Daniel from Avalon, New South Wales, Australia asked:

Is it true that people with dark skin can’t get skin cancer?

Different range of skin tones

My friend told me that I can't get skin cancer because I have really dark skin. Should I bother to wear sunscreen?

Our answer

People with naturally very dark skin can still develop skin cancer even if they rarely, if ever, get sunburnt. The larger amount of melanin in very dark skin provides natural protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This means the risk of skin cancer is lower, but there is still a risk. And unfortunately skin cancers in people with darker skin are often found later, at a more advanced stage. Cancer Council Australia recommends all people in Australia limit sun exposure with the UV Index is 3 or above, and use a combination of sun protection measures including shade, clothing (including hats), sunscreen and sunglasses.

This page was last updated on: July 1, 2014

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