April 13, 2011

Why Black Skin Ages Better

Aretha Franklin in May 2011 Elle Magazine
Aretha Franklin, age 69, in Elle May 2011
The saying goes, "black don't crack" and this obviously refers to the fact that black women seemingly age better.

I often thought this was true because I look at my mother and aunts who are all well over the age of 40 and their skin has the appearance of a young 20-something. While there are many reasons skin ages faster, the most damning one is sun exposure. Hence, the importance of sunscreen--aside from the fact it protects you from skin cancer. A study done in the UK discovered that "very dark, black skin has a natural SPF of about 13 and filters twice as much UV radiation as white skin." So since dark skin has a natural SPF, black skin ages slower.

Needless to say, this doesn't mean we black women should not wear sunscreen (duh!). You need a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 to protect you from the sun's UV rays. Skin cancer is the easiest cancer to catch and prevent. It's also one of the leading cancers in the world, so you need to take precaution at all costs!

I'll be the first to admit that I've gone through life and dozens of outdoor cheerleading practices without sunscreen because I thought, "I don't need any. I'm black and I won't burn, just get darker." But, I've turned a new leaf. I invested in Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Facial Lotion that has a SPF of 15. I dab it on over my regular dermatologist-prescribed daily facial lotion because now I'm taking my skincare serious. I want to not only protect my skin from the sun, but be proof in my forties that black don't crack.

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