Cleanse. Tone. Exfoliate. We’ve heard all about the importance of a complete skincare routine. However, the majority of Black women, myself included, skip one of the most critical steps—protecting our skin from harmful environmental factors with the use of some good ol’ sunscreen.
According to the CDC, less than 30 percent of American women regularly protect their faces from the sun. And the number for Black women in particular? Even lower—over 61 percent of individuals surveyed admitted to never wearing sunscreen at all. But, it may surprise you to learn that this is not just a coincidence amongst the Black community. Thanks to Fitzpatrick skin typing, a scientific classification system, we know that women with melanin in their skin have a stronger defense to the sun’s damage. However, when the classification system was popularized in the 70s, the Black community interpreted that their skin was insusceptible to UV rays, a common misconception that lives on today.
The good news is that people with darker skin tones do in fact have a natural sun protection factor of 13, thanks to their skin’s natural production of melanin. But since dermatologists recommend a daily SPF of 30 or higher, a layer of sunscreen is non-negotiable. Still, there are many people of color who forego using it simply because of one important fact: Sunscreen makes us look ashy as hell.
So, I turned to social media to gather honest feedback from Black women on the best sunscreen products for our skin. I asked beauty editors, skincare influencers, and regular everyday women for their takes, then tested them out myself to create this Black-girl friendly guide to glowing, healthy and protected skin.