By Alexa Santory
There's this myth that if your skin has melanin, you don't need to wear sunscreen. Well, ladies and germs, summer is right around the corner and it's time to get real about SPF. We’re about to blow your minds because that theory is just false. It's 2018 and at this point, if it's not an essential part of your beauty routine, wyd?????
In every science class I’ve taken since elementary school, the main phrases they pounded into our heads were “holes in the ozone layer,” “Ultraviolet rays,” and “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.” The first two phrases are definitely useful to just about every breathing human, so let's break down what ultraviolet rays are and why they’re so important to worry about.
As if UV rays aren't scary enough just on their own, there's not one but three types of UV rays to know about. The ones we’re exposed to most are UVA and UVB, which cause signs of aging, sunburn, and skin cancers. The other type, UVC rays, are absorbed by the earth's ozone layer and don't affect us much.
Wait so, even if I’m tan, I still have to wear sunscreen?
In a word, yes. The amount of melanin your skin naturally produces does not make you impervious to harmful UV rays. Skin cancer is on the rise and its important to protect your skin no matter how light or dark you are.
I know some products with SPF tend not to be WoC friendly. Check out Auntie Jackie test different SPF products on dark skin!
What exactly does SPF protect me from?
Skin cancer seems scary enough, no? It also helps prevent skin discoloration, keeps your skin from looking splotchy, AND it slows down signs of aging. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to ride this baby-faced train till the wheels fall off. So, if you want to look younger than all your friends in 30 years, I'd suggest getting into some SPF pronto.
What are some other types of SPF besides the regular lotion?
One of the biggest qualms people have with SPF lotions is that they tend to clog the pores. My combination skin cannot handle it and I’ve had SPF cause terrible breakouts on my face. But don't let that scare you -- its 2018, there are alternatives to everything (even facts apparently). The reason this happens is because, more often than not, the sunscreen you’re buying from your local CVS is full of things we shouldn't be putting on our faces. I’m talking about ingredients the average person has to take their time sounding out. With this in mind, brands are making less toxic and more skin friendly sunscreens.
- Mineral sunscreens are what you wanna look for--those use zinc and titanium dioxide, two skin-friendly minerals.
- If it says “broad spectrum,” that means that it blocks all UV rays.
- As far as the number, that's your guide to how much longer you can be in the sun than you would without sun protection. The higher the number, the better the UV protection. Typically you want to aim for SPF 30 to 35; those numbers are going to give you the most sun protection possible. There's no way to avoid 100% of UV rays or sun exposure, so SPF with super high numbers is really only going to protect you as high as SPF 35 does. All there extra SPF is kind of just there.
What are other types of sun protection besides SPF?
While finding the right type of SPF for you can be a bit of a process, there's no way to avoid being exposed to UV rays, even on a cloudy day. But if you mustn't wear SPF, opt for hats and clothes that cover exposed skin. In the summer though, that can be uncomfortable. So your best bet is to keep searching for a good sunscreen. I promise you there is one out there.
Go forth and protect yourself from the sun. Your skin will thank you.
Tomorrow we learn about how UV rays affect our hair! You don't wanna miss this.
The Streets Are Talking
This mask is perfect for soothing the skin, which comes in handy during the summer. Try including banana in your recipe, which gently hydrates the skin.
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Don't you love watermelon during the summer? It's the star ingredient in this mask, it heals and hydrates the skin. Plus, its's anti-inflammatory!
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Speaking of skin, do you know your skin type? It's super helpful for maintaining gorgeous skin!