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Sun screen for black skin

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Q. Do people with black skin need to wear sun screen?
A. YES!

Regardless of your skin colour, you are advised to wear an SPF whenever you are exposed to the sun’s rays or any prolonged period. While people with black skin typically do not burn as quickly as people with white skin, continuous and regular sun exposure can lead to a range of skin problems later on in life. Hyperpigmentation is one such major problem. Many black women in their 30’s and older quite suddenly develop outbreaks of dark spots on their complexions. This is a direct result of years of unprotected sun exposure.

What is an SPF ?


The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) shown on the sunscreen label varies from 2 to as much as 50 and refers to the ability of the sunscreen to block out and neutralize the harmful rays from the sun. If you use a sunscreen with an SPF 15, you can be in the sun 15 times longer than you would be able to without sunscreen before burning. Sunscreen users should know that SPF protection does not increase proportionally with an increased SPF number. While an SPF of 2 will absorb 50% of ultraviolet radiation, an SPF of 15 absorbs 93% and an SPF of 34 absorbs 97%.


It is also a good idea to have a combination of chemical sunscreens in your product. Some protect from UVB rays that cause the skin to burn, while others from UVA rays that accelerate the rate of aging in the skin.
Chemical sunscreens come highly recommended for black skin. When formulated in the right way, these will melt into the skin without leaving behind a residue as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide both do.

How SPF works


In the same way a screen filters light, a sunscreen filters the rays of the sun. The ingredients in sunscreen absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation by acting as a barrier on the surface of the skin. Energy from sunlight is converted to heat, which spreads into the atmosphere without causing any damage. No sunscreen can shield from the sun’s rays completely, so it’s important if you desire complete protection to wear long sleeves, hats, sunglasses etc…


How much SPF should be used?

Initially one has to calculate how fast their skin burns. If it takes you 20 minutes to burn, then you will be protected for 300 minutes with an SPF of 15 or 600 minutes with an SPF of 30. You multiply the time it takes for your skin to burn (20 minutes) by the amount of SPF in your sunscreen. If you are sweating or going swimming, it’s important to frequently put on fresh layers of sunscreen to keep protected.

Good Sunscreen ingredients for black skin


Look for ingredients such as Octinoxate, Octisalate and Avobenzone. If you do use a physical sunscreen such as zinc or titanium dioxide, look for a micelized version.