When I first started traveling, I didn’t know the first thing about sunscreen nor did I think I needed it. I didn’t grow up in an environment where we vacationed in the sun or where my parents were applying sunscreen on me every couple of hours. Therefore, when I became an adult, with my own money and developed my passion for traveling, sunscreen was not on my packing list.
After a couple of beach vacations, I started to realize that I was getting sunburned. I found that my chest was extremely red and when I showered, it was very painful. It then dawned on me, one day, that I was sunburned. I was amazed because, I am sure, like many African-Americans, we don’t believe we can be sunburned. Well you can.
After a few beach vacations, sunscreen started being on my packing list. However, I was still getting really bad sunburns. Now, I travel a lot, so every trip, I tried a new sunscreen. Literally, I was going through sunscreen like a pack of gum. This went on for a couple of years before I came across a free sample of Neutrogena Beach Defense. I tried it, I didn’t get sunburned and I was blown away and amazed. This product has become my new best friend and I tell everyone I meet about it. Which caused me to write a blog about it because I love it so much. As well as, I want others, like me, that never thought of the hazards of the sun to dark skin, to be informed.
We believe that our dark skin has advantages to being in the sun and we are protected from the sun, but our dark skin could make things go either way for us. We can be protected because of our dark skin or we can miss a skin cancer diagnosis because of having dark skin. African Americans have the highest fatality rate when it comes to skin cancer because we don’t notice it and don’t catch it early.
So it is important not to take your dark skin for granted and protect it from the sun in the following ways:
- Always wear sunscreen that has a label stating “UVA/UVAB” protection.
- Wear SPF 15 or higher. Now…..I never knew what that meant and had to look it up when I started searching for a sunscreen for MY skin. SPF means Sun Protection Factor. It is basically how long your sunscreen will protect you from UV rays (ultraviolet rays). Don’t put your sunscreen on, one time and never reapply, make an effort to reapply your screen after the specified time to start the clock back over.
- If you are going to be hanging out at the pool or chillin’ on the beach for long periods of time, make sure to sport a wide-brim hat to protect your face from the sun. Now ladies, with so much fashion out there, cute beach hats are not hard to come by. You can protect yourself from the sun and still look cute while doing it.
- Always wear sunglasses. I don’t know about ya’ll but my eyes can get really dry from the heat and sun, therefore, you will most likely see me with sunglasses on. Just as important as it is to take care of your skin and protect it from the sun, you need to also protect your eyes from the sun. They need a little shade too.
- Regardless if the sun is out or if it is a little cloudy, if you are at the pool or on the beach, apply your sunscreen, UV rays can travel through clouds and make contact with your skin.
As I stated before, I didn’t grow up in a household or an environment where protecting your skin in the sun was a topic of discussion. I had no one to teach me the importance of skincare in the sun. So from many years of traveling and sunburns, I am passing this important lesson along to you.
Don’t learn to protect your skin the painful way.
On your next vacation, be sure to include sunscreen in your travel bag and begin to keep your skincare at the forefront of your mind because dark skin needs to be protected from the sun too.