Using sunscreens and SPF-based sun care products have been shedding its image that they were only designed for caucasian skin types as people with darker skin and black skin are now learning that UVB and UVA damage to skin poses the same threats to people of all complexions. SPF is acronym for Sun protection factor indicating how long you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned.
When you see broad-spectrum sunscreen on products, this indicates that the product protects against the harmful effects of both UVA and UVB rays and they need to absorb or reflect at least 90% of the UV rays
Sun light is the main source emitting ultra violet(UV) rays which contributes to damaging our skins DNA and leaving it prone to ageing signs such as wrinkles and more serious issues such as having a high risk of developing skin cancers. UV rays are emitted from both the sun and artificial sources such as sun lamps and beds and even the innocuous domestic light bulbs, laptops and mobile phones.
So it is important for people with all skin types and complexions now to protect our skin by wearing products that leaves a protective barrier on the skin to protect from UV radiation.
There are 3 types of UV rays according to cancer.org which causes damages to the DNA of human skin which includes skin ageing, raising risk of cancers and wrinkles amongst many other skin concerns.
UVA rays from the sun and artificial sources are thought to cause damage to skin cell DNA directly and penetrates through to the the second layer of the skin. They lead to signs of ageing, sun spots and may raise the risk of cancers. UVA rays accounts for 95% of radiation that reaches the earth’s surface and they can penetrate through glass windows and clouds, they also bounce off surfaces such as water bodies, sand, snow, pavements and grass which is why it is still important to wear sunscreen products when you think you are shaded or whilst out relaxing in the sun.
UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and affects the top layer of the skin within as little time as 15 minutes. They have slightly more energy than UVA rays and they cause damage to the skin’s DNA so they are are more strongly linked to skin cancers.
UVC rays are more potent than than all other types of UV rays. They also do not reach the earths surface as they get absorbed into by atmosphere so they are not thought to be a big risk factor when it comes to skin cancers. They are however found in man made UV radiation sources such as old tanning beds, welding torches and mercury lamps
Those of us with dark skin have for a long time avoided using sunscreens because of the chalky white residue we were never ready to deal with. I personally always felt comfortable wearing sunscreen abroad for some reason because I felt safe no one in little villages around Europe cared but back home, I somehow had no heart for walking around with chalky streaks These days, a lot of sunscreen are colourless and sinks in to be clear making it easy for us to wear sunscreen products without worrying.
With brands catching up with creating coloured products to suit all complexions, there is now also a wide range of sunscreen products on the market for people with black skin.
Some favourite brands are:
Nivea Anti Age Protection Face Sun Cream SPF 30,
Bioderma Hydrabio Eau de Soin SPF 30,
Glossier Invisible Shield Daily sunscreen SPF 30,
Eucerin Sun Fluid Mattifying SPF 50+
Vichy Idéal Soleil Hydrating SPF30 Protective Solar Water,
Bobbi Brown SPF50 Protective Face Base,
La Roche Posay Anthelios Protective Oil SPF 50+,
Solar Defence SPF 30,
Neostrata Sheer Hydration SPF 35,
Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50.
Oxybenzone is an active ingredient which is commonly used in sunscreens to provide broad spectrum ultra-violet coverage. It is thought of to be toxic as it can cause hormonal disruption, reproductive issues and allergic skin reactions and has been directly linked to the environmental contamination in the form of coral bleaching and die-offs which contribute to the declining health of coral reefs.
Sunscreen products are among the fastest growing products according to the Kline group and are driving market sales and outperforming the total market growth in 2015
Learn more about UV rays