To protect and maintain healthy skin, an effective sunscreen is your best asset. But if you have Black skin or a dark skin tone, it can be challenging to find a sun-care product that melts seamlessly into skin without a trace, leaving no white cast. Challenging—but not impossible! There’s a wider range of flattering options available these days, and knowing what you’re looking for can simplify the search and lead you to a perfect match. To better understand the types of SPF formulas and what they offer, here’s everything you need to know about sunscreen for dark skin.
But first, let’s clear up a common misconception. It’s a myth that people with darker skin don’t get sunburned or need to wear sunscreen. While more melanin (the natural pigment that creates skin tone) does provide a built-in sun protection factor, the amount is very low in even the deepest skin tones and does not compensate for the daily damage that sun exposure can inflict. All skin tones need daily sun care that protects the face and body from UV rays, and the Canadian Dermatology Association recommends using one with a minimum SPF of 30.
It’s also important to look for a sunscreen for Black skin that provides broad-spectrum protection, which means it will shield skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Why does this matter? Because those two types of UV impact skin in very different ways. UVA rays are responsible for aging the skin by accelerating the breakdown of collagen. The result is a dry texture, sagging, fine lines and wrinkles. Thanks to an ability to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin where melanocytes are located, UVA can also disrupt the melanin process and encourage the development of dark spots, or hyperpigmentation and also cause long-term damage like skin cancer.
Meanwhile, UVB rays do the most damage to the upper layers of skin. They contribute to a sunburn and are also the cause of most skin cancers. Skin cancer is among the most commonly diagnosed cancers. It can be deadly, and yet most types are preventable. This is where daily use of sunscreen can be essential to one’s health, as evidence suggests that skin tone can impact an outcome. A U.S. study on skin tones and skin cancer found that people with dark skin have a higher mortality rate compared to those with lighter skin, citing the prevailing myth as a potential factor that prevents people of colour from seeking early, and lifesaving, diagnoses. You can learn more about how UVA and UVB rays affect the skin , but for a youthful appearance and optimal skin health, you want a sunscreen for dark skin that protects from both!
Now that you understand why sun protection should be a key part of a daily skincare routine for people with dark skin, familiarizing yourself with formulas is the next step in finding the best sunscreen for Black skin. The rule for all skin tones is that the best sunscreen is one you’ll want to wear every day. That’s right, it’s a 365-day commitment. So, it needs to be a formula that you enjoy applying in the morning and that provides a finish that’s totally undetectable. Oh, and it needs to suit your skin type too!
In the La Roche-Posay sunscreen lineup, there are two types of formulas: mineral and chemical. Mineral filters use ingredients that are capable of reflecting UV rays, and chemical filters contain ingredients that can absorb UV rays. Both provide highly effective UV protection, andyour preference will ultimately come down to whichever one feels best on your skin.
Mineral sunscreens are a great sun protection option for all skin types. However, in the past, the naturally white minerals have been hard to work with, resulting in chalky textures that often left a white or grey residue on dark skin. Equally unsightly on people with darker skin tones, in some cases, mineral sunscreen ingredients can also leave a blue or purple cast. But advancements in formulation have ushered in a new era of mineral sunscreen possibilities that boast diversity. Blending 100% mineral protection with skin tone pigments, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral One SPF 50+ Tinted Facial Sunscreen is a tinted sunscreen for dark skin that offers light-medium coverage in a natural satin finish. Available in five shades ranging from fair to deep, it provides high UVA and UVB protection along with a hydrating and antioxidant boost, thanks to hyaluronic acid and vitamin E.
The latest chemical sunscreens have also been dramatically upgraded and are now designed with thoughtful consideration for dark skin. Influenced by the watery textures that are popular in K-beauty sun care, fluid and gel formulas that melt invisibly into skin are replacing traditionally thick and heavy creams across the globe. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Fluid SPF 50+ Facial Sunscreen is a lightweight cream that absorbs into skin effortlessly and leaves behind no white marks, making it a great option as a sunscreen for Black skin. If your dark skin is of the combination, oily or acne-prone type, you’ll love how the non-sticky texture provides a matte finish that reduces shine.
The bottom line: Dark skin needs UV protection too! Now you’re equipped with everything you need to know to start today and to make sure your melanated complexion has a youthful, glowing and healthy future.