It’s time to bring out the bikinis and finally get on the beach. It’s peak season everywhere for tourists to explore land and sea. While you prepare for your trip, don’t forget to bring a very important product: sunscreen.


Why Do We Need Sunscreen?

Many believe that because we have melanin, we do not need sunscreen. While melanin protects us to some degree, it doesn’t protect us from everything. With excessive sun exposure, your skin can burn and be at risk for damage as well.

Another myth is that black people do not get skin cancer. While people of lighter skin tones, do have higher instances of skin disease, darker skin tones are still susceptible to skin cancer. The lighter areas of our bodies – fingernails, toenails, palms and soles of feet – are very vulnerable to skin cancer.

How Does It Work?

Sunscreen works as a barrier from the sun’s radiation. Some of the sun’s wavelengths are blocked by the ozone layer. Other parts of the wavelengths are the infrared rays which give the warming sensation to our skin and is also responsible for sunburn and other skin damage.

This is where sunscreen comes into play. Sunscreen has zinc oxide properties that serve as a barrier to reflect the rays from the skin. Old school sunscreens are made chalk-white while more modern formulations are clear. If you have sensitive skin, choosing a formulation with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide is a great choice.

Wearing a sunscreen of SPF 30 is recommended year round to protect from the sunlight and blue light (light from electronics). This summer, wearing SPF of 50 or higher is recommended to get a soft tan. Be sure to apply at least 2 hours before beach bathing and apply again every 2 hours. Sunscreen and keeping shade with an umbrella is especially important for your little ones too.



Christina Hayes
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