The myth that dark skin tones are immune to skin cancer means that black South Africans are often diagnosed with skin cancer when it’s already at an advanced stage (and therefore potentially fatal). “Of all the topicals” – that is, products applied to the skin – “SPF is the most important as it helps to protect against UV damage and further ageing of the skin,” explains Dr Alek Nicolik, an aesthetic medical practitioner and founding member of the South African Allergan Medical Aesthetics Academy.
Just think about it. Why fork out on “miracle” cures if sunscreen is your very best line of defence against dark spots, uneven skin tone, and the signs of ageing? Especially if, with the ever-expanding range of options, there is sure to be a sunscreen that eliminates your excuses…
Excuse #1: ‘My skin is already oily…’
“Sunscreens don’t cause acne [and oiliness] but they can exacerbate it,” says Xen Ludick of the Skin Renewal Clinic, a GP who works in aesthetic, anti-ageing and cosmetic medicine.
Not wearing sunscreen, however, isn’t an option as this significantly increases your risks of scarring and acne-related pigmentation. “If you have acne, choose sunscreens that are oil-free (oil is usually the culprit) and non-comedogenic (formulated not to block pores),” he says. “Also avoid products that are scented or dyed, as these can irritate skin.”
Excuse #2: ‘It makes me look ashy’
On dark skins, the residue left by some sunscreens can be off-putting. If this is a problem for you, try a BB or CC cream, or a tinted moisturiser (laced with SPF, of course). The pigment in these products will blend into your skin tone giving you sun protection (thereby preventing pigmentation) and a flawless finish. Bonus.
For your body, try an oil sunscreen – they go on clear, give a lovely glow, and yet won’t make your skin burn like baby oil does.
Excuse #3: ‘It ruins my make-up’
It has a reputation for being sticky and hard to blend, to be fair, sunscreen isn’t always the best base for foundation. But have you tried using a day cream dosed with SPF? While you need a high factor stand-alone screen for sun-exposed days (just remember, a higher factor doesn’t mean a full day’s pass in the sun, warns Dr Ludick), swap your regular moisturiser for a hydrating SPF treatment. It sinks into skin quickly and leaves it looking dewy – the perfect canvas.
Top tip: Fragrance-free sunscreen is a good idea if you have sensitive skin or skin that’s prone to eczema.
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Protecting your skin from the harsh elements is essential. We have a variety of suncare ranges you can trust to protect your skin.
IMAGE CREDIT: Getty Images / Gallo Images