True or false, people with darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen. If you said true, you would be wrong. Growing up, many Black kids, Latino kids, and children of color heard this phrase. We watched while our camp counselors ensured that our white counterparts had ample sun protection while we didn’t. But that narrative is not only false but dangerous.
The rate of skin cancer diagnosis is proportional to the pigment in the skin. That explains why just 1-2% of all skin cancers occur in Blacks, 2-4% occur in Asians, and 4-5% in Hispanics. However, many darker-skinned patients think they won’t get skin cancer. So by the time they see a provider for a suspicious spot, the cancer is more advanced and difficult to treat.
People with darker skin tones have a natural SPF of 13 — but when it comes to the sun’s damaging effects, the power of melanin is hugely overstated. For one, the natural SPF of 13 that some Black people have in their skin is a lot less than the daily use of an SPF 30 or higher that dermatologists recommend for sun protection. Melanin in darker skin can only “protect from some of that [UV] damage.” Melanin may not be able to protect the skin from UVA rays as well as it protects skin from UVB rays.
So if you haven’t grasped the point we’re driving at, it’s that people of color NEED sun protection. This summer, whether you're headed to the beach, the park, or just running errands, please be sure to apply an SPF, especially on more exposed areas of your body including your face and arms. But are you unsure of what sunscreens would be good for you?
Here are our top sunscreens for summer:
This sunscreen was made with darker women in mind! It doesn't leave that annoying white cast and is super hydrating. And for a price point of around $16 - it can’t be beaten!
This sunscreen has an SPF of 30 and is tinted, providing light coverage while beating those UV rays! This is also water-resistant, so head on over to the beach or pool with it on and you’ll be golden!
I am a lover of all things CeraVe from their facewash to moisturizer, and their sunscreen is no exception. One thing I love about their sunscreen is that it is a mineral sunscreen v chemical (to learn more about the difference, view this article HERE). And, it leaves your face feeling smooth and cast-free!
One thing about me is that I love Fenty products! This SPF is not only vegan, but it’s super lightweight and has hints of melon in it!
So go outside and enjoy the sun, but don't forget your SPF!