All year round, through every season, we are exposed to UV radiation. This has a dangerous physical impact on our rich complexions. But do we really need to wear sunscreen for our melanin-rich skin? The answer is absolutely, but it’s more complicated than it may seem… having a rich skin tone gives you some natural protection against the sun’s rays, but shielding your skin is still the smartest choice. Let’s answer some of your ‘burning’ questions!
Damaging Effects Of UV Radiation
Sunlight contains ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation. The sun emits these two types of rays and reaches our skin. Both types damage unprotected skin in their unique ways.
UVA(GING): This holds 95% at reaching the earth. They are present every single day, all year round. It can penetrate glass, even on rainy or cloudy days. UVA rays speed up skin aging significantly, also known as ‘the sun’s silent killers’; increasing wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, hyperpigmentation, reduction in elasticity, reduction in collagen, increasing crippled skin texture, damaging and burning skin cells. They are also the major cause of skin cancer.
UVB(URNING): UVB does not penetrate or is exposed to the skin as much as UVA rays, however, it is incredibly powerful and damaging on unprotected skin. It is present all year round, but more dominant in sunny climates. It is mainly responsible for superficial sunburn and skin damage; hyperpigmentation, peeling, increased tyrosinase and increasing melasma. Did you know UVB rays are reflected from sand, water and snow (80%)?
BLUELIGHT: This is another type of Ultraviolet Radiation. It holds high amounts of damaging energy. These rays can be emitted from our computers, cell phones, Television, LED lighting, the sun- which we are all exposed to for hours every day. This form of radiation may penetrate the skin, break down collagen and cause free radical damage.
Purpose And Importance
This is where it can get a little complicated. We know we carry a small amount of natural protection, so does that mean we don’t need to wear sunscreen? We do! Remember the suns damaging rays do not discriminate!
- Maritza Perez, M.D.(a clinical professor of dermatology) says “Ultraviolet (UV) rays are color-blind, so they hit all skin with equal strength”. Do we know what this means? No matter how much melanin or natural protection we hold, with enough sun exposure, we will still experience skin damage and possibly even skin cancer.
- Sunscreen is the key to keeping skin healthy and safe. Not to mention, our primary skin concern of rich complexions- Hyperpigmentation: wearing an SPF daily will reduce discoloration, prevent increased pigmentation and protect against UV cell damage.
What’s your purpose for wearing sunscreen? Share your story below!
Finding your SPF
Which sunscreen should I use? Which one doesn’t make me look ashy? What are the best ingredients? Which factor should I use? So many burning questions…
There are many sunscreens on the market, but we should look out for the ones that are multi-functional and compatible with our melanin-rich skin. Here’s what to look out for:
- FDA approved active ingredients: Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone. These compounds provide full UVA and UVB protection. Also, helps to filter UV rays.
- Hyaluronic Acid: A natural component of the skin. Effectively hydrates adding smoothness, nourishment and radiance to the skin.
- Vitamin C & E: Powerful antioxidants that help increase collagen production, reduce melanin production, repair cellular damage and lighten hyperpigmentation.
- Pomegranate: Ultra-rich antioxidant. Repair damaged cells and soothes irritated skin. It may also stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.
- Passion Flower Extract: It can help soothe burns and inflammations, especially irritations from long hours of sun exposure.
- SPF Factor: A maximum of factor 30 is enough and recommended. Factor 40 and 50+ are also great at protecting the skin from UV radiation.
- Cream/Lotion: This is the best formula for sunscreen. This texture and density work well in covering the skin evenly.
- An Actual SPF: No makeup/ foundations mixed with SPF. Must be a stand-alone sunscreen for optimal and effective protection.
Did you know an SPF30 can block off 97% of UVB rays? This is important to know so we understand how much we are safeguarding our skin from severe damage.
The Final Resolution
But do we really need to wear sunscreen for our melanin-rich skin? The burning question has been answered! All rich complexions must stay winning in the skincare game! It’s time to raise awareness and practice the use of SPF every day in our skincare routine. Maintaining healthy safe skin and treating hyperpigmentation is not negotiable. I hope we can all come together as a rich complexions community and use an SPF to protect and embrace healthy skin for life.
Are you convinced? Share your thoughts below!