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Cosmeceutical Skincare - dermoi

Sunscreen for Dark Skin: Sunscreens That Don’t Leave a White Cast

February 03, 2022

Discover more about the importance of daily sun protection and the risks of UV rays, while finding the best sunscreen for dark skin!

Author: Charlene M Teressaa & Georgie Falcone

Reading time: 4 minutes

Unfortunately it can often be difficult finding the right sunscreen for dark skin. This is because many sunscreens often leave behind a ghostly white cast. Nonetheless, there are alternative sunscreen formulations that apply just as easily as moisturisers, with options from dewy to matte finishes. The importance of sun protection is to not only protect your skin from damage, and harmful UVA/UVB rays, but to prevent premature skin aging too.

Is Sunscreen Important for Dark Skin?

Yes, SPF is essential for all skin tones. A common misconception is that you do not need sunscreen if you have extra melanin in your skin. While melanin can give people with darker skin tones some form of sun protection, it is simply not enough to completely deter harmful UV rays.

Therefore, regardless of skin tone, it is crucial that you still wear sunscreen. This will prevent skin problems such as increased fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, decreased elasticity, and at worst, skin cancer.

Unfortunately, however, many sunscreen formulations prove to not to be effective for darker complexions. For example, even after you rub sunscreen in, it may not always disappear, and as a result, leaves a white cast. Moreover, it can be challenging to find the right sunscreen depending on your skin tone.

Should I Apply Sunscreen Before or After Moisturiser?

Dermatologists’ opinions vary greatly on this. However, generally, if you are wearing mineral sunscreen, you should apply it after moisturiser. This allows the sunscreen to remain effective without the interference of other ingredients from your moisturiser. Furthermore, this type of sunscreen does not need to absorb into the skin to to work since it acts more like a shield.

On the other hand, chemical sunscreen works best when it has the chance to soak into your skin. Therefore, you should apply the moisturiser after the sunscreen, to allow the sunscreen to fully absorb.

Why Does My Sunscreen Leave a White Cast?

Simply put, there are two types of sunscreens: physical and chemical sunscreens. Before we settle the question, there is a need to distinguish between the two sunscreens. Physical sunscreens merely sit atop the skin to reflect the sun’s rays to bounce off the skin, whereas chemical sunscreens penetrate into the skin, absorbing UV rays and discharging them from the body.

Physical sunscreens are ideal for sensitive and drier skin types, as they have a heavier texture. Chemical sunscreens are water-resistant and sweat-resistant, and so are ideal for people who enjoy swimming or other forms of exercise.

Physical sunscreens are the main perpetrator of the white cast effect in comparison to chemical sunscreens, and this is due to the ingredients. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are white substances that are insoluble when coming into contact with water and simply settle as a white layer on the surface of the skin.

Is SPF 30 Enough for Dark Skin?

Even though a darker skin tone can give you some form of natural sun protection, it is recommended that you still shield your skin from the sun. So yes, a minimum of SPF 30 is recommended. While the melanin in darker skin can help block UV rays from penetrating and causing as many problems, it is not enough protection to completely deter skin damage, or at worst, skin cancer.

Should I Wear Sunscreen Everyday?

In summary, you should wear sunscreen every day (if you are going outside). This is because the ultraviolet rays that are responsible for skin damage, and cancer, are always present.

Furthermore, sunscreen is essentially the best hack to prevent skin aging and maintain a youthful appearance.

What Type of Sunscreen Is Best for Dark Skin?

The Heliocare 360 Water Gel SPF 50 is a beneficial choice of sunscreen for darker skin tones. The broad-spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from UVA/UVB rays, infrared A, and visible light all while nourishing and hydrating the skin.

This sunscreen absorbs into the skin quickly leaving an oil-free finish. Moreover, it is lightweight and invisible, which makes it an effective sunscreen for all skin tones. What’s more, this product is infused with green tea extract to provide further (antioxidant) protection.

Furthermore, this sunscreen is widely recognised for its supercharged antioxidant, Fernblock. This active ingredient has an abundance of skin benefits, such as:

  • Increasing the skin's resistance to sunburn
  • Repairing DNA damage
  • Increasing collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin
  • Preventing wrinkle formation
  • Improving the skin's resistance to pigmentation
  • Regulating the skin's natural defences

Hopefully, with this information you will be able to find the right sunscreen for you. Ensure to apply sunscreen in all weather (not just when its sunny) and your skin will certainly thank you for it.

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