“I’m not white so I don’t need sunscreen”...Actually You Do!
August 31, 2021

“I’m not white so I don’t need sunscreen”...Actually You Do!

Are you a Person of Colour (POC)? Those of us who have higher levels of melanin are lucky, why? Well, because you and I don’t have to worry about getting sunburns easily, but that doesn’t mean we can’t.

It is recommended that everyone - black, white, brown, purple green, rainbow - wear sunscreen. It will protect us from sun damage and not to mention, premature aging. No thanks, wrinkles. 

Ok, let’s talk about what sunscreen is protecting us from:

Blue light 

This is a part of the visible light spectrum, meaning what we can actually see with our eyes. This includes the sun and digital devices.Yes, watching too much TikTok will cause skin pigmentation and appearance of wrinkles. I know, sucks. 

UVA Rays

UVA rays are ultraviolet rays that have longer wavelengths, responsible for skin aging and other long-term skin damage, as it reaches the deeper layers of your skin. It’s important to remember that UVA rays penetrate through window glass so, apply sunscreen even when you’re indoors!

UVB Rays

These are also ultraviolet rays but have shorter wavelengths, responsible for surface damage like sunburns. UVB rays cannot penetrate through window glass, unlike UVA rays.

Both UVA and UVB rays contribute to skin cancer formation so please, no matter your skin colour, wear sunscreen! 

We all see and hear ‘SPF’ but, what is that? 

It stands for Sun Protection Factor. It’s the number that is on sunscreen bottles like “SPF 30” and that amount is how much UVB is blocked and the amount of time before your skin starts to burn. So, the higher the SPF, the more sun protection. Remember to reapply throughout the day! 


PA stands for Protection Grade of UVA. This is somewhat similar to SPF but PA refers to UVA protection, rather than UVB. It looks like this: 

o PA+ = Some UVA protection

o PA++ = Moderate UVA protection

o PA+++ = High UVA protection

o PA++++ = Extremely High UVA protection

It is recommended that you buy sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 and a Broad-Spectrum sunscreen - this will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays! 

Ultimately, the best sunscreen is the one that you’ll actually wear. While there are a lot on the market, the issue we have as a POC is that sunscreens can leave a white cast on your face. But with new formulations on the market you can still find a sunscreen that won’t leave you looking like you’re about to go to a Halloween party as a ghost.