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The British journal of dermatology


Skin of colour or pigmented skin has unique characteristics: it has a higher eumelanin-to-pheomelanin ratio, more mature melanosomes, an increased amount of melanin distributed in the upper layers of the epidermis, and more efficient DNA repair compared with lighter skin. However, individuals with skin of colour are at a significant risk of skin damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, including the development of photodermatoses and photoageing changes such as uneven skin tone, and are predisposed to pigmentary disorders. In fact, one of the most common conditions leading to dermatology consultations by patients with skin of colour is photoexacerbated pigmentary disorders. Unfortunately, individuals with skin of colour may be less prone to engage in photoprotective measures, including the use of sunscreens. Physicians are also less likely to prescribe sunscreens for them. There is thus a clear need for better education on photodamage and for more efficient and suitable photoprotection in populations with skin of colour. However, this need has thus far only partially been met, and the development of sunscreen products designed to provide optimal photoprotection for people with skin of colour remains a challenge. Targeted sunscreens for individuals with skin of colour require optimal cosmetic appeal (leaving no white residue and not disrupting skin tone). They should include broad-spectrum [ultraviolet (UV)B/UVA] protection with high sun protection factor, as well as protection against long-wave UVA (UVA1) and visible light, as these wavelengths are capable of inducing or augmenting pigmentary disorders. They may also contain depigmenting agents for patients with pigmentary disorders.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Ultraviolet Rays; Sunscreening Agents; Skin Pigmentation; Skin; Skin Diseases; Pigmentation Disorders

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