Thanks to the ever innovative beauty industry, we are now surrounded by numerous beauty products that promise (and can do) the unbelievable.
Serums that clear fine lines.
Botox injections for firmer skin.
Lotions and tonics that make 60 the new 16.
Creams and bathing gels that take you from one end of the colour spectrum to another.
Makeup products that recreate and sharpen your features.
But despite the emphasis laid on skincare, there is a skincare product that is always ignored (particularly on our side of Atlantic): sunscreen lotions.
What Are They?
Sunscreen lotions (also known as sunblock or suntan lotions) are special creams that are made to protect the skin against the harmful rays of the sun.
They do this by absorbing or reflecting some of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
How to Use
Apply a thin layer of the cream to exposed parts of the body.
When applying this cream to the face, focus on cheeks and your T-zone (Fore head and the bridge of the nose).
Caution: Replace your tube of sunscreen lotion every 3 years. They are no longer effective beyond that time.
Types of Sunscreen Lotions
•Physical Sunscreens which reflect UV radiation.
•Chemical Sunscreens which absorb UV light.
Following the gradual destruction of the ozone layer and the subsequent increase in temperature, there has been a significant increase in the quantity and intensity of ultraviolet rays reaching the earth.
This is a worrisome development as continued exposure to these rays could have adverse effects as time goes by. Sunscreen lotions help the skin in contending against these rays by providing a much needed topical line of defense.
All sunscreen lotions have a sun protection factor (SPF) which is an indication of the level of sun protection that particular cream offers.
To ensure complete protection from the sun, it is advisable to buy a sunscreen location that has an SPF of at least 35 (or at least SPF 15 for dark-skinned people).
In addition to protecting the skin, when used judiciously, this cream can help slow down the aging of the skin and the appearance of wrinkles.
Unfortunately, while people in other continents are exploiting the numerous benefits of this cream, a lot of people in Africa do not know about this cream. The few that know about it don’t see it as important as they feel it is solely for albinos and people with lighter skin.
There is a common misconception that as Africans have a rich reserve of the chemical pigment melanin, they do not have need for this cream. Dark-skinned people have a natural skin protection factor of up to 13 and filter twice as much UV radiation as fair people, thanks to melanin.
Though melanin is “magic” that naturally protects dark skin against harmful rays, people of all skin types can burn if they don’t wear sunscreen.
The fact that the burns are not obvious on dark skin doesn’t mean dark-skinned people have no use for this cream. Even with the presence of melanin, if one does not properly protect their skin, the harmful rays of the sun can speed up the aging process of the skin, promote the appearance of wrinkles and sunspots and in extreme cases, lead to melanoma and squamous cell carcinomas (cancer).
Studies conducted at the University of Cincinnati show that dark-skinned people are actually more likely to die from skin cancer than light-skinned people.
The lead researcher of the study pointed out the misconception that dark-skinned people don’t get sunburns or skin cancer gives such people a false sense of security which makes them less likely to take preventive measures like wearing sunscreen or actually checking for signs of skin cancer.
This is why when dark-skinned people are diagnosed with skin cancer, it has reached the advanced stage.
So essentially, regular use of sunscreen lotions helps:
•To lighten the skin.
•Fade dark spots and dark marks.
•Prevent sunburns and sun spots.
•Delay the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
•Prevent skin cancer.
Below are a few sunscreen lotions that are absolutely marvelous for dark skin:
•L’Oreal Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Facial Oil SPF 30.
•La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt in Sunscreen Milk SPF 60.
•Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30.
•Palmer’s Eventone Suncare Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30.
Tip: Shea Butter has a high SPF and can double as a natural sunscreen lotion. This is why it is recommended for people living in tropical areas.