For many years, sunscreen has been considered a non-essential product for those with darker skin tones. However, recent studies have shown that regular application of sunscreen is non-negotiable to keep hyperpigmentation, skin cancer, and premature aging at bay. Yet, finding the right sunscreen for dark skin can be challenging due to various skin types and preferences. In this article, we’ll share our top picks for the best sunscreens for dark skin and provide recommendations from dermatologists.
Importance of Sunscreen for Dark Skin
It’s a common misconception that melanin in darker skin provides natural sun protection. While it’s true that melanin does offer some level of protection against harmful UV rays, it’s not enough to prevent sun damage. Regular application of sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and broad-spectrum protection is necessary to maintain a brighter, more even, and youthful-looking complexion. It also helps to reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging caused by sun exposure.
Challenges in Finding the Right Sunscreen for Dark Skin
Not all sunscreen formulations are created equal, and it can be daunting to find the right one for your skin type and preference. Many formulas can be chalky, ashy, or drying, making it difficult to find a sunscreen that works well for darker skin tones. Additionally, there is a misconception that sunscreen is unnecessary for those with deeper skin tones, making it less of a priority product. However, regular application of sunscreen is essential for maintaining healthy skin, regardless of skin tone.
Purpose of Review
In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive review of the best sunscreens for dark skin. We’ve thoroughly researched and tested various formulas, and also tapped experts to find the top picks for sunscreen for dark skin. We’ve also included recommendations from dermatologists and an FAQ section on sunscreen application and wear.
Top Picks for Sunscreen for Dark Skin
Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30
The Black Girl Sunscreen is a specially-formulated sunscreen for darker skin tones. It’s made with natural ingredients such as avocado, jojoba, and cacao, which provide nourishing benefits to the skin. The lightweight formula absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a white residue, unlike many other sunscreens. It’s also water-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor activities.
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen
The EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen is a dermatologist-recommended sunscreen that’s ideal for acne-prone and sensitive skin. It contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and lactic acid, which provide anti-aging benefits and help to improve the skin’s texture. It’s also oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it suitable for those with oily or combination skin types.
Alba Botanica Sensitive Sheer Shield Sunscreen SPF 50
The Alba Botanica Sensitive Sheer Shield Sunscreen is a mineral-based sunscreen that’s ideal for those with sensitive skin. It contains aloe vera, chamomile, and green tea extract, which help to soothe and calm the skin. The sheer formula blends well with most skin tones and doesn’t leave a white residue. It’s also water-resistant and provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Colorescience Sun Forgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50
The Colorescience Sun Forgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield is a unique sunscreen that comes in a brush-on formula. It’s perfect for touch-ups throughout the day and can be applied over makeup. The sheer formula blends well with most skin tones and doesn’t leave a white residue. It’s also water-resistant and provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
The CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen is a mineral-based sunscreen that’s perfect for those with dry or sensitive skin. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help retain the skin’s natural moisture and provide a protective barrier against environmental aggressors. The sheer formula blends well with most skin tones and doesn’t leave a white residue. It’s also fragrance-free and provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 40 by EleVen by Venus Williams
This innovative sun serum offers SPF 40 protection in a lightweight, non-greasy formula. It blends seamlessly with most skin tones and can be worn alone or under makeup. Developed by tennis superstar Venus Williams, this sunscreen is designed with athletes in mind but is suitable for all skin types and lifestyles.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60
La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk provides high SPF protection in an ultra-light texture. This sunscreen is perfect for daily use and outdoor activities, offering broad-spectrum protection and aformula that blends well with most skin tones. Users love the moisturizing properties and the non-greasy finish it provides.
Supergoop! Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40
Supergoop! Glowscreen Sunscreen not only offers broad-spectrum sun protection but also adds a subtle glow to your skin. This sunscreen is perfect for those who want an added touch of radiance without compromising on sun protection. The lightweight formula is non-greasy and blends well with most skin tones.
Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen SPF 35
Glossier’s Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen is a clear sunscreen that works well for all skin types, including darker skin tones. The lightweight, non-greasy formula provides broad-spectrum sun protection without leaving a white residue. Many users appreciate the ease of application and the fact that it doesn’t clog pores, making it suitable for acne-prone skin as well.
FAQ Sunscreen for Black Skin
What to Look for in Sunscreen for Dark Skin
When selecting asunscreen for dark skin, look for formulas that offer broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of at least 30. Choose a product with active ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, or Mexoryl SX, which are effective in providing the necessary protection. Opt for sunscreens that blend well with your skin tone, without leaving a white or ashy residue.
How to Apply Sunscreen for Maximum Protection
Apply sunscreen generously to all exposed areas of your skin, including the face, neck, ears, and the back of your hands. Use approximately one ounce (a shot glass full) of sunscreen to cover your entire body. Apply the sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure, allowing it to absorb into the skin. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to often-overlooked areas, such as the hairline, tops of the feet, and along the swimsuit line.
How Often to Reapply Sunscreen
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Even water-resistant sunscreens should be reapplied after swimming or excessive sweating to ensure continued protection.
Can Sunscreen Prevent Skin Cancer in Dark Skin?
Regular use of sunscreen can help reduce the risk of skin cancer in individuals with dark skin. Although melanin provides some natural protection against UV rays, it’s not sufficient to prevent sun damage entirely. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 can help protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, which can cause skin cancer.
Is Sunscreen Safe for Dark Skin?
Sunscreen is safe for all skin tones, including dark skin. However, it’s essential to choose a sunscreen that is suitable for your skin type and blends well with your skin tone. Opt for sunscreens with active ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, or Mexoryl SX, which provide effective protection without causing irritation or leaving a white cast on the skin.