The Tea on Suncreen

When you wash your face with your favorite cleanser in the morning, pat dry, whats the next thing you grab? Is it a moisturizer? Foundation? Or nothing because you're in too much of a rush in the morning to do anything more? If the next thing you grab is sunscreen then you're already a step ahead *pats you on the back* Believe it or not, sunscreen should be a staple in your everyday skin care routine on matter what shade you are. Now if you’re like me, I thought sunscreen was just for beach days and excruciatingly hot lacrosse games. You know, that type of heat where you can almost feel your skin cooking? Yeah, those days I made sure to put on sunscreen. But since working in derm I have been told and have learned that I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time. 

Most Common Myths about Sunscreen Unfolded

Only wear sunscreen on hot and sunny days: Whether its sunny or cloudy, the suns rays can still peak through and reach your skin.  So applying sunscreen even if its just to your face daily is a major key.

People of color don’t need to wear sunscreen: Yes, people of darker complexions tolerate the sun better than a Skin Type 1 Person (pale skin who easily burns and never tans). This is because of the melanin in our skin that helps us to absorb UV radiations. However, this does not mean we are exempt from sun damage. According to an article written by Boer Deng of the Washington Post, Melanin is thought to offer an SPF value of 1.5 to 2.0. But this protection isn't enough for UV radiation to not penetrate the skin and cause damage. 

Only applying it once will do the job: NOPE! Usually I'm inside all day (in an office) but when I know Im going to be spending the day outside, I usually bring with me a travel size, or full size (aint no shame in my game!) of sunscreen.  SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. This means an SPF of 50 will protect you 50 times longer than if you opted to not use sunscreen. Therefore, you must reapply!

70 SPF is significantly more protective that 50 or 30 spf: I learned that the difference between 30 and 50 SPF is only about 1% and the same goes for 50 and 70 SPF. Applying a SPF of 30 every hour and a half would be the same as applying a 70 SPF in the same amount of time. Now this doesn’t mean don’t get 70 SPF anymore. Just letting yall know the facts behind these numbers.

Black people cant get skin cancer: Did yall know Bob Marley died from skin cancer? Yup! He had a melanoma under a toenail that he attributed to a soccer injury. People of any color can get skin cancer.  In cases of African Americans, it is actually more deadly because of how unaware and unknowledgeable we are on sun protection and skin cancer. Even with all that glorious and glowy melanin, get your skin checked!

Most people I talk to that are of darker complexions tell me they don’t wear sunscreen because they don’t like to look blue. I get it! No one likes to be walking around the beach a hue of anything other than their natural color. However, a recent trip to the beach got me thinking. Long story short, I forgot my sunscreen and had to use someone else's. Let's just might as well have called me Violet Beauregarde. (Did you catch the Willy Wonka reference? If you did keep reading. If you didn’t go watch the movie and come back to the blog later!) 


Micah BrownComment