There’s been a little confusion in the beauty sector regarding the beautiful skin of people of color and whether or not we should wear sunscreen (especially in the winter). We saw a bit of that conversation come to light when Rihanna responded to a comment about her “protecting her melanin”. Rihanna’s response went a little something like, “It’s the ignorance for me! You gon have wrinkles if you think spf is seasonal! But continue”.
So, we asked our scientist at Simmons Beauty to weigh in on this and here’s what we have to say.
But first let us understand the intense energy of the sun. The sun is a bolstering ball of gas-filled with mostly hydrogen and plasma, millions of miles away from earth, that yields many benefits, and fulfills several needs for mankind. There has been much research on this beautiful star, from how it relates to other planets, the moon, plants, to humans and their skin. We get our cues of when to start our day. The ocean currents, seasons and climate are even determined by the sun. Thus, the fact that we are here on planet earth means that we are not immune to the effects of this gigantic ball of gas just because the seasons have changed.
UV rays are extremely powerful and penetrate through the skin’s multiple layers. Once impacted, the skin cells in the dermis are either damaged or killed. RiRi was not far off in being concerned about wrinkles since excessive sun exposure causes premature aging that yields wrinkles that are characteristically different from chronological aging. The collagen in the skin is modified thus leading to weakened structure and welcoming fine lines and furrows.
African American skin fits into the overall concern because even though we have this amazing melanin that is a protective pigment in skin. The melanocytes, skin cells that make melanin, can easily be damaged by UVA radiation. Overstimulation of melanocytes can cause increased hyperpigmentation.
Furthermore, the amount of sun exposure that each individual gets during each season has become more and more unpredictable due to climate change. People are more intentional about putting on sunscreen during the summer, yet are lax about the other seasons especially winter. However, we weigh in with RiRi in saying that you should have a plan to fight off UV rays year-round, because of how intense the sun’s energy really is.