Sunscreen Use To Nurture Black Skin UK


Sunscreen For Black Skin UK

Using sunscreens and SPF-based sun care products have been interpreted by the conception that they are only designed for caucasian skin types. This is because those with a darker complexion were not viewed to be at the same risk factor, however, it is now apparent that those with a  black complexion are just as likely to experience UVB and UVA damage as all complexions. SPF is an acronym for Sun protection factor which indicates how long you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. When you see broad-spectrum sunscreen on products, this indicates that the product holds protection against the harmful effects of both UVA and UVB rays and they need to absorb or reflect at least 90% of the UV rays. 

There are 3 types of UV rays according to (Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation, 2020) which cause damages to the DNA of human skin which includes skin aging, raising the risk of cancers and wrinkles amongst many other skin concerns. It is important for people with all skin types and complexions now to protect our skin by wearing products that leave a protective barrier on the skin to protect from UV radiation. This is because sunlight is the main source emitting ultraviolet (UV) rays which contribute to our skin's DNA being damaged and leaves it prone to aging signs such as wrinkles. Not only this but more harmful issues can occur such as being at high risk of developing skin cancers. UV rays are released from both the sun and artificial sources such as sun lamps and beds and even the innocuous domestic light bulbs, laptops, and mobile phones.

UVA rays from the sun and artificial sources are thought to cause damage to skin cell DNA directly and penetrate through to the second layer of the skin. They lead to signs of aging, sunspots, and may raise the risk of cancers. UVA rays account for 95% of the radiation that reaches the earth's surface and they can penetrate through glass windows and clouds, they also bounce off surfaces such as water bodies, sand, snow, pavements and grass which is why it is still vital to wear sunscreen products despite being shaded or whilst out relaxing in the sun.

UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and affect the top layer of the skin within as little time as 15 minutes. They have slightly more energy than UVA rays and they cause damage to the skin's DNA so they are more strongly linked to skin cancers. UVC rays are more potent than all other types of UV rays. As well as this they do not reach the earth's surface as they get absorbed into the atmosphere so they are not thought to be a big risk factor when it comes to skin cancers. They are however found in man-made UV radiation sources such as old tanning beds, welding torches, and mercury lamps

Those of us who have dark skin have avoided using sunscreens for a long period of time as a result of the chalky white residue that comes as a result. I personally always felt more comfortable wearing sunscreen abroad as I felt more comfortable as no one in little villages around Europe seemed to notice, however back home, these feelings subsided, and I felt walking around with chalky streaks was more noticeable. These days, a lot of sunscreens are colorless and sinks in to be clear, making it easy for us to wear sunscreen products without these concerns. With brands now catching up with creating colored products that suit all complexions, a wide range of sunscreen products are prominent on the market for people with black skin.

(Sunscreens, 2020) explained some of the risk ingredients present within sunscreen products. When purchasing sun cream it is vital to ensure you are avoiding harmful ingredients. Active ingredients in sunscreens function as either mineral or chemical UV filters which keep harmful rays from the skin. Each has a different mechanism in protecting skin and maintaining stability in sunlight. The most common sunscreens contain chemical filters. These products usually include a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. A handful of products combine zinc oxide with chemical filters. According to the agency, “nearly all of these sunscreen active ingredients … have limited or no data characterizing their absorption.” In 2019 and 2020, FDA published two studies showing that the ingredients oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and avobenzone are all absorbed into the body after one use (Matta 2019, Matta 2020). The FDA also discovered that the sunscreen ingredients could be detected on the skin and in blood weeks after application ended (Matta 2020). These findings are worrying as they show that sunscreen chemicals are circulating in the blood, and the FDA has indicated that the agency does not have enough information to determine whether the chemicals are harmful. 

Below is a list of  useful recommended products/brands I suggest:

  1. Nivea Anti Age Protection Face Sun Cream SPF 30,
  2. Bioderma Hydrabio Eau de Soin SPF 30,
  3. Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen SPF 30,
  4. Eucerin Sun Fluid Mattifying SPF 50+
  5. Vichy Idéal Soleil Hydrating SPF30 Protective Solar Water,
  6. Bobbi Brown SPF50 Protective Face Base,
  7. La Roche Posay Anthelios Protective Oil SPF 50+,
  8. Solar Defence SPF 30,
  9. Neostrata Sheer Hydration SPF 35,
  10. Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50.


  1. 2020. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 10 July 2019].
  2. . Sunscreens, E., 2020. EWG's 2020 Guide To Safer Sunscreens. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 1 January 2020].

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