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 for us. 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 them 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.
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 products I swear by are Clinque’s Sun Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Face Cream or Super City Block Oil-Free Daily Face Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 40. I also think Neutrogena has a great selection of sun protection products that are great for oily skin that’s also sensitive. Right now I’m using Moisture Oil Free SPF 30. 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.
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