Raise your hand if you’re a Black woman who knows you need to use sunscreen, but have been subjected to formulas that are too greasy, too oily, or leave you looking ashy. I’m gonna go ahead and raise both of my hands. The struggle is real.
That’s always been my problem with sunscreen. For the vast majority of my life, I didn’t wear it. First, because most formulas are awful, but mostly because like a lot of Black people, I thought that my abundant melanin was enough to protect me from the harmful rays of the sun. According to Skincancer.org, melanin provides an SPF of about 13.4, compared to the 3.4 SPF in white skin. So yes, while it’s true that black people do have some natural protection against the sun, it doesn’t mean that we should skip sunscreen altogether.
Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE should wear sunscreen. Protecting your skin from the sun isn’t just something you should do at the beach, it’s something you should be doing every single day, even when it’s overcast outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone should use a sunscreen that has broad- spectrum protection (both UVA and UVB rays), with at least an SPF of 30 or more.
Why is sunscreen so important? Well, for starters, darker skinned people are more prone to hyperpigmentation, and dark spots from acne. When you constantly expose your skin to the sun without protection, the hyperpigmentation just gets darker, which means it takes ages to finally heal. I totally believe that using sunscreen daily has definitely helped speed up the process of healing my acne scarring. Using sunscreen daily also helps to slow down premature aging and wrinkles. Gabrielle Union, who looks forever 25, is a hardcore sunscreen advocate, so that pretty much cements the idea that sunscreen will forever be a part of my skincare routine.
But the hard part about sunscreen for black women is that most of them are awful. They are oily, greasy, or leave a god awful white cast to the skin. I’ve tried a ton of different ones, and have found my holy grail, but I wanted to give you some options.