In the black community it’s a common misconception that our melanin-infused skin completely eliminates the need for sunscreen as protection. Yes, darker skin does protect from some UV rays, but we actually do need to wear sunscreen too.
Skin cancer and aging lines don’t discriminate. Every skin tone on earth is at risk of being dried out, aged and burnt by the sun. It’s not too late to properly take care of your melanin.
Let’s take a moment to explore the reasons why sunscreen is a must, even for darker skin tones.
Why Your Melanin Needs Sun Protection
For a long time, there has been a misconception that because we have more melanin on our skin, we’re fully protected from the harmful rays of the sun.
However, the truth is, despite the fact that we have far more protection than our fair brothers and sisters, we have less than we need for full protection from UV rays.
The human skin needs at least a sunscreen with SPF 30 to fully protect from harmful UV rays. That puts us as black folks at a deficit of about SPF 17 because our melanin only provides an SPF of 13.
Knowing that that black skin only provides SPF of 13, goes to show that indeed, black people need to wear sunscreen as much as Caucasians do. We may be protected to a certain degree, but we’re still susceptible to the harms caused by the sun’s rays.
This alone is good enough reason why you should buy sunscreen for your melanin skin. Skin cancer effects both lighter skin and darker skin tones. Your skin protectant blocks UV light up to SPF 13. This isn’t as strong as the sunscreen (SPF 30 is recommended) which is created for skin protection.
That means cancer can and will develop in your skin, if not properly protected. Studies also show that we are more likely to die from skin cancer than those with lighter skin. Melanated people are simply more likely to die from skin cancer because we aren’t looking for the signs and don’t take the necessary precautions to prevent skin cancers.
You can find important information on skin cancer and melanin on Health Care’s website.
The Benefits of Sunscreen on Black Skin
Protects You from Melanoma & Skin Cancer
UV exposure is one of the major causes of melanoma and skin cancer. And while we might have twice as much protection as Caucasians thanks to our melanin, research shows that black folks are among the most vulnerable populations.
Part of the reason for this is the widespread belief that we don’t need sunscreen. Because of this belief, most of us don’t even look out for signs of skin damage until it’s too late.
As a result, studies show that black people have a higher tendency than Caucasians of presenting with advanced skin cancers at diagnosis. The only way of avoiding being part of this statistic is to start using sunscreen formulated for dark skin regularly.
Protects from Premature Aging & Wrinkling
One of the benefits of dark skin is the ability to look as if you haven’t aged a day. You want to keep these good looks, right? Don’t let the sun dry out your skin creating fine lines and wrinkles. It’s simply not worth it when you can purchase sunscreen designed specifically for people of color.
Unlike regular sunscreens, broad-spectrum sunscreens blocks both UVB and UVA rays, protecting you from sunburn as well as premature aging.
Sagging skin will become a reality if sunscreen isn’t used while you’re in the sun. This is especially true for those who live in areas like Texas, Florida and other places where the sun always shines.
Protects Skin from Uneven Tone & Dark Spots
We all want to maintain smooth and flawless skin as long as possible. One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy, smooth, and soft is to use sunscreen regularly.
Sunlight also creates uneven skin tones and dark spots which can be totally avoided with a little sun screen. Aging spots and lines aren’t the only thing to worry about. Your skin will lose tone, and volume.
It’s essential to understand that not all sunscreens are created equal. For the best results, studies and dermatologists recommend that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.
Protects from Unwanted Sunburn and Sun Damage
If you’ve never experienced a sunburn or sun damage lucky you. It’s the worst feeling and seeing your skin peel right before your eyes is pretty weird. Sunburns can happen on all skin tones.
When it comes to sunburns, it certainly takes longer for dark-skinned folks. However, exposure for a longer time means we can eventually develop sunburn, which leads to unsightly peeling of the skin.
Take the extra precaution of choosing the right sunscreen designed for your skin type. It doesn’t hurt to take these measures. In the long run your skin will truly thank you.
While you’re in the sun your skin will become tanner and darker, everyone knows this but do you know why? The tanning effect isn’t really a tan — it’s a sign of skin damage from the sun. Your body produces more melanin in effort to protect that previous outer layer of skin.
Which Sunscreen Should I Use?
Your melanin is amazing. It performs super hero like duties but unfortunately it cannot completely protect you from harmful UV rays. Take the time to research skin cancer in African Americans and purchase a daily sunscreen formula, made with your skin in mind. Your face and body will thank you.
- Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing SPF 30 – Filled with ingredients that will protect your skin from the sun, our SPF 30 doubles as a moisturizing lotion that dries completely clear. Making it perfect to use before any outdoor activity or as a primer under your favorite makeup products.
- Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Matte™ SPF 45 – Black Girl Sunscreen’s lightweight, gel formula protects against sun damage leaving no white residue and a mattifying finish for oily skin. Make it Matte is a broad-spectrum SPF 45 infused with ingredients such as aloe, squalene, and shea butter that help moisturize, soothe and heal your skin.
- Black Girl Sunscreen Make it Hybrid™ SPF 50 – Black Girl Sunscreen’s lightweight mineral and synthetic formula with zinc-oxide is designed to protect against sun damage leaving no white residue and a dewy finish.
- BGS Kids SPF 50 – BGS Kids is an everyday SPF 50 moisturizing sunscreen lotion for face and body. Our sunscreen protects against harmful UVA/UVB rays and has eliminated all sticky white residue. Soothes, moisturizes, protects, hydrates and heals your child’s skin.
- *Bonus* Make It Pop™ Sun Gloss – A revolutionary sun gloss for protected, glossy, and poppin’ lips. Formulated with Broad Spectrum SPF 50, hyaluronic acid, tripeptides, and jojoba. This sun gloss will make you feel good and look good while protecting your lips from the sun.
We’re fortunate to have a layer of protection against the sun thanks to our melanin. But as studies continue to shed light on the effects of the sun on all skin tones, sunscreens have become a daily necessity.