Do Black people need sunscreen? This is a common question a lot of Black people ask. And if you type this question in your search engine, the thousands of results you’ll get will say a resounding Yes!
However, a lot of Black people wonder how they’re going to get sunburned if they’re already dark in complexion. But that’s not the main problem here. According to almost every certified aesthetician out there, the sun’s damaging rays don’t discriminate. Dr Maritza Perez says – “Ultraviolet (UV) rays aren’t colour-blind, so they hit all skin with equal strength”. She added that darker skin contains more melanin (the pigment that gives the skin its colour) compared to lighter skin. This helped block the rays from penetrating the skin and doing much damage. However, even the darkest skin provides only about an SPF 13 which is not enough to protect.
So if you’re still wondering if you need sunscreen; if you get enough sun exposure (no one knows how much), your skin will be damaged. And this could even lead to skin cancer.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. They explained that the benefits of black people wearing sunscreen are that it helps minimize skin discolouration and premature wrinkling. In other words, the dark spots, uneven skin tone that you worry about will get worse if you skip sunscreen. This is one of the reasons why regular use of sunscreen is highly recommended.
ANy history of sunburn can be linked to a higher risk of developing skin cancer. And all people of all ethnicities are susceptible to burning. In a 2018 study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology, researchers surveyed 31,162 people about their sun protection habits. They found that 13% of Black people and 30% of Hispanics had experienced sunburn in the past year. Redness, the tell-tale sign of sunburn for white people, might not be as evident on darker skin, but skin can still feel hot, tight, and painful.
And even if you don’t burn, unprotected time in the sun can still result in damage. According to Mona Gohara, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine; “Any acquired tan, either in white or brown skin, is a sign that the skin is being damaged by the sun.” The UV rays that cause a tan or burn can also make your skin look older.
Here’s Tito Madu Ibeleme of T.Alamode Beauty on the top 5 skincare products she would recommend for dark skin.
Thus, it’s time dark people develop the habit of wearing sunscreen! Convinced yet?