why do blacker skin tones get less sunburns(in general) than whiter ones (when the blacker colours would absorb more light)


shouldnt the darker tones absorb more light (hence heating up and burning more?)

In: Biology

Darker skin tones have more melanin than lighter ones, meaning they’re better protected from the sun. But melanin isn’t immune to all UV rays, so there’s still some risk. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found black people were the least likely to get sunburned.

That is exactly what prevents sunburns. The darker skin, higher melanin content, absorbs more of the damaging UV instead of letting it pass to the squishy flesh beneath.

so like others said, melanin is the key here. melanin is produced by specialized skin cells, and creates a “shield” around the nucleus of the neighbouring skin cells, protecting the DNA. People with darker skin tend to live in places with a lot of sun all year round (around the equator) and need the extra protection against sun damage.

white people, on the other hand, have less of those melanin-producing skin cells because they live in places with less sun (far from the equator). But why not go the default of protecting against the sun? because darker skin is less effective in making vitamin D from UV rays, and people who live in the north need all the vitamin D they can get, so their skin was optimized for vitamin D synthesis 🙂

loll i get nerdy about science, sorry if that was a lot!!

edit: optimized by evolution, ofc

The darker your skin tone, the more melanin you have, and melanin protects you from the sun.