You Think You're Immune to Skin Cancer Dendy says that your Italian, African or Hispanic ancestry does not exempt you from skin cancer. While dark skin contains more innate protection than light skin (it has a natural SPF of about 13.4, compared to light skin's 3.4), Engelman says that this often means her more pigmented patients are not as diligent about sun protection and visiting a dermatologist for full body checks. "They wait until something is bleeding or growing," says Engelman.
Engelman says a good rule of thumb for anyone, light or dark, is to get a full body check once a year. "If you have no family history, you're not outside, and you have dark skin, you could maybe go every one and a half to two years," she says. "But really everyone should go every 12 to 18 months."
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