Do Black People Need Sunscreen? Here’s The History Behind The Misunderstanding

pumping sunscreen into open hand palm up
Via PxFuel
Adé Hennis
August 9, 2023

There’s a popular belief that Black people, especially those with darker skin tones, don’t need sunscreen because the melanin in our skin is a natural protectant from the sun’s UV rays. Is this true?

Experts say no – and that while those with darker skin tones usually have a natural SPF of 13, the minimum SPF rating that is typically recommended for all people is 30. So, what has contributed to this misunderstanding?

History shows many dermatologists haven’t been properly trained on skin conditions in Black people, therefore leading to a lack of proper diagnoses and health recommendations for our skin.

In 2014, a study showed that Black people were prescribed sunscreen nine times less than white counterparts. Skincare companies in the 90s also promoted ads that have contributed to this misunderstanding.

Systemic racism in the healthcare industry and the lack of inclusion among health institutions can lead to harmful effects and misinformation that can jeopardize the well-being of Black communities. It’s important we do our own research and advocate for more accurate information from the medical industry.

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