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No matter how light or dark your natural skin tone may be, you’ll want to protect your skin from the sun - every day.
Contrary to popular belief, the sun can damage even the darkest skin tones, no matter the pigmentation, or skin color. There are a number of reasons why all skin types and skin tones need to protect themselves from the sun in order to stay safe, healthy and beautiful. In this article we’ll explore the effects of the sun on all skin tones, the myths behind melanin protecting your naturally dark skin, and our natural tips to protect your skin from the sun so it can stay healthy and youthful.
How the sun damages our skin all year long
Throughout history cultures have been protecting their skin from the sun, from ancient Egypt - with rice bran extract and jasmine, to the Pacific Islands - with coconut oil. However, since the ozone layer has been deteriorating (ever since the industrial revolution), we are even more vulnerable to the sun than ever before.
At this point, most of us are aware of the importance of wearing sunscreen. But, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the sun’s effects on our skin, so we really prioritize protecting our skin and therefore our health. The unfortunate fact is, most of us are not wired to prevent health care issues, and only wake up when it’s too late. Let’s not be a part of the latter group, but a part of those who will take their health and beauty into their own hands today (and everyday for that matter!)
The harsh UV rays of the sun can cause:
- Skin cancer
- Dark spots
- Allergic reactions
If hyperpigmentation is an issue on your list of concerns, check out Vonetta Cosmetics’ Pigment Perfecting Kit which not only includes the Extreme Suncare Gel, but also the Pigment Relief Cleansing Gel and the Triple Action Lightening Gel. We also have a Triple Action Lightening Gel (and yes, the product is as awesome as the name), which is an anti-aging gel and a natural skin brightener. Yes please!
Breaking the Myth: Black Men and Women Don't Need Sunscreen
Even if your skin doesn’t seem to be burning under excess sun exposure, it sure is getting damaged - and that’s a fact. Many believe that the high levels of melanin in the skin (what makes pigment darker) acts as a shield against the sun’s harsh rays. If only that were true! Melanin is believed to provide a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of approximately 13, but it’s not enough to protect the skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
The scary news is, that anyone can get skin cancer from those blazing UV rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, only 65 percent of African Americans survive melanoma, as opposed to the 91% rate for caucasians. Most doctors believe the reason for this disparity is because of a lack of early detection, which is mostly because of a lack of circulating information and therefore, awareness.
According to Dr. Susan Taylor, a Harvard-trained dermatologist and internist:
“...those from African-American, Asian, Latino and Native American backgrounds usually have higher morbidity and mortality rates for several types of skin cancer than their white counterparts. This lower survival rate is a direct result of late detection or misdiagnosis.”
So please, protect your skin and pay special attention to common skin cancer areas like the bottom of the foot, lower leg, palms, under the fingernails and toenails, and the genital area. It’s also important to have a dermatologist you can trust, and one who is well informed on all skin types and skin tones.
Natural Tips to Protect Your Skin from the Sun
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of slathering on sunscreen everyday (even on cloudy days) then we recommend you protect your skin by remaining in the shade, wearing a hat that protects your face, and wearing sunglasses (with lenses that have 99% to 100% UV absorption). It’s especially important to protect your skin when you’re around sand, water or snow, which reflects the sun’s UV rays.
Though the sun is actually good for your health, ie Vitamin D and so on, try to avoid the sun from 10am to 4pm when the rays are harshest. Around 30 minutes a day in the sun is considered healthy sun exposure. But best of all, find a sunscreen which you love and feel safe with. One that doesn’t clog your pores or leave your skin feeling greasy. Vonetta Cosmetics has designed a broad spectrum Extreme Suncare Gel with an SPF of 30, which is non-greasy and PABA free, can be used on all skin types, and doesn’t leave your skin with a synthetic or bothersome scent.
Final Thoughts on Sunscreen
Even though Vonetta Cosmetics wants you to look and feel beautiful, we also believe in safety first. Even when we may not feel the heat and strength of the sun, it is making its way through those clouds, or on cold winter days, and potentially damaging our skin. We know how tempting it is to think in the moment and want immediate beauty results. But you also don’t want to end up somewhere down the line with permanent skin problems. Because that’s just it - when the sun damages the skin, many of those spots, marks and wrinkles are there to stay.
If you've recently noticed a weird mark or spot anywhere on your skin, please go and get it checked. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and world wide. Let’s not even bother taking that risk!
Have you started to use sunscreen as your daily moisturizer? Tell us why, we’d love to hear your story!