African-American Skin Alert
No matter where you fall on the spectrum of dark skin, the most important thing to remember is that sun-induced skin cancer poses a particular risk. Cancerous growths are usually caught at a later (and more dangerous) stage in dark-skinned patients than in others. It's not that questionable spots are trickier to spot on dark skin than they are on light skin; rather, says Dr. Downie, "there's a lack of awareness among women of color that cancer could even be a problem for them." Plus, a lot of doctors aren't being sufficiently trained in skin of color. So you need to be especially vigilant about self-monitoring.
Here are all the classic patterns of potential cancerous growths to look out for: moles and bumps that change shape or color, or that bleed or hurt, or that don't heal. Pay special attention to your palms, soles, and the skin under your nails, areas where there is a higher incidence of melanoma among African-Americans. So remember: Wear SPF 30 (yes, 30!), get an annual skin exam and self-monitor in between those visits.