As cruise lines across the United States resume their routes, people tired of not traveling throughout the pandemic pack their bags and head out on the high seas. You may be tempted to skip the sunscreen as you pack. After all, doesn’t the melanin in your skin protect you and your children from harmful UV rays?
Unfortunately, not. While melanin-rich skin provides some protection from UV rays, it isn’t enough, and it can have deadly consequences for people of color. The best way to protect your child is to start a daily sunscreen regimen. Melabebe’s Protect is natural skincare for children that offers sun protection and moisturizers all-in-one to make skincare for melanin-rich skin easy.
The Proper Way to Wear Sunscreen
Regardless of skin tone, dermatologists say the most SPF naturally present in the skin is equivalent to SPF 13, which means everyone should apply sunscreen every day.
Current medical advice recommends that everyone wear SPF 30 or higher UV protection every day, but it’s especially true for children, who have thinner skin than adults and are more likely to suffer sun damage. You should also look for broad-spectrum sunscreens, so they protect your child from both UVA and UVB rays.
Apply sunscreen to your child at least 15 minutes before they go outside, so it has time to absorb into their skin. You should reapply sunscreen to your child every two hours or more frequently if they are swimming or sweating.
Sun Damage in Melanin-Rich Skin
As with any skin, sun damage leads to fine lines and wrinkles in people with melanin-rich skin; it just may take longer to appear. In addition, people with melanin-rich skin who experience sun damage have larger pores. Melanin-rich skin is prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, so sun damage can lead to dark spots and other pigmentation issues.
Skin cancer is a concern for people with melanin-rich skin, even if they don’t get a sunburn. While it is less likely in people with melanin-rich skin, the outcomes are bleaker for people of color. According to a recent study, the average five-year survival rate for skin cancer for Black people is 67%, compared to 92% in white people, a drastic difference that seems to be related to the fact that skin cancer in Black people is often not diagnosed until it reaches its later and more deadly stages.
The best way to protect your child’s melanin-rich skin from future damage is to start using sunscreen right away.
Finding the Perfect Sunscreen for Melanin-Rich Skin
Conventional sunscreens often contain ingredients that aren’t friendly to melanin-rich skin, making skin look ashy or leaving a white cast on your child’s skin.
If your child has dry skin, which is a frequent concern for melanin-rich skin, apply a moisturizer before applying sunscreen. Chemicals in sunscreens often rob the skin of moisture, which can increase the likelihood that your child’s skin will turn ashy while wearing sunscreen.
- Chemical Sunscreen
Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin, where they react with UV rays to convert UV rays into heat, which then leaves the skin. Since these are absorbed into the skin, this type of sunscreen doesn’t leave a white cast like other formulas.
Many chemicals in chemical sunscreens are currently under review to determine their safety for humans and marine life when the sunscreen washes off while swimming.
- Mineral Sunscreens
Many people with melanin-rich skin can’t tolerate chemical sunscreens because they irritate their sensitive skin. If your child has sensitive skin, it’s best to use a tinted mineral sunscreen, which blends better with your child’s melanin-rich skin.
In mineral sunscreen, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or iron oxide sit on top of the skin, serving as a barrier that prevents UV rays from reaching your skin.
Mineral sunscreens, because they contain clean and natural ingredients, also tend to cause less irritation to those with sensitive skin, but they are thicker than chemical sunscreens, which means they may be more likely to clog pores, trapping sebum (which melanin-rich skin tends to over-produce) and causing acne.
Don’t Forget to Moisturize!
While on a cruise or other vacation, not only do you have to contend with the sun, but you also have to consider other environmental factors, like wind and humidity levels. Melanin-rich skin is prone to dryness, so your child’s skin will need protection from dry climates with moisturizers containing occlusive ingredients like beeswax and lanolin. These create a protective layer on the skin to trap moisture and repel environmental pollutants.
Melabebe’s Protect: All-in-One Moisture and Hydration Créme
Melabebe understands skincare for melanin-rich children doesn’t need to be complicated. Our products contain only natural, toxic-free ingredients to provide the ultimate pure melanin-rich skin nourishment.