Top Recommended Sunscreens for Dark Skin

We’ve all heard the myth that black women and men don’t need sunblock — if they even tan. It’s simply not true.  Men and women of all races need to wear SPF. SPF measures how long skin covered with sunscreen takes to burn compared to uncovered skin.

It is true that people with darker skin tones don’t sunburn as easily as those with fairer skin colors because they have an increased amount of epidermal melanin, which provides a natural SPF. Some people with very dark skin have a natural SPF of 13 and filter twice as much UV radiation. However, at the end of the day, we’re all still susceptible to skin cancer, sun spots, and wrinkles.

The leading cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and, according to the National Cancer Institute, over one million people are diagnosed a year. On top of this, many African Americans assume that, due to their darker skin tones, they can skip sunscreen altogether. The result? Higher death rates from melanoma, a dangerous skin cancer.

We have compiled a list of the sunscreens most recommended by physicians and dermatologists for people with dark skin.

  • Bare Republic Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30: Mineral based and 100% natural, chemical-free.
  • Exuviance Sheer Daily Protector SPF 50: A really great all around sunscreen at the top of the sunscreen game. Formulated with vitamin E, green tea, and lactobionic acid and is also really great for mature skin.
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Tinted Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen SPF 50: Great for sensitive skin.
  • Aveeno Active Naturals Protect + Hydrate for Face SPF 50: Absorbs fast and looks natural.
  • Clarins UV Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40
  • L’Oreal Advanced Suncare Silky Sheer Face Lotion SPF 50
  • Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30. A great classic go-to and works really great under makeup.
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face and Body Stick Sunscreen SPF 70
  • Renee Rouleau Daily Protection SPF 30: Great all skin types and especially for oily, acne-prone and sensitive skin.
  • SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50: Tinted, mattifying and works on all skin types.
  • Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist With Rosemary SPF 50: This is a great three in one refresher sunscreen that provides UV protection and also sets makeup and helps control oil and shine.
  • Solbar Zinc Sunscreen SPF 38: All all around winner and popular dermatologist recommendation. It’s great for all skin types and combinations. It also has zinc oxide which makes this a win-win sunscreen.

How much sunscreen should I use, and how often should I apply it?

  • Use enough sunscreen to generously coat all skin that will be not be covered by clothing. Ask yourself, “Will my face, ears, arms or hands be covered by clothing?” If not, apply sunscreen. Most people only apply 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen.8
  • Follow the guideline of “1 ounce, enough to fill a shot glass,” which dermatologists consider the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body. Adjust the amount of sunscreen applied depending on your body size.
  • Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
  • Skin cancer also can form on the lips. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, or after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the bottle.

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