Bursting the Myth – Is Sunscreen Good For Dark Skin Tones?

It’s natural to think as a dark skin you won’t need sunscreen. After all, your natural sun protector melanin is there for a reason. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong when it comes to sunscreen for dark skin tones.

The thought that black doesn’t crack should be taken as a myth that exists in the black community. One of the reasons people believe this is because early dermatological researches did not include black skin.

 According to a study in 2012, 47 percent of the dermatologists questioned made known they weren’t trained properly when it comes to black skin. So you can see how this will naturally flow to the cosmetics and skincare industry. When results from researches are what lead manufacturers to create solutions.

This also, is what fueled the myth that dark skins don’t need sunscreen. However, things are taking a slightly different turn when it was found that dark-skinned people visited the hospital for sun-related issues more than their light skin counterparts.

There is now a need for people to use sunscreens, no matter the skin color. But as aware as people are becoming about the non-triviality of sunscreens, some are still in doubt if they need sunscreens. Therefore, knowing why sunscreen is good for dark skin tones is important.

Benefits of Sunscreen for Dark Skin Tones


Good sunscreen has many benefits to the skin. And as we realize, it also has benefits for dark skins, including saving your skin from many sun-related issues and illness.

This is why knowing what is good for your skin is important. To raise awareness for skin health. The following are benefits sunscreen provides for dark skins.

1. Protect the skin

Day in day out when we are active under the sun. And our exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays keeps damaging our skin. Without protecting it, there is no telling what would happen to the skin. And contrary to what some dark skin tones think, black does crack.

Just like any other skin type, black skin is affected by the UV rays of the sun. Wearing sunscreen will protect our skin from the harsh rays, shielding the rays by bouncing them off. Also, the fact that black skins do get sunburns makes using sunscreen a must.

You have to use SPF (sun protection factor) to protect your skin from the harsh red spots that would appear on it after staying under the sun for too long.

2. Saves from skin cancer

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a common type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, is usually developed from prolonged exposure to the sun. Although black or colored people are less likely to get skin cancer than white people, they tend to be diagnosed during the late stages of the disease.

This is also the case of melanoma. According to a study, dark skin people are four times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease in its advanced stage because they were not caught or sighted early. This is why sunscreen is needed. To keep the skin shielded.

However, it should be worthy to note that some skin cancer develop in certain areas of the body which are not exposed to the sun. The disease is sometimes not the direct effect of the harsh elements of the sun. But skin color does affect early detection.

This is why triple board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Candice Heath, advises dark-skinned people to get checked. “You are not immune to skin cancer. You don’t want to die from something preventable,” she says.

3. Reduces sign of aging skin

One thing about using sunscreen is to protect your skin from external harsh elements. Constant exposure to the sun affects our skin in so many ways, including aging it very fast. When the skin ages fast, wrinkles, age spots, and fine lines appear.

Wearing your sunscreen will protect your skin from not losing its elasticity prematurely. This would also make you age slower. And when paired with great moisturizers that hydrate and moisturize your skin, your skin texture will be maintained.


4. Maintains the skin complexion

Dark skin tones tend to deal with hyperpigmentation because it is melanin-rich. This skin discoloration is sometimes caused by sun exposure. You could one day realize that you have dark spots on your skin.

This is because the skin produces the chemical melanin when it becomes more exposed to the UV rays of the sun. Then, too melanin causes hyperpigmentation and worsens the appearance of dark spots.

Using sunscreen, your pigmentation and complexion will be managed and controlled. At least your spots won’t get darker than they should. Also, there is avoiding patchy pigmentation caused by sunburns that turn to scar. All these hyperpigmentation-related effects can be slowed with the use of sunscreens.

5. Nourishes the skin

Cloth is worn to cover and protect the body. You should wear sunscreen to shield and cover your skin. Also, when you wear sunscreen, you would be nourishing your skin with the necessary ingredients it needs to stay clear, hydrated, and refreshed.

Also, when you sweat, you usually sweat out the nutrients from your skincare products. However, sunscreens are fortified with vitamins that would stick to the skin, even after sweating or getting wet. Therefore, not only will your skin stay protected, but it will also be nourished.

Frequently Asked Questions

sunscreen for dark skin

Do dark skin have natural SPF?

Yes, they do. Dark skin tones have natural sun protection factor (SPF) of up to 13.

The skin produces more melanin cells, and they serve as a natural protector against the sun. However, this is not impenetrable. You would still need sunscreen to protect your skin from harm or damages.

Also, melanin in dark skin filters twice the UV rays than in light skin. Therefore, the SPF 13 is less than the recommended SPF 30 and above, which is needed for daily protection. Melanin can only protect from some damages and may not be enough to protect the skin from UVB rays.

Do dark skin tan or sunburn?

Yes, it does. According to the Fitzpatrick scale, the darker your skin, the more you are likely to tan and not get sunburned.

There are six categories on the scale. And from type 4 to 6, the skin rarely burns but it tans easily. The type 4 to 6 categories consist of people with brown to really black skins. However, this does not mean the skin does not get sunburned. It is still susceptible to burns based on different reasons.

So if you have dark skin and want to look sun-kissed with a tan, you can. But you should not forget to wear your sunscreen to protect you from the sun’s damages. The sunscreen must have an SPF of 30 at least to get a tan without burning.


Does sun exposure provide vitamin D for dark skin?

Yes, it does. However, you need an ample amount of time in the sun to provide the right amount of vitamin D for your skin equivalent to that of lighter skin.

Vitamin D is derived when the skin is exposed to the sun, causing the cholesterol in the skin to process it. The vitamin is actually something there isn’t enough in the human body.

It is created when ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are caught by the cholesterol in the skin cells, creating energy. This begins the process of vitamin D synthesis.

For dark skin tones, melanin makes it difficult for the skin to absorb enough UVB rays. According to studies, the skin absorbs 50 to 70% less of the sun’s UV rays than lighter skin tones. This makes it harder for vitamin D to be made in the skin.

Therefore dark skins need to stay under the sun longer than their light skin counterparts. Dark skin tones need about 30 to three hours under the sun to absorb ample vitamin D needed.

But this does not mean you shouldn’t use sunscreen. Because sunscreen protects the skin from UV and UVB rays doesn’t mean it won’t attract enough sunlight needed for the creation of vitamin D.

Are sunscreens for dark skin tones different?

Yes, they are. This mostly has to do with the ingredients than the skin tone.

Some sunscreens do not do justice to dark skin tones. Their formula causes a white cast on the skin. Such sunscreens are formulated with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

It is best to use sunscreens with particles such as micronized zinc and titanium dioxide like Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense Sunscreen Lotion. The sunscreen would leave a transparent film behind and protect the skin too.

beautiful black woman


Sunscreen for dark skin tones is important because, unlike the myths we grew up believing, our skin is not immune to the effects of the sun. We need sunscreen just as any other skin tones. This is why I have highlighted the benefits of sunscreen for dark skin tones.

Not only would you be saving your skin from the sun’s UV rays, but you would be reducing the risk of getting skin cancer. However, you must still do a regular skin checkup because it has been discovered that colored skins tend to discover skin cancer like melanoma in its advanced stage. Prevention they say is better than cure.

But you should know that as you head out for the day, sunscreen should be part of your skincare routine because it’s your best protection from harsh elements.

Africana Fashion provides relevant health-related articles to help improve your daily lifestyle.