Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 12.19.19 PMWe’ve all heard the myth that black girls don’t need sunblock — if they even tan. It’s simply not true. There is no debating it: Women of all races need to wear SPF. SPF measures how long skin covered with sunscreen takes to burn compared to uncovered skin.

It is true that people with darker skin tones don’t sunburn as easily as those with fairer skin colors because they have an increased amount of epidermal melanin, which provides a natural SPF. Some people with very dark skin have a natural SPF of 13 and filter twice as much UV radiation. However, at the end of the day they’re still susceptible to skin cancer, sun spots, and wrinkles.

According to research from the University of Cincinnati, when discovered in African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, melanoma — a malignant tumor — is usually fatal because they are not using sunscreen or they wait until it’s too late to see a doctor for dark spots. Health experts advise everyone, regardless of skin color, to apply an SPF of at least 15. I love to keep a caramel/bronze glow to my skin, so I always make sure that I’ve lathered up in sunblock before laying out.

P.S.  Also, make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D!

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  • SteveBiko

    This is just completely insane.
    Why would black people need SPF? Our skin is more than able to protect us from UV rays by itself.

    How the fuck did we survive for millenia in Africa without SPF? This makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever. I’ve never been sunburned in my life, and neither has anyone in my nation (I don’t use the word “tribe”, as there is no word for that in my language) , let alone contracted skin cancer.

    You’re wasting your money!

    • Brownieluv

      Most African Americans, have a very significant amount of ‘other’ in their bloodline so we aren’t all immune to sunburn. We do and can get skin cancer although it is less often. My friend (yes, black) developed skin cancer when he was a kid. I have sunburned, and I’m very brown-skinned. My own mother & sister both have sun-sensitivity. So, no, this article isn’t insane.

    • Tanielle

      Actually it is not at all insane. If you are from and African Nation and are talking about the people in your nation what does that have to do with African American’s in the US who don’t share your blood line. I know many African American’s who have gone to places like the Caribbean and Hawaii and because of you silly and ignorant thinking got a really bad sun burn. Do you research before spreading false information. Black people get skin cancer too. Further more, given what humans are doing to the ozone and effects of harmful sun rays are increasing.

    • Natasha

      Tell that to my black ass that always gets burnt during the summer and my uncle that died of stage 4 melanoma because he beleived that ‘niggas like me don’t get skin cancer’

    • KingShaka

      Actually my black people use red-clay as natural sunblock. You only need to visit any rural village here in Africa during planting season. You will find women working the fields with red-clay on their arms and faces.

  • MissFLondon

    This might seem ridiculous to some but Bob Marley died of melanoma.

    Africans use shea butter and coconut oil which have similar effects. Diasporic Blacks have a significant amount of white, European blood, to varying degrees, so yes we do need to reconsider sunscreen.

  • Naps93

    Sunblock is important regardless of how dark/light you are. The whole notion that black people don’t need sunblock is incorrect. My at-home dermatologist, who is a black woman, really encouraged me to start using sunblock especially because of my acne. It can take longer for acne scars and dark marks to fade if they are constantly being exposed to UV rays! Since using sunblock regularly for the past two years, my skin has become a lot more even. The Neutrogena sunblock mentioned is absolutely great! I have very dark skin, and it doesn’t leave me looking gray/ashy. It’s also pretty cheap, and a little goes a long way. Thanks for the article Clutch!

  • verban

    people of color need to wear sunscreen more than they think. the very thing that makes dark skin unique (melanin) causes a lot of dark marks left behind by acne, scars, cuts. The sun trigger excess melanin that cause dark marks and current marks to get darker. A broad spectrum (UVB/UVA protection) will help you maintain healthy and great looking skin. Dark skin has an SPF of around 14 but you still need added protection. Skin cancer occur less often in skin of color but African Americans die more often because it’s discovered at a late stage. The overall 5-year melanoma survival rate for African Americans is only 77 percent compare to 91 percent for Caucasians. I’ve used EXTRASHADE sunscreen and love it’s lightweight, moisturizing and doesn’t leave white streaks on my skin! I LOVE IT!

  • Lively LayD

    I become very red and have to have it. I don’t burn, but my doctor advised I wear it because of the red undertones in my skin. My brother walked around the entire summer call me “two toned,” so embarrassing!