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How to Protect Dark Skin from the Sun

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:

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!

Elodie is currently enrolled at Duke University, Class of 2016. She is involved in her sorority, Chi Omega, Bench & Bar, GlobeMed, and Students of the Caribbean Association. She is pre-law and studying Political Science with certificates in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) and a minor in Sociology. As one of our Beauty School bloggers, she is fairly obsessed with all things makeup and cosmetics. When she's not running debt on clothes and makeup, you can usually find her out and about, exploring whatever town she is in or watching Netflix cuddled with a mug of hot chocolate. Currently, her favorite show is "Hawaii Five-O". She aspires to be the next Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating rolled into one, but with a stable marriage and children. Her life will be complete once Buzzfeed creates an article titled "X Reasons why We Love Elodie". Elodie loves talking and responds to all of her emails. She would love to hear from you! You can contact her at: Email: elodiejeanphilippe@hercampus.com Twitter/Instagram: @GetElodofThis_ Blog: http://getelodofme.blogspot.com
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