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  • Writer's pictureThaysia Bradburn

Yes Black Girl…Wear the Sunscreen!

Yes Black Girl…Wear the Sunscreen!

Let’s talk: Debunking the myth that people of color don’t need to wear sunscreen.

With the warmer weather approaching - especially in the Richmond area - now is the time to start prepping your skin for all the sun exposure & damage that’s to come! Now, if you’re anything like me, you grew up being told and you actually believed, that people of color do not need to wear sunscreen. It was explained to us that our skin contains magic melanin & that was enough to protect us from the harmful effects of sun damage!

Although it may be very true that our skin contains more melanin, which provides some natural protection from the sun; it does not provide enough protection to prevent damage from the sun's harmful UV rays.

UV rays can cause damage to the skin at the cellular level, leading to premature aging, hyperpigmentation, melasma, and even skin cancer. This damage can happen to anyone, regardless of skin color, but it can be especially dangerous for people of color.

Hyperpigmentation is a condition in which areas of the skin become darker than the surrounding skin. This can be caused by a number of factors and yes, sun exposure happens to be one of them. It is typically longer lasting and more challenging to treat in darker than lighter skin tones.

Melasma is a condition in which brown or gray patches develop on the face, often as a result of hormonal changes or sun exposure. When you expose your body to UV light, it triggers the body to produce more pigment. This pigment will sometimes appear unevenly, causing blotchy patches and freckle-like spots.

Although both of these conditions are treatable & not life threatening, who wants to deal with discoloration and months/years worth of correction treatments on their face?!

People of color also have a higher risk of developing skin cancer in areas of the body that are not typically exposed to the sun, such as the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands. This is because the extra melanin in their skin can make it harder to detect abnormal moles or other signs of skin cancer.

I’ve personally had my fair share of sunburn & let me tell you something - it was brutal! Even having personally experienced the effects of what the sun can do to my skin, I still made the mistake of believing that I didn’t need to wear sunscreen. A foolish mistake, indeed!

It wasn’t until I started working in the beauty industry that I discovered not only should I be wearing sunscreen daily for preventive measures, there are also plenty of benefits that go along w/ doing so!

Here’s a list of additional benefits of wearing sunscreen daily:

  1. Avoid inflammation & redness.

  2. Prevent the early onset of fine lines & wrinkles. - Who doesn’t want that?!

  3. Stop DNA Damage.

I know what you’re thinking..let’s talk about point #3! What exactly does sun exposure have to do with our DNA?! Well, it’s been scientifically proven that sun exposure is associated with a chain of events that leads to a formation of DNA damage. This can lead to accelerated aging and even tumor development.

Now that we’ve talked about the benefits, let’s discuss the type of sunscreen we should be using. I understand that the difficulty for a lot of people of color when it comes to selecting a sunscreen is color matching! A lot of sunscreens on the market can leave us looking a little pale and/or ashy once it’s applied.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite facial sunscreens:

  1. ZO Skin Health: Daily Sheer Broad Spectrum SPF 50

  2. Obagi Medical: Sun Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Warm Tint

  3. Black Girl Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

  4. Fenty Skin: Hydra Vizor Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

When it comes to the body, keep it simple. Just buy something & put it on! The sunscreens listed above work great for the body as well, but certainly wouldn’t be cost effective.

Whether you’re going for a physical or chemical sunscreen, SPF 30 or SPF 75, the key is just to wear something! Trust me, your skin will thank you for doing so. On sunny days, cloudy days, days in the office or days at the beach: girlfriend, wear the sunscreen!

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