We all know that sunscreen is a daily must-have to keep your skin protected from harmful UV rays and premature aging. However, the myth lingers that sunscreen for dark skin isn’t necessary, supposedly due to melanin, which creates the darker pigment in skin, protecting against sun damage. While naturally darker skin may be less likely to burn from sun exposure, it still needs to be protected from UV rays. That’s why sunscreen for dark skin is your best friend. Below, we debunk the myths that people of color don’t need sunscreen.
Myth #1: Melanated skin acts as a natural protectant from the sun
While it is true that people with darker skin naturally have an SPF of 13, you still need sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to be protected from the sun. Even with this natural SPF, the melanin in darker skin can only protect from so much UV light before becoming damaged. While the skin is darker and is less likely to tan or burn as easily, that does not mean the skin isn’t susceptible to damage by the sun’s UV rays.
Myth #2: People with dark skin can’t get skin cancer
There may be fewer skin cancer cases in Black and Brown people, but the severity and mortality rates can be higher compared to other communities. Also, people of color may exhibit a delayed physical indication of skin cancer, and it may look less severe than doctors are accustomed to seeing in white skin cancer patients. Unfortunately, this can lead to oversight of signs and symptoms, causing delayed diagnosis.
For those reasons, it’s important to notice any skin abnormalities or an unusual looking spot. Pay close attention to rough, dry, or discolored patches on the hands, soles of the feet, under the nails, and in the mouth.
Myth #3: Sunscreen works the same on any skin tone
The SPF may work efficiently, but the other ingredients in it may not. In the past, many sunscreens were only tested on fair skin. As a result, products may not blend well on darker skin tones, leaving an unsightly ashy or chalky residue.
Fortunately, there’s been a surge in suncare brands created by people of color designed for melanated skin. These brands work to make sure their product resolves the pain points that many people of color encounter with mainstream sunscreen.
When you find the sunscreen that works best for you, incorporate it into your daily skincare routine year round, even on rainy and overcast days. Have a product you love? Tell us about it in the comments!