Summer won’t officially be over until September 21 (can you believe it?) but my mind tends to change seasons based on the academic calendar. According to my brain, fall begins on the first day of school, August 26, and that is when I expect to see a large drop off in sunscreen usage, especially for us colored folk. Bad move.
People with darker skin tones can have natural SPFs of 13 – admittedly, a much higher level of protection than lighter-skinned individuals who may have SPFs of only 3 or 4. Our melanin really does give us that boost… but it’s not completely enough. Come on. Apply that sunscreen. It takes only a few extra seconds – and do you really want to risk years of sun exposure to discover if your black will in fact, crack? Hint: without adequate protection, it probably will.
So before you toss the sunblock in the drawer for an extended vacation, here are a few other things you should consider:
1. You might rather slather over spray. There has been some concern over whether sprays damage lungs in the long run.
2. It’s not “one and done”. Sunscreen should be reapplied every few hours, even the creams that claim to be waterproof.
3. Already sunburned? Sooth the pain with the help of aloe vera gel and a cold compress. Your body will thank you.
4. Since so many buy into the incorrect notion that black people don’t get skin cancer, it takes much longer to get diagnosed. By that time, the cancer is often in a more advanced and aggressive stage; the chance of death is much higher. Scary and preventable.