As women of color, we’re blessed with a very special gift–not only do we radiate #BlackGirlMagic, but our melanin is the stuff dreams are made of.
Whether ebony, mocha, french vanilla, butter pecan, chocolate, (even caramel sundaes is gettin’ touched) and every shade in between, our rich, royal skin has women running to tanning beds and worshipping the sun, trying to get the hues we were born with.
But just because we’re cocoa colored visions, doesn’t mean that we don’t have to protect our skin.
University of Cincinnati researchers discovered that when melanoma, a malignant tumor, is discovered in African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, it’s usually fatal because we aren’t using sunscreen or we wait until it’s too late to see a doctor about dark spots.
When the summer sun is out, follow these three tips to keep your melanin poppin’.
1. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen.
Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every day. Many of our favorite moisturizers from brands for brown skin like Ambi and Iman include SPF.
Marcia Williams, naturopath and creator of GlobalSun, the first sunscreen specially formulated for people of color, says, “I want people of color to understand how important it is to use sunscreen. And it’s not just for the beach. It’s for construction workers. Or playing golf … any time you’re out in the sun.”
2. Be aware of your risk, and check for new and changing moles and discolorations.
“Whenever I heard the word, my mind would automatically think: ‘Caucasian,’ ’’ says Betty Jordan, who was diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), a rare, but aggressive form of skin cancer that strikes people of color (Bob Marley died of ALM in 1981). “It was something I never worried about.’’ – source
Check your nails, palms and the soles of your feet frequently. Examine your entire body from head to toe and month, and if you find something, tell your doctor. “Your physician shouldn’t dismiss you just because you are black if you have any new or changing skin lesions on your body, especially nail changes,’’ says Georgetown University Medical Center surgeon and skin cancer specialist Maral Skelsey.(source) You should also see your doctor or dermatologist annually for a professional skin examm
3. Wear a wide brim hat and UV blocking sunglasses.
Summer accessories can keep you cute and lower your risk at the same time. For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck.(http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm#sunglasses)
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the skin around your eyes from sun exposure (and wrinkles!). Throw on a pair, but make sure they block UVA and UVB rays–you can usually tell by the sticker on the lenses.
Glow on, girls!