Light Vs. Dark Skin
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, perceptions are influenced by perceptions of beauty in cultures around the world, and lighter skin is usually preferable to darker skin. An article in Psychology Today suggests that people might unconsciously associate light skin with positive ideas like goodness or light, and might unconsciously associate skin darkness with uncertainty and scary figures.
A pigment in the outer layer of your skin called melanin produces your skin color. Cells in the outer layer of your skin produce two forms of melanin called pheomelanin and eumelanin. Pheomelanin is red to yellow in color, and eumelnin is dark to brown or black. The number of size of these melanin particles in your skin influence your skin color more than the percentage of pheomelanin and eumelanin in your skin.
Melanin in your skin protects your body from the harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause sunburn and melanoma or skin cancer. People whose ancestors lived closer to the equator usually have darker skin. According to anthropological information published on Palomar College's website, populations that developed around Earth's tropical latitudes experience more intense exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Prior to mass global migrations that occurred over the last 500 years, the majority of dark-skinned people lived within 20 degrees of the equator.
People descended from populations that developed farther from the equator might have lower concentrations of melanin in their skin. Most people with light skin lived north of Earth's 20-degree latitude before mass global migrations that occurred in the last 500 years. Palomar College anthropology data indicates that some light-skinned Europeans in the northwest portion of the continent do not have the ability to tan. These people have skin that produces a defective form of a skin protein that supports melanin production.
Dark Skin Cancer
Dark skin color reduces your risk for developing skin cancer, because the higher concentrations of melanin in your skin provide more protection from UV radiation. However, according to the BBC News, people with dark skin are more likely to die from skin cancer. Dark skin might increase your chances of developing skin cancer on lighter parts of your body such as the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. Skin cancer might be more aggressive if you have dark skin. Or dark skin might increase your risk of dying from skin cancer because you are slower to recognize and treat it because of the misconception that dark skin provides immunity from skin cancer.
Light Skin Cancer
According to information published on the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website, light skin color increases your risk for developing skin cancer. Lower concentrations of melanin in your skin provide less protection from UV radiation emitted by the sun. Light-skinned people who have lost the ability to tan due to a defective skin protein have skin that burns and peels more easily that dark skin. These people are at a particularly high risk for developing skin cancer.
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