Your skin tone is not a determining factor as to whether or not you need to wear sunscreen. Frankly speaking, every skin tone needs sun protection. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun don’t care about how light or dark you are, they still pose a risk to the health of your skin. Although skin cancer is extremely rare among people of colour, we are all still at risk of sun damage.
Yes, melanin makes it harder for UV rays to penetrate skin, however, melanin does not account for sun damage. Getting darker or getting a “tan” from the sun is an indicator of sun damage. This is because more melanin is produced to protect damaged cells from sun exposure. Sun exposure without protection also causes premature ageing, sunburn, hyperpigmentation and discoloration.
For protection from harmful UV rays, U.S. based esthetician, Nayamka Roberts-Smith recommends a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) between 30 and 50. Anything above SPF50 is ineffective and nothing more than a marketing tool to make you spend more money than you need to. Makeup and skincare products with SPF in them are not as effective as generic sunscreens. Always accompany your other beauty products with a separate sunscreen.
Finding a good sunscreen for darker skin can be a challenge. No one wants to walk around looking like Casper the ghost! Gel-based sunscreens are a great option because they disappear into the skin, and there are some cream-based sunscreens in the beauty market that won’t make you look ashy. Some brands that produce dark skin-friendly sunscreens are Neutrogena, Glossier and Olay.