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There was a huge conversation around SPF over the weekend and many were questioning whether it was necessary for people of darker skin tones. It is clear that there is a lot of confusion around the subject so I am here to demystify it for you.

SPF is proven to protect against skin cancer BUT, this does not apply to people of darker skin tones. In black people, the most common sites of melanoma are in the palms, soles of the feet and mouth; these are not areas where you would apply sunscreen and therefore, cannot be prevented by the use of it.

So do black people need SPF? It depends. SPF protects the skin from sun damage which can present as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, melasma and premature ageing. If you are concerned about any of these things, then yes, you should be wearing sunscreen. Also, if you are using skincare products that make your skin sensitive to sunlight (it usually says on the packaging) and/or your home receives direct sunlight, then you should be wearing sunscreen even while you are at home.

SPF protects all skin types from sunburn, so I would definitely recommend using it if you are spending the day at the beach or by an outdoor pool. For efficacy, the minimum SPF rating required is 30 and it blocks 97% of UVB rays. SPF 50 provides you with 98% protection (not much difference) and anything above that is a marketing ploy to charge you more money.

SPF should be reapplied every 2-3 hours however, if you wear make-up, this is only possible by getting SPF in a powder or spray form. I understand that this can be tricky for black women; it's hard enough finding a foundation shade that matches, finding a powder SPF that is complimentary can be practically impossible. I have tried spraying SPF over my make-up and it can leave a white cast or make you look greasy. The struggle is real.

I wrote a post on my recommended sunscreens for dark skin. They are still good recommendations but I do have an updated list; let me know if you'd like me to post it. It's called 'skincare' for a reason; take care of your skin.


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