Many of us are currently on the hot girl summer wave. It’s a concept that brings certain images and ideas to mind but really consists of whatever you feel it does. My hot girl summer includes lots of SPF because, glowing skin and popping melanin are the goal, not sunburns and skin cancer. I went on a bit of a rant about sun protection specifically for people of color on Instagram a few weeks ago and many of you had questions and input on the topic. I’m passionate about us protecting our melanin but not an expert by any means so I tapped one. My friend, Prince Adotama, MD recently completed his dermatology residency and is currently working in New York City. He’s sharing his knowledge on skin protection for people of color with us today. Start scrolling, sis!

Q: What is important for people of color to know about sun protection?

“There is a myth that people of color cannot get skin cancer. This is false! While skin cancer is not as common in people of color, there is still a real risk of skin cancer, particularly melanoma of the nails and the hands/feet. Consistent sunscreen use is necessary to prevent skin cancer.”

Q: Any considerations specifically for women?

“Sunscreen can also help with certain skin conditions such as melasma, a hyperpigmented rash that often impacts minority women of childbearing age along the cheeks.”

Q: What are your tips for incorporating SPF into our routines?

“Your sunscreen should be SPF 30 or higher. While make-up often has some sunscreen, you usually need a stronger SPF than what is usually offered in make-up. For added protection, consider adding zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Some sunscreens may give you a white film, especially in people with a little more melanin to their skin.”

Q: Any SPF products you recommend?

“I find Elta MD UV Clear, Alastin Hydratint, and PCA Sheer Tint to be great options. Shop around and find a product that you feel works best for you and you can honestly see yourself using consistently. You should reapply for every 90 minutes of outdoor sun exposure.”

Q: Breakouts usually send us running to the dermatologist’s office but how do we know when to visit for something more serious like skin cancer?

“If you have a strong family history of skin cancer, it is recommended that you see your dermatologist on a regular basis. If not, I would recommend regular self-skin checks. If you notice a change in any of your moles or develop any concerning changes in your skin, you should visit a board certified dermatologist immediately for evaluation.”

Q: Aside from skin cancer, what are some risks of sun exposure we should be concerned about?

“Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from old acne bumps or previous skin injuries can worsen with sun exposure. Excessive sun exposure can also lead to wrinkles and early signs of aging.”

I hope this information helps you keep your melanin popping. Sun protection tends to be a hotter topic during the summertime but is so important year-round. Thanks for reading!

P.S. You should also check out these posts:

melanin rich woman on a boat

melanin popping in the ocean

woman wearing sun hat to protect her melanin