Sun damage — including sunburn — happens no matter what color the skin. Darkly pigmented skin has the same number of cells that give off pigment as light-colored skin.
Darker skin may not show these visible signs of sun damage as readily. But it’s still happening. “Melanin offers some natural protection. But no skin is 100% effective at preventing sunlight from coming through,” says dermatologist Dr. Darren Guffey.
When sunlight penetrates cells, UV radiation damages the cell’s DNA, which compromises the body’s basic blueprint for growing new cells and structures. As a result, you get an overgrowth of atypical cells that the body is less equipped to recognize and destroy. This is basically cancer, Guffey explains: The rapid, unchecked growth of atypical cells.
Sunscreen provides added protection against the UV rays that can cause skin cancer and is recommended for all skin types. Sunscreen increases the skin’s natural resistance to sun damage by absorbing and reflecting sunlight.
So, yes, us Black folks need to wear sunscreen, too. Our skin may come in many shades, but our health is still at risk. Not to mention the sun will damage anyone’s skin that is exposed to it. Take it from me, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here are five sunscreens that were designed to fit your personal lifestyle and skincare needs and work great on Black skin.
1. All-in-One Solution
Our Pick: Ultra Sheer SPF 30 Moisturizing Sunscreen
Black Girl Sunscreen
Founded by Shontay Lundy in 2016, this sunscreen is made for brown skin by women of color. Black Girl Sunscreen is all about formulating sun protection options for melanated skin with natural ingredients like avocado, jojoba, and sunflower oils. In addition to crafting formulas that don’t leave an unwanted white cast behind, Black Girl Sunscreen products are made without oxybenzone and octinoxate. The formula goes on completely clear and gives the skin a pretty glow. Because it hydrates without being greasy or tacky, it’s an effective base for makeup.
RELATED: Do You Know Sunscreen Basics?
2. Dry Skin
Our pick: Complete Daily Broad Spectrum SPF 30
If you have dry skin, you need sunscreens that are hydrating. Most facial moisturizers with sunscreen can