STOP! Check Your Sunscreen

Things to know before you buy sunscreen

Even if you have dark skin, you still need to wear sunscreen. Read these tips before you make you next purchase.

Sunscreen is thee it girl in skin care right now. Sunscreen helps to protect your skin against UV damage, but you should be mindful when deciding when and what kind of sunscreen you should use. The truth is that a lot of sunscreens can do more harm than good or serve you no purpose at all. Here are some facts and tips to keep in mind when selecting your sunscreen.

Harmful Effects of Certain Sunscreens 

Allergic Reactions 

Sunscreens can include chemicals that can cause skin irritation such as redness, swelling, dryness, irritation, peeling of the skin, and itching. Some people may develop severe allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can be the result of chemicals found in sunscreens like fragrances and preservatives. PABA is a chemical used in many commercial sunscreens that can cause a high rate of allergic reactions, which is why it was removed from many popular brands. To avoid this you can buy sunscreens that are labeled “hypoallergenic”.

Can Increase Acne

If you have acne-prone skin, some chemicals in certain sunscreens may worsen your acne. To prevent this side effect of sunscreen, choose non-comedogenic and non-oily sunscreens. Avoid using heavy sunscreens and search for lighter products.

Beware of Carcinogens 

A carcinogen is a substance that is capable of causing cancer in a living tissue.  Well known carcinogens include benzene, asbestos, and carcinogens are more common in products than you may realize. Carcinogens are in everyday products like processed meats and some sunscreens.

Listed below are recommended brands and some that you should stay away from.


  • Black Girl Sunscreen by Shontay Lundy
  • True Botanicals Everyday Skin Tints
  • Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen by CeraVe
  • Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum


  • Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection Sunscreen Spray
  • Equate Beauty Ultra Light Sunscreen Lotion
  • Banana Boat Ultra Defense Clear Sunscreen spray, Banana Boat Ultra Sport Clear Sunscreen Spray, and Banana Boat Kids Clear Sunscreen Spray.
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Lotion Spray


Best Way to Applying Sunscreen:

  1. Apply sunscreen all over the exposed skin.
  2. You must do this 30 minutes before going out in the sun.
  3. It is advised to re-apply with the sunscreen after swimming, sweating, etc.
  4. Even if you are indoors, keep re-applying sunscreen after every 2-4 hours or as instructed.

When shopping for sunscreen keep in mind that sunscreens with SPF over 50 make very little difference in terms of risk of sun damage. I hope these tips were helpful. Enjoy having fun in the sun!


By Amariyah Mallory, Sophomore, Whitney Young



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Written by Amariyah Mallory

Amariyah Mallory is a life long learner who's passionate about dance, committed to social justice and service, invested in African America culture and current events, and devoted to writing. 

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