“I don’t need sunscreen. My black skin has an inbuilt SPF.”
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you need sunscreen just like everyone else. Black skin may tolerate UV rays better, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to its damage. Here’s what I mean:
Does Black Skin Need Sunscreen?
YES! It’s true black skin has an inbuilt SPF of between 8 and 16 (depending on how dark it is) – but that’s not enough to provide broad spectrum protection!
For starters, SPF 15 is the minimum recommended SPF. Only the darkest skin tones have that much SPF inbuilt in their skin. Most people fall way below that.
But even if you’re one of the lucky few who has SPF 15 inbuilt in her skin, that’s not enough on most days. SPF 15 only filters 92% of UV rays. What about the remaining 8% that still hit your skin?
I’ll tell you what: they’ll give you wrinkles, dark spots and, in the worst case scenario, cancer. Don’t risk it!
Related: Take A Number: How To Choose The Right SPF For You
How effective is your sunscreen? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Sunscreen Audit” Worksheet and find out if your sunscreen is really up to the job:
Is Black skin immune to sunburn?
No, no, no! Again, it’s true that pale skin is way more prone to sunburns. But dark skin can get surnburned too. It’s just trickier to detect because your skin doesn’t turn as red as a lobster.
But you’ll get all the other symptoms of sunburn: your skin’s hot, feels tight, hurts like hell when you touch it and peels.
Sunburns are dangerous. Even one bad sunburn increases your chances of melanoma. And guess who’s more at risk of sunburns? People who don’t use sunscreen!
Related: 4 Melanoma Myths Debunked!
Can Black People Get Skin Cancer?
Yes. Skin cancer is rarer, but more deadly in dark-skinned people.
Here’s why: if you believe you’re at risk of melanoma, you’re more careful in the sun. You wear sunscreen religiously, wear sun protective clothes and seek the shades.
But if you believe you have an inbuilt SPF and don’t need sunscreen, you’ll be more careless. You’ll skip the sunscreen, but not the sun. This alone ups your risks of developing melanoma.
But it’s not the whole story. In black people, melanoma tends to show up on more lightly pigmented areas, like the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, and even your fingernail bed. In other words, melanoma shows up where you least expect it.
The myth you don’t need sunscreen + melanoma appearing in unusual areas means you don’t go to a doctor in time. You’ll be diagnosed later, when the cancer has already spread and is much harder to treat.
The Bottom Line
Dark skin has a little inbuilt SPF, BUT it’s not high enough to offer adequate protection against premature aging, sun spots, sunburns and cancer. Put on that sunscreen every day. Be safe, not sorry!
Dark damsels, do you wear sunscreen every day? Share your thoughts in the comments below.