Since cancer is often not suspected and therefore not diagnosed in darker-skinned people until it's far along, there's a higher fatality rate than for those with fair skin, who tend to get tested more regularly. Annual skin-cancer screenings and religious sunscreen use are critical for everyone.