These Women Are Tackling a Hidden Health Problem Black People Should Know About

May 12th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

Chinelo Chidozie was vacationing in Key West, Florida when she had an experience common among black people.

chinelo chidozie

"I realized I was spending a lot of time outdoors in the sun and that I should probably get sunscreen," she told ATTN: via email. She said that she bought two different brands to try out, but in the end she was disappointed.

"I got back to my hotel and was so frustrated because they both were not wearable, they both left a white cast on me," she said.

That's when Chinelo and her sister Ndidi decided it was time to create a sunscreen specifically for black skin through their beauty line "Bolden."

"That frustration led to the birth of our brand," she said.


Chinelo said that the lack of consideration for black skin by major sunscreen brands can be an obstacle to the black community wearing sunscreen, which can create serious health risks.

Contrary to popular belief, black People need sunscreen too.






Although it's true that white people are more likely to get skin cancer, the disease is actually more deadly for black people, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Because of the misconception that black people's skin contains too much melanin to get cancer from the sun, black Americans are diagnosed with cancer much later, and have a lower survival rate.

"It’s of concern that 63 percent of African American participants in a survey said they never used sunscreen," stated a report on the Skin Cancer Foundation's website in August, 2016.

One black woman who had been diagnosed with a form of melanoma told The Washington Post that she previously thought of it as a white person's disease. “Whenever I heard the word, my mind would automatically think: ‘Caucasian,’ ’’ Betty Jordan told the Post in 2014. “It was something I never worried about.’’

Maral Skelsey, a surgeon and skin cancer specialist and head of the Georgetown University Medical Center’s dermatologic surgery center said that his black patients were shocked they could get skin cancer. “It’s true that the vast majority of melanomas occur in fair-skinned people, but it’s important to know that dark-skinned people can get skin cancer, too,’’ Skelsey told the Post. “They often are dismissed by their general physicians in terms of risk. I hear it so often: ‘No one told me I could get skin cancer.’ ’’

Sunscreen also makes you look better as you get older.

Multi-year research published in 2013 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that in a study of 900 adults, the ones who were instructed to use sunscreen daily aged 24 percent less that those given no instructions. It was considered unethical to instruct the control group not to use sunscreen, according to CNN.

Chidozie said that beyond the risk of cancer, sun exposure can cause wrinkles.

"Our number 1 anti-aging recommendation to everyone is to wear sunscreen every-day, not just on beach day, but every day," she said. "If you’ll be stepping into the sun you should be wearing sunscreen."

RELATED: The Scary Reason These Women Made a Sunblock Specifically for Black Skin