It’s 2015, and there are still a lot of people who believe that people with medium to dark skin do not need to wear sun protection. Yes, we could sit in the sun longer before burning, but that will inevitably have a negative effect on your skin for years to come. And it has been shown that the incidence of cancerous cells occur less in people with tan or darker skin, but the cases tend to be more severe as they are often caught later.
So (I’m about to get a little technical here) what does a sunscreen do? Sunscreens contain ingredients that provide protection against two types of radiation from the sun – UVA and UVB, which stands for Ultraviolet Type A and Ultraviolet Type B. Some sunscreens are physical sunscreens, i.e. they physically block or reflect the sun’s rays, or chemical sunscreens that absorb UV rays, therefore preventing it from the rays reaching the skin. When looking for a sunscreen, make sure it is labelled as a broad-spectrum or UVA/UVB product.
What do these rays do?
UVA rays can penetrate the dermis layer of skin, which is the thickest layer of skin and it protects the skin from stress. UVA contributes to premature aging, i.e. sagging and wrinkling.
UVB rays affect the upper layer of skin, the epidermis, and causes burning of the skin known as sunburn. This is the reason why sun spots or areas of hyperpigmentation appear in sun damaged skin. The skin produces excess melanin to protect from those UV rays!
Finding suitable sunscreens for dark skin is still problematic. Sometimes I think that companies really don’t care to bring out a product that works on all skintones. The first question that any person of colour asks is, “Will it leave a white residue on my skin?” Yes, so many sunscreens leave a white cast on the skin (usually from the zinc or titanium dioxide). You can stand up and rub the lotion onto your skin all day long and it will still leave you looking a little ashy. If you are going to wear a foundation, then it is not as obvious, but what if you want to go bare-faced? I even have this problem when testing out foundations that contain SPF, many of them still come off ashy on dark skin. So that’s problem #1.
I have another problem. I am virtually allergic to almost all sunscreens available in the US. I have not quite figured out which SPF ingredient or the ratio of ingredients that I am allergic to, but it is annoying. After one use, I get the red, itchy/burning sensation of contact dermatitis. Especially around the outer corners of my eyes and upper cheek/temple area. I just have to use the product ones. And I don’t even look at lip products with SPF. It turns my lips into sandpaper and it takes more than a week to heal.
Basically there are 2 products that I have found that don’t cause me to itch and that disappears into the skin. It’s my holy grail Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizing Cream with Sunscreen SPF 15 by LaRoche-Posey.
What makes this one pretty unique in the US is that it contains Mexoryl SX, which is the only sunscreen ingredient approved by the US FDA in about 10-15 years. It has been available in Europe for decades, but the US is very slow to adopt newer technologies when it comes to sunscreen. Which kinda sucks as there are sunscreens in Europe that I would love to try.
Anyway, this sunscreen touts UVA/UVB protection, 24-hour long-lasting hydration that is light, non-greasy and safe for sensitive skin (which I can attest to!). This is a white, fairly thick cream that leaves absolutely no white residue on my skin. It contains Parsol 1789 (avobenzone), Mexoryl SX and Octocrylene as its active ingredients. It does provide me with all day moisturization on my face, but I cannot vouch that it lasts 24 hours. The cream is thick enough that I do not need to add another moisturizer even in colder weather. My skin is left with a little sheen that I like on my very dry skin, but for those with oilier skins may prefer something a little more matte. The best thing is that I am not allergic to it!
This product is a little expensive for a daily moisturizer, but it is worth every cent for me. Yeah, I want to keep those wrinkles at bay #foreveryoung. I also wish it came in a higher SPF. It is available at drugstores and online. Also check out the other SPF products from the La Roche-Posey line, they have products that leaves different finishes, formulas or different anti-oxidant properties.
Yes, this is my recommended sunscreen for tan to dark skin. So now, there is NO excuse not to wear sun protection!!!
Check out their other products online.
Overall Grade: A
FTC Disclosure: Products were purchased by me, Noire Tropical Beauty. All opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own. I have not been compensated for this review. For more information, please see my Disclosure Policy.