Sun Protection for Black Skin


Growing up, there was a misconception that Black people don’t need sunscreen. We thought we were immune to the damages of the sun since we were already Black. But boy, were we wrong! When I look at the stats, I get scared. According to the National Cancer Institute, Black Americans with skin cancer don’t catch it early enough, which is why skin cancer fatality rates are higher among us than other ethnic groups. We assume that, due to our darker skin tones, we can skip sunscreen altogether. The result? Higher death rates from melanoma, a dangerous skin cancer. We definitely need to know more about sun protection for black skin.

When people with lighter complexions spend time in the sun, their bodies produce melanin, the pigment that gives color to skin and creates a tan. Melanin serves as a natural defense against UV rays. People with dark complexions, especially those of us with olive, brown or black skin, already have a high concentration of melanin in our skin. This high concentration of melanin is responsible for their dark complexions and protects us from burning easily. In fact, as the amount of melanin increases, so does the natural protection from sunburn. But while a higher concentration of melanin provides some sun protection, it doesn’t prevent skin cancer.

I’ve definitely done my share of laying out in the sun, whether it’s at the beach or at a summertime street festival.  And I have those dark, annoying sun spots to prove it. But these days, I know better.  The level of sun protection is the first thing I look at in a daily face moisturizer. I know it’s a bit more expensive, but would you rather have a bunch of brown and black spots on your face and neck in 10 years? Plus premature wrinkles? No thanks!

I’m doing what I can to protect my skin from sun damage. The sun protection product I swear by is Clinique’s City Block Sheer Oil-Free SPF 25. It provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection against the sun’s harmful rays and it won’t clog pores.

So whether you’re going to the beach or just around the corner real quick, slather on some sun protection. Your skin will thank you by not getting sick.

Originally posted on Like, Wutever

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