Dust off your rompers, cue up “Steal My Sunshine,” and fill up on froyo because summer is on its way.
Go ahead and do your summer shimmy. I’ll wait.
With summer fun comes summer sun, and while it feels so, so good after a long winter, the rays can wreak havoc on your skin.
That’s why everyone needs sun protection. White people. Black people. Brown people. Seriously, everyone needs sun protection.
Because black and brown people can get sunburns too.
Let me say this one more time for people in the back: Black and brown people get sunburns too.
The melanin, or pigment, in our skin does provide a certain degree of protection, but it doesn’t make us immune to sunburns, skin damage, or skin cancer. In fact, a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed black patients are often diagnosed with later stage melanoma and have the lowest survival rates by ethnicity.
The first line of defense against the sun’s harmful rays is typically sunscreen, but for those of us with more melanin, the white cream leaves an unsightly residue on our skin.
The culprit? Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, two common sunblock ingredients that help reflect sunlight. If you have a darker complexion, it’s not a good look. Basically, we go to the beach looking like ashy ghosts in a flour factory.
This, coupled with the fact that many people of color mistakenly assume they’re not at risk for skin damage, may explain why 63% of black participants in one survey said they never used sunscreen.
That decision is killing us. Thankfully, one company came up with a fresh solution.
Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa developed a sunblock specifically for black women.
Go ahead and do your black girl magic shimmy. I’ll wait.
Chidozie and Obidoa are the cofounders of Bolden, a skin-care brand built by and for brown women and girls to meet the needs of our unique skin and complexions. The women are skin-care and beauty enthusiasts with MBAs, so starting their own business in 2015 was a natural fit.
“We’re here to solve the skin-care problems that black women face,” Obidoa says.
A common problem for many black women is hyperpigmentation, which can become exaggerated with sun damage. Bolden’s solution? SPF 30 Brightening Moisturizer is a facial sunblock that guards against UV damage, keeps skin moisturized, and dries clear. (Yep, no more ashy ghosts at the beach.) Down the road, they hope to release a body sunblock too.
“I think there’s a lot of education that needs to go on around the need for sunscreen,” Chidozie says. “[Melanin] gives you a false sense of protection or safety that ‘I don’t need to wear sunscreen.’ But you do.”
So this summer: Have fun, rock your favorite swimsuit, eat your weight in watermelon, and use sun protection.
Keep your melanin poppin’, now and forever. You’ll be glad you did.