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Your skin is always with you, and it’s as important to who you are as the breaths you take. It’s the first layer of protection from the outside world and one of the primary ways we learn about the world around us.
Just think about how different life would be if we couldn’t feel things. There’d be no more soft fabrics or tender kisses. Holding hands would be worth almost nothing. We couldn’t even feel our cheeks lift when we smile. The world would lose part of its depth, and we would lose part of the reason we live rich, fulfilled lives.
Your skin is more than you.
Black history month is here, and part of what that means is that we reflect on the past and look to the future. It’s a wonder that, for most of human history, people thought skin color was enough to understand a person and decide what they deserved. Of course, that’s not true.
But what is true is that skin color is (forgive the pun) more than skin deep. Skin color is a symbol of your heritage. We all know that we inherit our features from our parents, who inherited their features from their parents, and so on. That means that our feature, including skin color, are the result of generations upon generations of inheritance.
The story of you is the story of the mixing and merging of other people who lived in vastly different times and places. It’s a story of triumph and of tragedy, with a hefty dose of comedy to boot. What all this means is that our skin is more than just an outer covering; it’s something that connects us to our past.
Alice Walker is an author most famous for writing /The Color Purple/. However, she’s also written some wonderful short stories. One of the best is the story “Everyday Use.” The story’s theme is that heritage is not about the relics we sit on shelves or about the actual history of our people, region, or country. Walker says that heritage is about those things we use every day.
The idea is that it’s not that important if your mother knew how to sew; what matters is if she taught you. These things matter because they are what we use every day. They seem mundane, but they are the most important parts of the connection we have to our past. And if we understand our past, we can better appreciate the present and better conquer the future.
Everyday use will create meaning in deeper ways than almost anything else. Think about it. Who taught us to drive, talk, think, and love? It was the people in our lives that showed us what it meant to live, and that’s special in ways nothing else can be.
So, aside form the obvious things we do, what else is used every day that connects us to our past? The answer is simple: our skin.
Protect what matters
If our skin is so important, why don’t we protect it? Especially with darker skin tones, the general trend is to avoid wearing sunscreen because it isn’t “needed.” However, is that true?
The short answer is no. Rich skin tones are just as vulnerable to the sun’s rays as fair skin. Sunburns are an excellent reason for the fair-skinned to wear sunscreen, but there are plenty of reasons for the darker-skinned as well.
- To begin, keeping skin healthy is part of our constant struggle to maintain a link to our heritage. We protect the things that matter like family heirlooms. Why do we not protect our skin?
- Secondly, hyperpigmentation is real and a problem. When too much sunlight reaches sensitive skin cells, discoloration occurs. That discoloration makes certain spots of skin darker, and it is called hyperpigmentation. It can be easily avoided by wearing sunscreen.
To keep your skin looking great use your broad spectrum every day.