Almost every time the word sunscreen comes up, you can be sure to hear one or two Nigerians laugh it off as an Oyinbo thing. Sure it might seem foreign, hell, it might even have been invented by the colonizers, for the colonizers, but does that mean we don’t need it? Hopefully at the end of this article your answer would be confident no!
I never grew up on sunscreen, pretty much didn’t know anything about it until I was in University and evein at that, the uniformed Nigerian in me remained dogged as I felt it was an unnecessary expense.
Over the years, after trying and sometimes failing woefully in my attempt to restore my skin back to my baby glow, I’ve been forced to research about products and varying routines, realizing that sunscreen is almost as important, if not more than the moisturizer you use daily.
A lot of us tend to live life with the assumption that the melanin in your skin is some sort of armor that leaves you protected from the sun unlike Caucasians who get red. While that has some form of truth to it, it’s only a quarter of the real deal.
Melanocytes in the skin help produce and distribute melanin (giving about SPF 13), and while we might not get as sun burnt as the white community, we still get hyper-pigmentation and tend to be susceptible to skin cancer as a result of our exposure to the sun.
This is why some folks have darker faces or arms than the rest of their body, somewhat like a tan job gone wrong.
Also it’s important to note that the lighter you are, the more your chances of getting the aforementioned problems increase, that’s why half of the people who bleach have weird looking rainbow colored faces.
The sun in Nigeria is always so hot, we are often forced to wonder if hell is actually a plane ride away, but the heat isn’t the only issue, have you heard of UV rays? Well basically these (UVA AND UVB) are rays that come from the sun and are capable of penetrating the skin and killing our cells. This is what the sunscreen protects you from.
If you thought heat was your only problem, well think again.
Using sunscreen (I highly recommend anything from SPF 30, since we’re darker as Africans) helps deflect these rays and helps to keep your skin looking younger, tighter and healthier.
Apply your sunscreen daily at least two hours before departing your house and facing the day, and also make a conscious effort to reply during the day, especially if you’re constantly in the sun.
Do your research and find what will work for you in terms of sunscreens. Remember, that while we may not turn red, hyper-pigmentation and skin cancer are like Michael Jackson, so they don’t care if you’re black or white.