• The Material Issue

    The Ultimate Dark Skin Friendly Sunscreen Guide

    The Material Issue
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    Masque Up

    My Favorite Sunscreens for Dark Skin

    For most of us spring has sprung which means you might be spending more time outside underneath the sun and doing nature things. Personally, I’m not a fan of the sun. I hate being hot, I hate sweating, not to mention blinding sunshine, sun damage – I can go on and on about how the sun is a hater. However, I live in an area that is far more likely to experience sunshine rather than rain showers and dark clouds so I’m adamant about protecting my skin from the Disney villain in the sky. 

    First let’s dispel some common rumors: 

    “You don’t need sunscreen if your skin is dark.”
    False! The more melanin you have the more sun you can absorb without fear of burning, however you are just as susceptible to skin cancers, sun damage/spots and wrinkles as the less pigmented among us.

    “You only need sunscreen when the sun is out.”
    Again, false. The sun is always lurking, friends. UV rays are stronger than all of us and have no problem radiating through the thickest of clouds. Wear your sunscreen! Consider it as essential as your moisturizer. Never leave home without it. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to use at minimum a 30+ broad spectrum SPF. For more in depth information on the function of sunscreen, check out this thorough blog post from an actual dermatology resident.

    Now that you know the reasons for  being vigilant about sunscreen, let’s address the gigantic elephant in the room: most sunscreens are not formulated with dark-skinned people of color in mind. Yes, it’s absolutely ridiculous that in 2017 some of us can’t simply waltz into a drugstore and purchase a sunscreen that won’t leave behind a white cast and ashy skin. When I started my intense skincare journey, my greatest obstacle was finding a good sunscreen that would protect my skin and not undo all of the hard work (and money) I’d invested. And of course I’m going to share my findings with you. Here are my top sunscreens for dark skinned beauties.

    Murad Invisiblur™ Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++ – Protection and primer in one, this sunscreen is silicone-based and leaves you with a smooth surface that blurs pores and small imperfections and is invisible underneath makeup. For a slightly less expensive version of this sunscreen check out the Cover FX Clear Cover Invisible Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30.

    Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock Broad Spectrum SPF 70 – Super high SPF which is great if you regularly use photosensitive products such as acne medications, retinols or facial acids. This sunscreen looks opaque at first glance and disappears into the skin without a trace, leaving no greasiness behind.

    Bare Republic SPF30 Clear Screen – Gel sunscreens are excellent if you have skin prone to acne breakouts or oiliness. This sunscreen absorbs quickly without any stickiness and feels like you’re not wearing any.

    Benefit Specialist Dream Screen Invisible Silky-Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Sunscreen For Face – This sunscreen feels like a moisturizer and leaves your skin silky like a luxurious serum. It does make your skin dewy so it may be better suited for dry skin types if you’re not into richly hydrating products. Also highly recommend this sunscreen for cold weather as it will help fight against chapped skin.

    Bioré Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+ PA+++ 50g – This Japanese sunscreen is my absolute favorite because it’s a hydrating gel like liquid that dissolves into what feels like water on the skin leaving a smooth surface. Snatch it up on Amazon and hope Biore releases this magic worldwide soon.

    Julep No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel – Another gel sunscreen that feels like air on the skin. Absorbs quickly with a translucent finish. Excellent if you layer on skincare products before applying makeup because it is very thin.

    UNSUN Mineral Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 – This sunscreen is special. One, it’s a mineral sunscreen (aka physical), which typically have more natural ingredients than chemical sunscreens. Two, it’s owned by Frank Ocean’s mom, Katonya Breaux. (OK maybe that shouldn’t make it “special.”) This sunscreen was formulated with a special mineralized tint that prevents the white cast.

    More sun protection tips:

    • If you’re spending a lot of time outside, it’s a good idea to wear a giant floppy hat to protect your scalp and shades to protect the delicate skin around your eyes. Also not a bad idea to find a nice leafy tree as shade. You can still soak up all the vitamin D you need to function without being in direct sunlight.
    • Don't forget to protect your neck, chest and the back of your hands. Just as your face is susceptible to premature aging when subjected to the sun, so are these areas. Spread the sunscreen love their way too.
    • Sunscreen typically lasts for two hours if you’re participating in activities that cause you to perspire or if you make contact with water from swimming, downpours, and so on. If you foresee any of these things in your immediate future be sure to carry sunscreen with you.
    • Be generous with your application. To make sure you’re getting the maximum protection apply your sunscreen liberally, covering every inch of your face. Better safe than sorry. 
    • Sunscreen is an absolute must if you’re using photosensitive products that chemically exfoliate your skin or acne medications such as Accutane. Without at least 30 SPF your skin is highly susceptible to burning, hyperpigmentation, and scarring. You’re working hard for your complexion, it makes sense to maintain it with sunscreen.

    There you have it! Sunscreen without the pain of wasted time and money. Go out and get some sunshine, if that’s what you’re into.

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