Listen, I know that you're tired of hearing me talk about this but wearing sunscreen is the one beauty non-negotiable that I have in my everyday regime. Whether I'm wearing it on its own or wearing a moisturizer with SPF in it, somehow I'm slathering it on my face and body. I mentioned this before when we talked about fighting hyperpigmentation but I went through a large part of my 20's without wearing any protection - and it was a bad idea. Wearing sunscreen properly and applying it the right way will not only protect you from the suns' harmful rays but it will also help you fight the signs of aging and help in the prevention of dark spots. But oh what's that? I'm black and I don't have to wear sunscreen? Yeah no.
According to the National Cancer Institute, over one million people are diagnosed each year with skin cancer. On top of this, many African Americans assume that due to their darker skin tones and the melanin in the skin (which does provide a natural SPF), they can skip sunscreen altogether. No matter what race or color your skin tone is, you are still susceptible to skin cancer, wrinkles and dark spots, so let's just be proactive ok?
When it comes to finding a good sunscreen, as a women of color, there are a few essentials things that you want to look for.
- Always remember that the SPF - sun protection factor - refers to the amount of time that your skin can be exposed to the ultraviolet rays from the sun without burning (not the strength of the sunscreen). The SPF protection does NOT double as the numbers increase. For example, a sunscreen containing an SPF of 15 will block about 93% of the sun's radiation, while a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will block about 98% of the sun's radiation.
- Look for a sunscreen that is broad spectrum which means that it will protect you against the full spectrum of UVA and UVB rays. Look at the ingredient list and see if it contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide - you want it to have either of these in it.
- Liberally apply sunscreen to your face and body 15 minutes before sun exposure. Once you hit the sun, remember to reapply the sunscreen at least every two hours; unless you're swimming or heavily sweating then you want to apply it even sooner.
- Wear sunscreen all year- round. Just because it is cold or cloudy out doesn't mean you get to take a break. Maintaining your beautiful skin is a job.
One of my current holy grail sunscreens that I have been using for the past 3 months is the Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 From BeautyRX by Dr. Schultz ($42).
The ultimate in protection from the sun’s damaging rays without the traditional heavy feel of sunscreens. The Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50 applies easily and sets invisibly. It also makes a great base for makeup. Containing micronized zinc oxide, this cream provides instant SPF 50 sunscreen protection, without having to wait 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Lightweight, it's appropriate for the driest skin to the oiliest.
The Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50 has Active Ingredients of:
- Zinc Oxide (10.5%): Provides both UVB and broad spectrum (short-wave and long-wave) UVA protection as soon as applied by reflecting harmful UVA ray and;
- Octinoxate (7.5%): Provides UVB protection by absorbing harmful UV rays
- Click here to read a full list of Inactive and Key Ingredients
Now the thing that really drew me in was the fact that this is similar to a creamy lotion and applies so smooth that it literally disappears into my skin (not leaving that white film or residue on it).
Right hand without any sunscreen protectionI love that I also get a subtle glow to my body and face when I apply this sunscreen. It's lightweight and as you can see it blends right into my skin without that annoying white film or residue.
Bottom line: This wears beautifully under makeup and fully protects your skin so there's no reason why you aren't investing in this and protecting yourself.