Dark Skin Needs Sunscreen Too: True or False?

Jul 12, 2016

In the wake of recent tragedies, many people may find themselves with unanticipated reasons to be outdoors over the next few days, weeks, or months. Whether you are protesting police brutality or soaking up sun on the beach, read further to find out how you can add an extra layer of protection.

It is commonly mistaken that African Americans and others with darker skin don’t burn, get skin cancer, or need sunscreen. These are all false statements. While melanin is protective in many ways, people with darker skin are still able to burn or get skin cancer and, therefore, DO need to wear sunscreen.

How does sunscreen help?

The sun gives off ultraviolet (UV) light, and two types – UVA and UVB rays – can harm your skin. UVA light causes wrinkles and aging. UVB can burn your skin. Both UVA and UVB light can cause skin cancer, so you want to choose a sunscreen that protects against all UV. This is called a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

How do I choose the best sunscreen?

In order to choose the best sunscreen, focus on 2 things: 1) SPF and 2) ingredients.

SPF – SPF only tells you how much UVB light is blocked, but it tells you nothing about UVA light, which can also cause skin cancer. SPF 15 is sufficient for most people. If you have family history of skin cancer, very fair skin, or any medical conditions that make you more sensitive to light (for example, lupus), aim for SPF 30 or higher.

Ingredients – In order to ensure your sunscreen protects against UVA light, which can also cause skin cancer, look for a sunscreen with one of the following ingredients: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide.

Babies and children have more sensitive skin than adults, but titanium dioxide and zinc oxide generally cause less irritation for them. Adults with sensitive skin may also benefit from titanium dioxide or zinc oxide .

Final Tips

– You need sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy or overcast.

– If swimming or sweating, reapply, reapply, reapply!

– Remember: sunscreen doesn’t work if you don’t put it on.


For further information: http://www.webmd.com/beauty/sun/whats-best-sunscreen?page=1