Dark skin is not immune to the damaging effects of UV rays, nor to skin cancer. Cancer is harder to detect on darker skin, and by the time it is discovered, it may have progressed much further. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone, regardless of skin color, protect their skin by wearing sunscreen year-round.
Melanin is the pigment found in skin cells. There are two types of melanin which have visibly different effects on skin pigmentation. Eumelanin produces dark brown pigmentation and is the primary melanin type in individuals with darkly pigmented skin. The second type of melanin is Pheomelanin, which is a red-yellow colored pigment and the primary type of melanin in fair skinned individuals who are prone to sunburn. Eumelanin offers better protection from the sun’s UV rays compared to pheomelanin.
Melanin levels are also determined by behaviors which influence exposure to the sun, because the body produces more melanin when it is exposed to the sun. An individual who is exposed to the sun more often will develop more darkly pigmented or tanned skin over time then they would if they were to remain indoors all day.
Who Said Black Don’t Crack?
It is a common misconception that women of color do not need to use SPF to protect their skin. That could not be further from the truth. It is found that 63% of black women do not use sunscreen at all. Though black women age gracefully; thanks to genetics and the beautiful melanin in brown and black skin, black does crack. The melanin in your skin is very protective, however it does need to be protected from the harsh sun. So, sunscreen is very necessary for black women of all shades.
Why is Sunscreen So Important?
Protecting your skin is something that should not be only considered when you are headed to the beach, are laying poolside and for everyday sun exposure. We should be applying sunscreen each and every day. People are highly unaware of how important sunscreen is, especially people of color. When darker skin is overexposed to the sun it can result in burns, premature aging, dark spots and at worse, skin cancer.
When you are always exposing your skin to the sun without protecting it, the hyperpigmentation only gets darker, which will take longer to heal. Which is why it being so important for black women to use sunscreen daily, because it helps speed up the healing process.
Prevention is the best practice for avoiding the various severities of sun damage.
What SPF Should Women of Color Use?
It is recommended that women of color use a moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher daily, and that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply about 15 to 30 minutes before going outside, then reapply every two hours. But the most difficult part about finding a great SPF for black women, is that some makes the skin have a white to grayish filmy color left on the skin. Others are often greasy and oily. The great news is that more and more companies are developing clear, oil- or water-based formulas that don’t leave any residue.
You also have the option to apply a daily lotion or moisturizer that includes MPF as part of your body care regimen. Try our Melan-In Skin Nourishing Lotion which targets Moisture, Antiaging, UV Protection, and Skin Evening!