This Sunscreen Was Created Specifically for People of Color—And It Has Gone Viral
Sunscreen is undoubtedly one of the most crucial ways you can protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause visible signs of skin aging and even some cancers. Unfortunately, it’s also a product that is often applied too sparingly (if at all), especially amongst people of color. There’s a dangerous myth floating around that people of color are immune to sunburns and skin cancer, and are thus exempt from protecting their skin from the sun with sunscreen. As a result, skin cancer can often go undiagnosed in darker-skinned patients until it’s simply too late. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), African Americans have a significantly lower survival rate with melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—compared to Caucasians. “I diagnose 3 to 4 skin cancers in black and Hispanic patients each year,” says board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Corey Hartman. “It is important for all skin types to adequately protect themselves from the sun.”
Part of the problem could be a lack of education. Surely if everyone knew that neglecting to apply sunscreen before heading outdoors put them at unnecessary risk for skin damage and cancer, we imagine there would be more efforts made to wear sunscreen day in and day out. But another part of the problem could simply be a lack of sunscreen options available for darker skin tones. Many sunscreens on the market today can leave behind a white, ashy cast on the skin, a surefire way to eliminate the desire to liberally slather it onto your skin. Of course, not all sunscreens have this side effect—here are some of our favorite sunscreens for dark skin tones—but many of them do, which is why it’s not surprising that one brand has gone viral for a formula that’s catered specifically for people of color. Meet: Black Girl Sunscreen.
BLACK GIRL SUNSCREEN
If it’s understood that sunscreen can help protect your skin against sun damage and cancer, why do so many people continue to ignore it in their daily routines? The answer may have something to do with the physical formula itself. A chalky residue on your skin is less than ideal, especially for those darker skin tones. According Dr. Hartman, it would serve beauty brands well to keep darker-skinned consumers in mind when creating their sunscreen formulations. “They can involve darker-skinned patients and dermatologists in trials and focus groups when they develop the new products,” he says. “As a dermatologist, it is frustrating to be presented with the newest and greatest sunscreen that promises to deliver, only to find a few minutes later that it still leaves a whitish-blue tint on my skin.”
And Dr. Hartman is barely the only one to think so. A quick scan of community boards online will reveal a growing frustration amongst consumers over a lack of sunscreens that work well on darker skin tones, and that’s precisely what prompted the creation of Black Girl Sunscreen.
Benefits: Black Girl Sunscreen caters specifically to people of color. According to the brand’s website, Black Girl Sunscreen is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that dries clear, boasts an SPF 30, and is formulated with carrot seed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, avocado, and shea butter. The innovative formula is also paraben-, fragrance- and oxybenzone-free. You can snag yours for just under $19 at blackgirlsunscreen.com.
How to Use It: Apply liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply after 80 minutes of sweating, swimming, and immediately after towel-drying.
Pro tip: Limit your time in the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the most intense. There currently isn’t a sunscreen on the market that can protect the skin from 100% of the sun’s harmful UV rays. To further protect yourself from the sun, wear protective clothing—such as wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves—and seek shade where possible.