Can Brown Skin Get Sunburned?

A lot of people think that because brown skin has more melanin, it can’t get sunburned. However, this isn’t true.

Brown skin can absolutely get sunburned, and if you’re not careful you could end up with a bad sunburn. It’s important to remember that just because your skin is brown doesn’t mean you can’t get sunburn.

Prolonged exposure to sunlight increases the risk of getting sunburned and the type of skin tone a person has contributes to how much and how fast sunburn can occur. Darker skin tones have more melanin, which is a natural sunblock and can help to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays to a certain extent.

While some persons believe people with darker skin tones are somehow protected from sun damage, that isn’t the case and it’s still important to take precautions.

Can Brown Skin Get Sunburned?

Anyone can suffer skin issues due to prolonged exposure to sunlight even though some factors may influence how it happens. So, if you’re planning on being in the sun for an extended period of time, it’s important to wear sunscreen, regardless of your skin tone.

Sun Burn

Sunburn happens when your skin is exposed to too much sunshine for an extended period of time. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation penetrates the skin, damaging the cells. This causes inflammation and the skin may become red, swollen, and blister

People with lighter skin tones tend to burn more quickly and severely than those with darker skin tones. However, all skin types can suffer sunburn and it’s important to be aware of the risks and take precautions.

The obvious cause of sunburn is the sun which emits three ultraviolet wavelengths; UVA, UVB, and UVC.

UVC does not reach the ground, so we are exposed to the other two types A and B, which penetrate the skin and might induce skin damage.

The rate at which a person gets sunburned depends on a few factors which include how hot the sun is, the time of exposure to sunlight, and the person’s skin tone. A Caucasian woman will experience the signs of sunburn faster than a brown-skinned female in the same condition.


There are several ways to prevent sunburn, including:

  • Wearing sunscreen: Sunscreen should be applied liberally and often, especially if you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period of time. Make sure to choose a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and is specifically designed for use on the face.
  • Staying in the shade: If you can’t avoid being in the sun, tryto stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Wearing a hat: A wide-brimmed hat can help to protect your face,ears, and neck from the sun.
  • Wearing sunglasses: Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, but they can also help to prevent crow’s feet.
  • Avoiding peak hours: The sun is at its strongest from 10am to 4pm, so try to avoid being outdoors during those times if you can.
  • Drinking plenty of water: It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re spending time in the sun, and drinking plenty of water will help to keep you cool and reduce your risk of sunburn.

Signs of sunburn

Once sunburn begins to develop, it becomes more evident 12 to 24 hours later. The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of sunburn:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Blistering
  • Peeling

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention.

It’s also possible to experience flu-like symptoms, including nausea, weakness, chills, and headache. Subsequently, the skin will become itchy and begin peeling.

Treating a sunburn

If you do end up getting sunburn, there are some things you can do to help relieve the pain and inflammation. These include:

  • Applying a cold compress: A cold compress can help to soothe the skin and reduce the swelling.
  • Drinking lots of fluids: Staying hydrated is essential when you’re sunburned, so drink plenty of water, juice, and sports drinks.
  • Taking ibuprofen: Ibuprofen can help to reduce the inflammation and pain.
  • Avoiding the sun: Try to avoid the sun as much as possible until the sunburn has healed.
  • Apply aloe: Applying aloe vera juice or gel to the sunburn can help to soothe the skin and reduce the inflammation. Aloe is known to be anti-inflammatory so it soothes the skin and prevents the burn from getting worse.
  • Moisturize: It’s important to keep the skin moisturized when you have sunburn, so use a lotion or cream that is designed for sensitive skin.

It’s also important to remember that sunburn will take time to heal, so be patient.

Is SPF 15 enough for black skin?

Many people will turn to sunscreen as their go-to protection from the sun’s harmful rays. But is SPF 15 enough protection for black skin? While it’s important to protect your skin from the sun year-round, summer is a great time to focus on ways to properly protect your skin from the sun’s damaging effects.

Black skin is better protected against UVB radiation, so a sunscreen with SPF 15-30 is likely to be sufficient. However, it’s still important to reapply sunscreen often, especially if you’re swimming or sweating.

In addition to using sunscreen, there are other ways to protect your skin from the sun. Wearing a hat, sunglasses, and clothing that covers your skin will help to shield your skin from the sun’s rays.

So, whether you have black skin or another type of brown skin, be sure to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays this summer.

Can Olive Skin Get Sun Burn?

The olive skin tone is found amongst the mid to darker complexions on the famous Fitzpatrick scale and it’s commonly believed that darker complexions are protected from sun damage.

This is true to a degree; people with olive skin have some protection from sunlight due to the presence of a skin pigment called melanin produced by special skin cells known as melanocytes.

This pigment helps to protect the skin from ultraviolet rays.

So, can olive skin get sunburned? The answer is yes. Although they have some natural protection against the sun, it’s still important for olive complexioned people to protect themselves from the harmful rays by using sunscreen, staying in the shade, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

People with olive complexion are less likely to get sunburned than their white counterparts, but they get tanned easily. This doesn’t mean they aren’t at any risk of experiencing sunburn, it simply means it takes a longer time for it to happen as they have some protection against it.

The darker ones’ complexion is, the less likely it is for such a person to experience sunburn. However, spending hours in intense sunlight increases the risk of getting sunburn.

Olive-skinned people are at risk of getting sunburned as well so they should also protect themselves. Ways to protect oneself from the sun are by using sunscreen, staying in the shade, wearing a hat and sunglasses, and avoiding peak hours

There are many commercial sunscreen products that cater to people of color. It is important to select one with an SPF rating of 30 or more. And don’t forget to reapply every two hours. 

Final Thoughts

Sunburn affects people of varying complexions differently. However, we all need to protect ourselves from the adverse effects of sun damage.

So, whether you have black skin, olive skin, or another complexion, make sure to use sunscreen and other forms of sun protection when you’re spending time in the sun. Sunburn can affect anyone, no matter what their skin color is. The best way to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is by using sunscreen, staying in the shade, wearing a hat and sunglasses, and avoiding peak hours.

Doing so can help reduce your risk of skin cancer, premature aging, and other issues.

So, enjoy the sun but be sure to take the necessary precautions to protect your skin!