Sun protection for dark skin - here's what you need to know
Stay safe while you catch those rays...
Summer is – almost – upon us, and while most of us are dusting off our deckchairs and stocking up on sun dresses, it’s important not to forget that all-important SPF. We’ve enlisted Dija Ayodele, Aesthetician and founder of Black Skin Directory to tell us more…
"Sunscreen and sun protection has been such an alien concept in the black community. It’s not something the majority of us are brought up to appreciate. I believe we should be taught about the dangers of the sun especially when you consider all the travel we now do to far flung sunshine destinations. Black skin may be ahead of the game with a natural SPF of about 13, but that is not enough protection. A broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 and above is essential. Black skin can still suffer burns from being unprotected in the sun, which is an indicator that damage including cell mutation is happening further down in the dermal layers, which can result in skin cancers like Basal Cell Carcinomas.
“Studies show that while black people are less likely to develop melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer than Caucasians, they are more likely to die from it though, because it is usually detected at the later stages when it is more challenging to treat. This is partly down to the misconception that the sun doesn’t harm black skin, hence we are less vigilant about our application of sunscreen.
“In addition, UV rays are chief instigators when it comes to uneven skin tone and hyper-pigmentation as it sends the melanin producing cells – the melanocytes - into a production overdrive which causes patchy, uneven blemished skin tone.
Like Caucasian skin, the simplest way to look after black skin in the sun is to apply a minimum of SPF 30 sun protection. Physical sunscreens offer the best protection, but they can leave a white or purple mask on the skin, which can make it tricky for some people to find a sunscreen lotion they get on with. Chemical sunscreens on the other hand leave no evidence and there’s a wide variety of choice. Some personal favourites include NeoStrata Sheer Hydration SPF35 (£25) as well as Body Shop Sun Defense SPF 50 (£21)."