Sunscreen I have noticed is something that is missing in most skin care routines when I talk to clients on a daily. Clients will invest in a costly skincare product and then decide that sunscreen should be the product that they skip out on. Sunscreen!! (in Soulja Boy voice) Is vital for everyone including women of color. The sun can be damaging to the skin below the epidermis layer (the outermost layer of skin). It also is the number one cause of aging, fine lines, and wrinkles. If your someone like myself and likes to use products that contain AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) think glycolic acid and BHA’s (Beta Hydroxy Acid) think salicylic acid applying sunscreen is non-negotiable. These ingredients can make the skin super sensitive to the sun so using a daily SPF is necessary.
Along with sensitivity not using daily SPF can cause dark spots on your skin to become darker if sun protection isn’t used. Why deal with all of that when you can just use sunscreen and move on with your life! And yes women of color need sunscreen as well and can get sunburned! Figured I would just get that myth out the way before I continue.
Sunscreens are made a lot better these days meaning there is more selection to finding one that doesn’t leave an ashy cast, flashback in photos, stink and cause the skin to breakout. I’ll walk through picking out sunscreen and what you should be looking for.
The first step into picking a sunscreen is deciding whether you want it to be physical sunscreen or chemical sunscreen.
Difference between Physical and Chemical Sunscreen
Physical sunscreen is recommended usually when your more on the sensitive side and tend to break out easily. The active ingredients to protect from sun damage are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Physical sunscreen sits on the surface of the skin to block UVA & UVB rays and doesn’t penetrate the dermis (beneath the outermost layer of skin). Since physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin, the texture is usually thick and most times does leave a cast.
Chemical sunscreen usually contains ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, and octisilate. These ingredients penetrate the epidermis and dermis and protect from UVA & UVB rays. Most chemical sunscreens are lighter and thinner in texture and can be found in most foundations and tinted moisturizers.
Once you decide whether you want physical or chemical sunscreen, you then can choose to play around with options and see whats the best fit for you. Usually when your more on the oily/acne prone skin side SPF’s that are oil-free and lightweight are often the best option. Dryer skin types can go for something more creamy or hydrating.
I use a separate sunscreen on top of my moisturizer. I listed some of my favorites below that are brown girl friendly and don’t leave a cast on the skin.
Besides your traditional sunscreens, there are so many options to get daily use of SPF such as powders, tinted moisturizers, primers, setting sprays and bb creams. So everyone should have SPF in their skincare routine no matter the season or weather. We are being exposed to UVA/UVB rays every single day, and there is no need to make the aging process go faster. So I say get SPF in your routine immediately if you haven’t done so already. I promise you will thank me 10-15 years from now.