“Black don’t crack” is often a phrase of endearment among the Black community when referencing an elder that looks good. What if I told you your Black could crack? That is if you don’t take care of it, of course. We often neglect the use of suncare. UV Rays can have damaging effects on the skin. Here I have some info on UV Rays, the effects, and ways to protect that melanin!
What are UVA and UVB Rays?
There are many different types of rays present in sunlight. The rays that are most damaging to our skin are called ultraviolet (UV) rays. Two basic types of ultraviolet rays reach the earth’s surface—UVB and UVA. UVB rays are responsible for producing sunburn. The UVB rays also play the most significant role in causing skin cancers, including the deadly black mole form of skin cancer (malignant melanoma).
UVA rays also play a role in skin cancer formation. Also, the UVA rays penetrate more deeply into the skin and play a significant role in premature skin aging changes, including wrinkle formation (photoaging).
Deepening Hyperpigmentation (Dark Marks and Scarring)
An increase in melanin production causes hyperpigmentation. Melanin is the natural pigment that gives our skin, hair, and eyes their color. This increased production is triggered by various factors, but the main ones are sun exposure, age, hormonal influences, and skin injuries or inflammation.
Sun exposure is the number one cause of hyperpigmentation as it’s sunlight that triggers the production of melanin in the first place. Melanin acts as your skin’s natural sunscreen by protecting you from harmful rays, which is why people tan in the sun. But excessive sun exposure can disrupt this process, leading to hyperpigmentation.
Melanin Protects us from Skin Cancer
It’s true! It is a bit harder for Black skin to develop skin cancer. Our melanin does protect us from it. However, it does not make us exempt.
Physical sunblock sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the main active ingredients in physical blocks. You know those movies where you see the lifeguard with the white paste on his nose. That’s a physical sunscreen. As a Black Woman, who has time for that? I use chemical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs UV rays, converts the rays into heat, and releases them from the body.
So, a couple of tips and recommendations. First, you want to use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. I use Black Girl Sunscreen or SuperGoop Unseen Screen as my daily base. It doesn’t leave a white cast like other sunscreens. Then, you want to reapply every two hours. To refresh during the day, I use Supergoop! Defense Refreshsetting Mist SPF 50. It is a lightweight mist that can also double as a makeup refresher.
Please, do your melanin a favor and protect it! Thanks for reading!