These Are the Best Sunscreens for Dark Skin Tones
There are more than a few sunscreen myths floating around. You may have heard that sunscreen doesn’t really need to be reapplied or that SPF value doesn’t matter—both of which are far from true. However, there’s one myth we hear perpetuated most often, that dark skin tones can skip slathering their skin with sunscreen. While it is factual that those with darker skin typically don’t burn as easily as their fair-skinned friends, that doesn’t mean sunscreen is just a trivial skin care step. It’s still an essential, and don’t convince yourself otherwise just because you aren’t fond of the ghostly cast some sunscreens can leave behind. There’s a solution for that, and it’s as simple as choosing the right sunscreen—one that blends seamlessly on deeper complexions without leaving behind a chalky residue. Read on to find out first why sunscreen is so important for everyone—we repeat: every single skin type and tone—and then, our pick of the best sunscreens—from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—for dark skin tones.
Why Everyone Needs to Wear Sunscreen
Let’s reiterate, sunscreen isn’t reserved for certain skin tones or types. Despite broad-spectrum sunscreen use being a non-negotiable step for everyone, the Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 63% of African Americans who participated in a survey claimed to never use sunscreen. What makes that statistic so troubling is that a recent study found that melanoma is more deadly in people of color. A potential reason for this increased mortality rate, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), is that when skin cancer develops in people of color, it’s not uncommon for it to be diagnosed in a late stage. Board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com expert, Dr. Lisa Ginn agrees that UV protection should be made a higher priority for olive and darker skin tones who may assume they don’t need it. “Unfortunately, she says, “often by the time we catch skin cancer on patients with this skin color, it’s too late.”
How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun
More goes into keeping your skin protected than just slapping on sunscreen when you’re on vacation or at the beach. To help prevent sunburns, sun damage, and skin cancer, follow these protective steps:
1. Wear sunscreen daily. Wearing sunscreen solely on sunny days won’t be enough, you’ll want to follow the FDA’s recommendation and wear sunscreen every day. And not just any sunscreen, the FDA suggests sticking with a broad-spectrum formula with an SPF value of 15 or higher. Apply it 30 minutes before heading outside to ensure it provides the maximum benefit.
2. Be diligent with reapplication. Smoothing sunscreen on once a day still isn’t enough. To keep skin protected, reapply at least every two hours—or immediately after swimming or sweating. When it comes time to reapply, be sure not to forget areas like your ears and the tops of your feet.
3. Take other sun protection measures. Sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect your skin from UV rays. Other measures include staying out of the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and accessorizing with broad-brimmed hats and sunglasses.
4. Perform regular skin checks. Since it’s crucial to detect skin cancer early, the AAD recommends that everyone—including people of color—perform monthly self-exams. These involve using a full-length mirror and handheld mirror to view your skin all over, looking for dark spots, growths, darker patches of skin, sores that won’t heal, rough and dry patches of skin, and dark lines underneath or near fingernails or toenails. If any of the above are spotted, then it’s time to visit a dermatologist for a professional exam.
The Best Sunscreens for Dark Skin Tones
We have good news, not all sunscreens are chalky or leave behind a white cast. And that’s important if you’re going to make sunscreen part of your daily morning skin care routine. Here are a few of our favorites from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands.
CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50
The CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50 is well-suited to dark skin tones, thanks to its clear finish. Invisible Zinc™ technology, using micro-fine zinc oxide, allows the sunscreen to deliver a unique dry, clear finish that also provides powerful protection from the sun’s damaging rays. Additionally, the lightweight sunscreen, which is perfect for daily use, is formulated with ceramides and niacinamide and can help restore the protective skin barrier.
CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50, $14.99 MSRP
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light SPF 60 Sunscreen
Why settle for a sunscreen that feels thick and heavy on your skin when you can opt for an ultra-light texture that absorbs quickly? In addition to its revolutionary weightless texture, you’ll love how this sunscreen dries to a matte, sheer finish.
SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50
This weightless sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection in an ultra-sheer, transparent fluid. It spreads easily, dries quickly, and doesn’t leave behind a residue. It basically checks off all the right boxes.
Lancôme Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Moisturizer
Sunscreens are notorious for their thick, pasty white feel, but that’s not the case with Lancôme’s Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Moisturizer. This formula boasts an SPF of 30 and dries clear—we repeat: no unsightly residue—making it an ideal pick for dark skin. In addition to protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Ultra Moisturizer can help to plump the skin with hydration, visibly improve radiance, smooth the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and improve the look of dark spots and pores.