Why SPF is Important for People of Color

Smiling woman on a shingle beach

You don’t need to be a scientist to know that the sun’s rays are bad for your skin. But if you have a darker skin, does that mean you can skip wearing sunscreen? The short answer is no. Even though people of color are less likely to develop precancerous and cancerous growths, people with darker skin tones are more likely to get diagnosed at a later stage and have a higher mortality rate than people with lighter skin tones. So even if you don’t tan easily and don’t think you need it, using sunscreen every day helps keep your complexion looking healthy and youthful—and possibly save your life!

Melanin, Skin Cancer and SPF

You may be wondering, how can it be that darker skin tones are more prone to cancer? The answer is in melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color, and it also acts as a natural defense against sun damage. In fact, people with darker skin tones have more melanin than those with lighter skin tones – which means they have a stronger defense against UV rays and other sources of radiation.

However, there’s another side to this story: Skin cancer among people with darker complexions tends to go unnoticed until later stages because the disease often doesn’t show up on their bodies until it has become quite advanced (and therefore harder to treat). Because of this delay in diagnosis, mortality rates for melanoma tend to be higher among those who have darker complexions than those who don’t.

With all this in mind: If you don’t already wear sunscreen every day (and even if you do), please remember that SPF is just as important for your face as it is for your body – no matter the color of your skin!

Is SPF 80 twice the goodness of SPF 30?

SPF 30 is the minimum recommended amount of protection from UVB rays. SPF 80 may sound like it will cover you twice as well, but it’s not that simple. In fact, no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s rays—both UVA and UVB—no matter what the numbers on the label suggest.

The sun is bad for your skin. It causes wrinkles, sagging and brown spots on the skin that turns brown from too much tanning. Plus, it’s a known carcinogen—you don’t want to mess around with that. The good news is that you can protect yourself from the sun by wearing SPF 30 sunscreen (or higher) every day.

What does SPF mean?

It stands for Sun Protection Factor, which measures how well a sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays (the ones that cause burns). An SPF 30 product blocks 97 percent of UVB rays, while an SPF 50 product blocks 98 percent. One thing to keep in mind: No matter what type of sunscreen you use—chemical or physical—you need to apply at least 1 ounce per 2 square feet of body surface area (which is roughly equal to a shot glass full of sunscreen).

Skin of Color and SPF.

You still need to wear sunscreen, even if you have dark or black skin.

The darker your skin tone is, the more melanin it produces in response to sun exposure. Melanin is a protein that helps protect our skin from UV damage and aging by absorbing harmful rays before they can reach our DNA. The amount of melanin in your skin determines how much protection you’ll receive from the sun’s harmful rays (not just ultraviolet light).

Just because you have dark or black skin doesn’t mean you don’t need to apply sunscreen. You should still wear an SPF 30+ every day, regardless of whether or not you’re going out into the sun for long periods of time—sunscreen is important for everyone!

We know you want to protect your skin, and we all know that sunscreen is the best way to do it, but what can happen if you don’t use it? Well, we’re glad you asked! Without proper protection in place, your complexion could get more sun damage than usual. If this happens, then your skin will be more susceptible to premature aging (like wrinkles), pigmentation problems like hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation (which can cause dark spots), and even skin cancer. So make sure that every time you go outside—especially if the weather conditions are hot or humid—make sure there’s something on your face!

Subscribe to our Newsletter