Collective for Brown Women by Brown Women. 

The Ultimate Sunscreen Guide for Us

The Ultimate Sunscreen Guide for Us

Here are some facts.

The more melanin pigments your skin has, the more it is protected from harmful UV rays. Generally, black people all have melanin but some have more than others.

One thing that is important to keep in mind is that there’s no relation between the amount of melanin in your skin and the ability to develop skin cancer. Skin cancers are generally increasing amongst people of color in the US, with basal cell carcinoma being the most common.

Finally, Black people aren’t immune to sunburn. I have taken trips to sunny places without even thinking about applying sunscreen and have ended up with red, peeled skin. Not fun.

What is SPF?

SPF, also known as sun protection factor measures how well a sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays. It determines how long it will take for UVB rays to burn your skin not protected by sunscreen.

For example, sunscreen with SPF 15 would mean that it would take 15 times longer for your skin to burn from UVB  (150 minutes). This explains why dermatologists often ask people to reapply sunscreen every two hours.

Keep in mind that while SPF 50 will protect you more than SPF 15, the difference isn’t huge. SPF 15 blocks 93% of rays, SPF30 blocks 97% of rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of rays. It is recommended to use sunscreen with SPF 15 or SPF 30.

How to choose the right sunscreen or sunblock?

It is hard to find the most appropriate sun screen that will not leave your skin looking ashy. One of our best suggestion is to make sure that you choose sun screen that is oil free.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between sunblock and sunscreen. Sunblock will protect you against UVA and UVB rays. Sunblock is often white on the skin, while sunscreen will be less visible but you will need to reapply it more. Sunscreen has chemicals that absorb radiation from rays and reduce the amount of it that is absorbed by the skin, while sunblock prevents the radiation from reaching the skin.  Sunscreen is less obvious, while sunblock is thicker and more visible.

To keep this easy, people wear sunblock to the beach and sunscreen every day. 

Okay, I still don’t want to use sunscreen.

That’s fine boo, do you! I’m West African and my people do not use sunscreen. If I ever started talking to my mom about sun protection, she will talk about how white I am. But I do a lot of treatments to prevent hyperpigmentation, aging and love exfoliating, for that, I know I need sunscreen. Take for example hyperpigmentation. Did you know that hyperpigmentation can also be caused by a reaction from your skin due to UV radiation?

Also, If you're using skin care products with vitamin c, you need to make sure you incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine or it will be all done in vain!  While vitamin c is an effective treatment to get rid of scarring as it produces more collage, it also prevents the production of melanin which we have learned protects us from harmful rays.

Okay, I hear you. What are my options for sunscreen?

So many. 

Did you that Frank Ocean's mother,  Katonya Breaux has released an all-natural sun protectant? Have you seen how much she is glowing? My chances of reproducing her skin care game are close to none as skin care has a lot to do with genetics, but I’d rather take advice from her! 

The truth is, black people are the most creative people on this damn planet. And we all know that, when there isn’t a way, we make one. Here are a few black-owned brands making sunscreen! 

1. Unsun

What To Watch When TV Is Boring

What To Watch When TV Is Boring

4:44 and the Burden of Proof

4:44 and the Burden of Proof