Why do black people think just because we aren’t burning (like white people), we aren’t getting sun damage?
I know what you’re probably thinking “..but I’m black, why do I need sunscreen?” I also did not realize the importance of wearing sunscreen until a little while ago. Before I started wearing SPF, a typical day for me would be patting on a moisturizer and heading out to carry on with my daily activities. You already know how hot it can get in Lagos. After a few months, I realized I started having uneven skin, totally embarrassing! I would go out and start feeling insecure because some parts of my face were darker than normal. I started using makeup to conceal it and it got a lot worse. From uneven skin tone to breakouts everywhere on my face.
I still did not do anything about it until it was time to go on a date and let me tell you right now, this was the worst day of my life. He offered to pick me up but I declined, this was because I spent literally four hours trying to blend in concealers and hide the fact that I had breakouts. I went on that date feeling like somebody else. Of course my flaws were quite visible, and I was not confident in myself. I could feel my date noticing these things, and I was super uncomfortable. Being a cautious person all I could think was ”what if he’s staring at my face and noticing my imperfections?” I went home that day and cried my eyes out listening to pretty hurts by Beyoncé.
This went on for a while, my insecurities were eating at me and I became so depressed. ”What am I doing wrong?” I kept asking myself. I went as far as getting too many skincare products from drug stores which did nothing for me. Thankfully not too long after, I met a friend who introduced me to sunscreen. I noticed her skin had always been so flawless and one day I had to swallow my pride and ask her for her skin care routine. The funny thing is her skin care routine was slightly different from mine by one thing; Sunscreen. She urged me to continue with my normal routine, with the little change of applying sunscreen every morning before I head out. I followed this and in four months, I got my skin back. Since then it has been an absolute favorite of mine. Most people do not know the reason why sunscreen should be added to your skin care routine but with my experience, you should know a little by now.
My all time favorite sunscreen has to be the Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreen, the moment I copped it, I just knew it had to be a forever thing.
So yeah; dear black girl, this is the importance of sunscreen:
(1) It protects your skin from UV rays: Sunscreen is actually that beauty secret that was kept from us. It blocks ultra violet radiation caused by the sun from penetrating into your skin. By doing this, it reduces the amounts of sunburns and keeps your skin looking healthy. People get it wrong thinking they are only meant to wear sunscreen when they are going out, false. Stay indoors and put on sunscreen because if you’re close to a window, there’s still the risk of exposure to UV rays, which can cause skin damage.
(2) It keeps your skin tone in check: Being a black girl, I grew up with the knowledge that we Africans naturally have Melanin, a skin protector factor (SPF) of up to 13. While this is true, it still isn’t as strong as the sunscreen (SPF 30 is always recommended) created for skin protection. Sunscreen maintains your skin tone and prevents discolorations, brown spots, and melasma. I know you always want to have that black girl glow, so you’re going to have to maintain it by applying sunscreen girl!
(3) It prevents premature ageing: I know you literally do not want to be 30 looking like you’re 60. Constant use of sunscreen prevents premature ageing signs and wrinkles. Sun exposure to the skin can result in saggy lines and wrinkles. Studies have shown that applying sunscreen regularly can reduce the effect of wrinkles on the skin which is great because who wants wrinkles? Yeah, no one.
(4) It prevents skin cancer: Cancer can be gotten by anyone at any point in time, especially skin cancer. The misconception that black people do not need sunscreen arose from little to no awareness in the black community. Black people need sunscreen. Every shade does! Sunscreen should in fact be a holy grail to everyone. Using sunscreen daily can reduce certain risks of getting skin cancer regardless of what shade you are.
(5) It’s easy to apply: Sunscreen is so convenient to apply. It’s literally a moisturizer and a good one for your skin as it helps protect it from sun damages and exposure. Always remember to reapply after every two hours in the sun!
If you have oily skin, Neutrogena Hydro boost gel with spf 50 is perfect for you. It is oil free and non-comedogenic, so you do not have to worry about it clogging your pores. It is also suitable for acne prone skin as it is light weight.
If you have dry to normal skin, Lacto Calamine sun shield is suitable for you. It contains Aloe vera and Vitamin E which helps to reduce dark spots. This spf helps to hydrate and protect your skin.
If you have sensitive skin, the Alba Botanica sensitive mineral sunscreen should be your go-to, it has a skin protector factor of 30. There is this soothing feeling you get when applied. It contains botanicals such as chamomile and aloe leaf juice. It’s also fragrance free so you can be sure of not getting a reaction.
Wearing sunscreen is one of the few preventive measures of guarding yourself from the sun. You should also try to avoid too much sun exposure and wear clothes that can still protect your skin from the sun. Put sunglasses in your bag but while at it, still slather on some sunscreen.
Dear Black girl, your skin is just as sensitive. Always protect it!