We’ve all heard the myth that black girls don’t need sunblock — if they even tan. It’s simply not true. There is no debating it: 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 they’re still susceptible to skin cancer, sun spots, and wrinkles.
According to research from the University of Cincinnati, when discovered in African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, melanoma — a malignant tumor — is usually fatal because they are not using sunscreen or they wait until it’s too late to see a doctor for dark spots. Health experts advise everyone, regardless of skin color, to apply an SPF of at least 15. I love to keep a caramel/bronze glow to my skin, so I always make sure that I’ve lathered up in sunblock before laying out.