By now you know how important SPF is – the drum that derms, medics and skinfluencers alike, bang. And luckily for everyone, even those of us with brown skin who’ve battled Casper-esque casts before, formulas have come a long way. Now, from spray-on formulas to protective primers and completely invisible formulas, there really is a sunscreen for everyone. To help you find the right one, we spoke to award-winning cosmetic physician Dr. Ewoma Ukeleghe.
“SPF is a hugely important step for all skin tones and types and one of the most important steps in our routines in my opinion,” says Dr. Ukeleghe, skincare expert and founder of Skn Doctor, a one-stop-shop for clinically tested skincare, consultations and treatments.
“Despite this, there’s been a common misconception for years that dark skin doesn’t need SPF – this is false. SPF is hugely important for protecting your skin from harmful, aging UV rays and is all the more important if you’re using active ingredients like retinol and vitamin C, which makes your skin more sensitive to radiance. While melanin offers a slightly more natural protection to the complexion, don’t skip SPF. More recently, brands are creating chemical SPF formulas that don’t leave a white cast. /ashy cast, which is good is to see”
READ MORE: 10 Best Sunscreens For Kids To Protect Their Skin This Summer
WATCH: Dr. Ewoma Ukeleghe shares her best SPF face creams for dark skin
So, with a wealth of products on the market to choose from, we asked GP and skincare consultant Dr Kemi Fabusiwa everything you need to know when it comes to sun protection, and why the myths surrounding dark skin and sun exposure sun can be harmful.
READ MORE: 13 Best Moisturizers For Every Skin Concern And Skin Type
In the UK, should I use SPF if I have dark skin?
“The short answer is yes. Sun damage on all skin can lead to hyperpigmentation, premature aging and, of course, skin cancer,” warns Dr. Fabusiwa. “Dark-skinned individuals are much more prone to hyperpigmentation due to the high levels of melanin in the skin caused by UV – radiation from the sun. While dark-skinned individuals can and still do get skin cancer, dark-skinned individuals are often diagnosed with skin cancer much later due to the lack of positive promotion of the importance of wearing SPF and checking for signs of skin cancer. likely to become seriously unwell when they are finally diagnosed.”
Is SPF 25 strong enough if I have dark skin?
“I like to always say SPF 25 is definitely better than no SPF at all. Although studies show that regular application of at least SPF 30, diligent reapplication every 2 hours and after you sweat or get in the water is best”
How do I choose an SPF for my skin tone?
“The most important thing to consider is the sun protection factor,” Dr. Fabusiwa reminds. “Using at least an SPF of 30 should be enough to protect yourself from the sun. After this, you’ll want to consider how the SPF sits and blends into your skin. In general, chemical SPFs are lighter and don’t leave a ‘white cast’ which makes them preferable for darker skin types. However, chemical sunscreens can be more irritating, especially for people with sensitive, allergy-prone skin. If too irritating, it can potentially cause inflammation and hyperpigmentation in darker skin.
READ MORE: How to tackle hyperpigmentation
Is a day cream with SPF sufficient if I have dark skin?
“A day cream with SPF is a good start, especially if the alternative isn’t SPF at all; however, you want to make sure you’re using a high enough sun protection factor and reapplying your SPF throughout the day. So try incorporating it under and makeup or invest in a spray-on SPF.
Does this apply to both my body and my face?
Yes! Sun exposure should be taken into account. “It is true that the skin on the body is thicker than the skin on the face, but that by no means means it should be left unprotected – so make sure that the heavily sun-exposed areas of the body that are often overlooked, such as the neck, arms and back diligently with SPF.”
With so many more options on the market, finding sunscreen that works for you doesn’t mean you have to settle for slathering yourself with a heavy, white cream. From drops to sprays, an invisible layer of protection is available, up to a sensitive factor of 50+. Check out the highly recommended SPF creams and serums from Dr. Ukeleghe and Team Grazia for dark skin tones, for your safest, sunkissed skin this summer.
1 by 16
“This is great if you’re new to SPF,” says Dr. Ukeleghe. “It’s totally foolproof and completely invisible with a primer-like texture, so it’ll be great under makeup. Since it’s a purely chemical sunscreen, I prefer to wear this one on cloudy/colder days, as it doesn’t give me that much protection gives as a chemical. + physical sunscreen mix”
2 by 16
“Made by women of color for women of color, and can be purchased from Candor Beauty, a black-owned beauty superstore. Benefits: The Conscious Formulation – Oxybenzone and Octinoxate Free. Super nourishing and hydrating ingredients for normal to dry skin”
3 by 16
This fine mist not only acts as an SPF and offers a broad spectrum without white residue, but also as a make-up setting spray. While imperceptible on darker skin, this broad-spectrum mineral formula is slightly thicker, so be careful when you’re near your hairlines.
4 by 16
Factor 50, this water-resistant formula glides on like a dream and leaves a deeply hydrated shine, thanks to lightweight ingredients like buriti oil. Imperceptible on the skin, protecting against both UV and visible light damage, it’s no wonder it has won countless dark-skinned fans
5 by 16
The SPF 50+ sunscreen serum is perfect for those with acne-prone skin who prefer an oil-free base. With niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and tea tree, it works to protect the skin while preventing breakouts and UV-induced hyperpigmentation.
6 by 16
An invisible sunscreen great for darker skin tones, this one has oil-absorbing powders that help to mattify the skin. With antioxidant-rich vitamins C & E that offset free radical damage, it’s a city dweller’s dream.
7 by 16
Oily skin? Dr. Ukeleghe recommended La Roche Posay. “The Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid is the most accessible (and price friendly) sold anywhere from Boots to Look Fantastic. My recommendation for those with oily skin, for its matte finish and high protection”
8 by 16
A mist that comes out like milk and mixes into an oil. If the clever texture doesn’t keep you faithful to this SPF, the scent will: Reminiscent of creamy coconut and salty, ocean-fresh skin.
9 by 16
Dry skin? This Beauty Editor-approved formula combines moisturizing ingredients like fortifying volcanic water with high sun protection. Don’t forget the tan-enhancer element, too: darker skin can also benefit from antioxidant beta-carotene, to minimize pigmentation and boost overall glow.
10 by 16
This new SPF brand has products to protect everything from your hands to your lips. Our favorite, though, is this lightweight, broad-spectrum hybrid sunscreen primer that provides a velvety-smooth makeup base, suitable for both dry and oily skin types. “This texture is fantastic as a lightweight serum meets formula. Can be worn alone or mixed with moisturizer. A super hydrating formula for those with normal to dry skin,” recommends Dr. Ukeleghe on.
11 by 16
We’ve been spoiled for choice over the years with different SPF textures, from mousses to waters and milks. This lotion is thicker than its counterparts, but the result is that you are sure that the skin receives total, full body protection. As with most of Avène’s range, the formula works to soothe fussy, sensitive skin (perfect if you’re prone to eczema or other dryness).
12 by 16
It makes sense that Japanese brand Shiseido would create an excellent SPF: East Asian beauty brands have long taken sun protection seriously. While all SPF require regular replenishment, Shiseido’s offerings are particularly water and sweat resistant – perfect for melanin-rich skin that has larger sebaceous glands and can therefore often be oilier.
13 by 16
Those in the know will appreciate Bondi Sands’ SPF (it has the endorsement of TikTok’s most observable beauty guru, @mikaylanogueira). Lightweight, runny, and without a hint of white cast, this texture melts into the skin, leaving a subtle glow. For under a tenner, it’s one of the best SPF buys on the high street to date.
14 by 16
Since many dark-skinned people opt for heat-protective styles like bunless braids or canerows during the summer months, it’s imperative that we protect our scalp. Enter this, a tropically scented mist with its water resistant chemical, yet reef safe formula. The dream of a black braided girl.
15 by 16
A favorite of the Grazia beauty team, this refreshing mist isn’t just a completely transparent formula. but also a high-quality SPF for all skin types. Non-greasy, non-sticky and fast-absorbing, this is a great sunscreen to keep in your bag for an easy spray and go.
16 by 16
While technically a moisturizer first, the Hydra Vizor has a built-in broad spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen for a daily dose of protection as part of your usual routine. Tinted pink, but clear on application, it is also available fragrance-free for sensitive skin.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Afro Hair Salons in London 2022
READ MORE: Black Owned Beauty Brands to Support Now and Always