Skin & Nails

Sun Block: Why Black Women Should Wear Sunscreen Too

Raise your hand if you’re a Black woman who knows you need to use sunscreen, but have been subjected to formulas that are too greasy, too oily, or leave you looking ashy. I’m gonna go ahead and raise both of my hands. The struggle is real.


That’s always been my problem with sunscreen. For the vast majority of my life, I didn’t wear it. First, because most formulas are awful, but mostly because like a lot of Black people, I thought that my abundant melanin was enough to protect me from the harmful rays of the sun. According to Skincancer.org, melanin provides an SPF of about 13.4, compared to the 3.4 SPF in white skin. So yes, while it’s true that black people do have some natural protection against the sun, it doesn’t mean that we should skip sunscreen altogether.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE should wear sunscreen. Protecting your skin from the sun isn’t just something you should do at the beach, it’s something you should be doing every single day, even when it’s overcast outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone should use a sunscreen that has broad- spectrum protection (both UVA and UVB rays), with at least an SPF of 30 or more.

Why is sunscreen so important? Well, for starters, darker skinned people are more prone to hyperpigmentation, and dark spots from acne. When you constantly expose your skin to the sun without protection, the hyperpigmentation just gets darker, which means it takes ages to finally heal. I totally believe that using sunscreen daily has definitely helped speed up the process of healing my acne scarring. Using sunscreen daily also helps to slow down premature aging and wrinkles. Gabrielle Union, who looks forever 25, is a hardcore sunscreen advocate, so that pretty much cements the idea that sunscreen will forever be a part of my skincare routine.

But the hard part about sunscreen for black women is that most of them are awful. They are oily, greasy, or leave a god awful white cast to the skin. I’ve tried a ton of different ones, and have found my holy grail, but I wanted to give you some options.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 30 - $11.99

It's one of the first sunscreens I tried. It’s affordable, it’s easy to find, and it definitely doesn’t leave a white cast.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid - $29.99

This is a bit on the pricey side, but has won pretty much every single award for best beauty buy. It’s great for all skin types and won’t leave you looking like a box of fried chicken.

L’Oreal Advanced Suncare Silky Sheer Lotion - $7.49

Checks all the boxes for a great sunscreen. It’s lightweight, silky, and doesn’t leave you grey.

Biore Watery UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50 – $17.15 for a pack of two.

My all-time favorite sunscreen. I literally buy it in bulk. It’s incredibly lightweight, non-greasy, and absorbs like a dream. I can wear it with or without makeup, and it doesn’t leave my skin looking like an oil pit. I’ve told all of my friends about it, and they all say the same thing.

Some tips: Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before you head outdoors. There’s some debate as to whether you should apply it before or after your moisturizer, but I apply it after my moisturizer, and before I do my makeup. Also, remember if you are using AHA products, sunscreen is a must as AHAs make your skin extremely sensitive to the sun.

I’m always on the hunt to try new sunscreen, so leave a comment and let me know what you use!

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