We’ve all heard the saying “black don’t crack,” and have praised our melanin for being the be-all-end-all solution against the harsh rays of the sun. With that being said, it is a popular thought among the black community, and People Of Color in general, that sunscreen is not needed which is false information. Failing to protect your skin against sun exposure can actually leads to one of the primary concerns of hyperpigmented or discolored skin, not to mention the risk of developing skin cancer. Although individuals with darker skin tones have a lower chance of getting skin cancer, in the cases when it does happen it’s a fact that it get detected at a later stage because of this cultural belief. Be that as it may, there are some very simple steps to take in order to properly protect your skin from sun damage.
Choosing the Right Sunscreen
Any skin expert will tell you hydrated skin is happy skin. Proper hydration is a crucial part of skin health and anti-aging care. Even if your skin is oily, it may still need hydration between the cells. When choosing a sunscreen make sure you find one that’s multi-effective with natural ingredients that help soothe and moisturize your skin and provide broad spectrum protection. In the process you may come across terms that are unfamiliar to you such as “UVA/UVB” Protection and “SPF,” not having a clue what either one means. So you grab the bottle that says SPF 500 because that sounds heavy duty. I mean, why get SPF 15 when there’s an SPF 500, right? The problem with this is the fact that SPF only measures UVB protection, which protects the skin from sunburn but doesn’t prevent deeper levels of damage to the skin (premature aging, cancer, etc) that is caused by UVA rays. When searching for a sunscreen, you really don’t need to go any higher than SPF 30, but you must also make sure that the product you’re buying protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Properly Apply Your Sunscreen
Many people are unaware that there’s a wrong way to apply sunscreen to the body. In order to ensure that the product works properly, it usually needs to be applied at least10-15 minutes BEFORE you go out into the sun. This timeframe gives the skin a chance to fully absorb the product so that it performs at its best. The sunscreen also needs to be reapplied every 2 hours, which is usually the timeframe in which the product begins to fade.
Proper usage of sunscreen is beneficial to everyone, but do not neglect to also take extra precautions such as staying out of direct sunlight from 10 AM -2 PM, and using a hat, sunglasses and clothing as added protection from the sun.