There’s a common misconception that you often don’t need SPF if you have dark skin, because darker skin tones have a naturally higher SPF—13.4, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Contrary to popular belief, those with dark skin do need sunscreen. We want you to keep that beautiful skin for ages, so check out our tips to keeping your skin safe!
Too much sun exposure can cause unslightly dark spots, wrinkles, and—worst of all—skin cancer. SPF measures how long it takes skin with sunscreen to burn compared to skin without it. With a naturally higher SPF, it’s true that dark skinned individuals burn less frequently or easily, but we still burn at the end of the day. The belief that sunscreen isn’t necessary, coupled with the fact that dark cancer spots tend to blend in with our skin, skin cancer often goes undetected and therefore, more fatal.
To protect your skin, make sure you are using a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 (the recommendation for all skin tones), and make sure to slather sunblock everywhere that the sun can touch. You should be using sunscreen everyday, and most importantly, definitely make sure to use it when you know you will be in direct sunlight for a while—like you might be on spring break.
Dos and Don’ts
Do make sure to use a product with one of these ingredients: zinc, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, or Mexoryl S.
Do not use sunscreen products with Retinyl or any Retinol products (Vitamin A), as they greaten the risk of skin damage. Vitamin A by-products break down in the sun and irritate your skin.
Do use a lotion sunscreen, because spray sunscreens can fill the air around you with particles that can cause lung inflammation when inhaled.
Do reapply often; an ounce of sunscreen every two hours!
Do make sure to reapply after physical activity, as sweat can remove sunscreen, or you might have rubbed it off.
Do not worry about looking chalky. A lot of products are currently micronized, meaning that the particles are so small, they are easily blendable and will dissolve into your skin.
Do make sure to practice other skin protecting habits, such as wearing hats and sunglasses. Also, cover up your skin wherever and whenever possible when you’re spending extended hours in the sun.
Check out our list of some of our favorite suncare products for dark skin:
- Face: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 55 ($9.19) This product has a dry-touch that will not leave a white residue on your face. In addition, it won’t make your face look greasy.
- Face: Kate Somerville Daily Deflector Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ PA+++ ($48) Oil free and very light in texture, this moisturizer has a bunch of other vitamins that help tighten your skin and fight wrinkles. It’s also great for sensitive skin.
- Body: Healing Scents Live Long Mineral-based Sunscreen SPF 30 ($10.25) Organic and not formulated with harsh chemicals (which can cause breakouts or dry out skin), this sunscreen contains sun-filtering oils. It also includes lavender essential oil to protect you from bugs when you’re outdoors!
- Body: Purple Prairie SunStuff Mineral Lotion SPF 30 ($11.99) Made with natural ingredients and cocoa butter, this lotion will leave your skin soft and well protected.
- Everyday: Glytone Retuxturize Body Lotion SPF 15 ($33) The glycolic acid in this formula will rejuvenate your skin; it moisturizes and protects skin from day to day errands in the sun.
- Everyday: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($11.99) This non-greasy lotion product moisturizes skin for 24 hours! It also contains colloidal oatmeal that helps relieve dry skin and restores your skin’s normal pH level.
There’s another myth that says the higher the SPF, the longer you can stay out in the sun without reapplication, but this is false. SPF is based off of UVB protection, which protects you from burns, but not deep tissue damage.
Sunscreen helps block powerful UV rays that damage your skin and causes it to age faster. The bottom line is that regardless of skin tone, wearing SPF is absolutely necessary—especially when you’ll be spending as much time in the sun as you will be this spring break!