It’s Official: African American People Get Sunburn Too (This Picture Proves It)! Pt. 1

 

There has been a myth for years that Black people don’t get sunburn. I’ve heard it a thousand times. I never agreed with it, but never really found it detrimental to do all the preventative sun tasks that my non-Black friends did. Just a couple of weeks ago, Felicia Walker Benson and I were gabbing it up at the Essence Best in Black Beauty Awards. She went on and on about SPF, why it’s so important, and the brands that she loves. In fact, I’m reading this post on her favorite sunscreens as I type. I listened, but oh how I wish I implemented that strategy. Read on for pictures.

My Skin Looks Horrible

sunburn on african american skin

A few days ago, I did a particularly unfavorable review of Dermadoctor Litmus Test Glycolic Acid Facial Cleansing Gel. I had only been using it for a few days when I felt the extreme tightness, and then saw dark, scabbish looking areas. I officially became fed up when I walked into the bathroom at work and saw the entire bottom of my face peeling. (Mind you, I had been having conversations with people all day.) Today, I was so angry at the constant burning that I flew to social media. So after my slight twitter rant, I stood beside myself. As a blogger (and general consumer), I know that there may be fine print for me to see. So, I went over to Dermadoctor’s website.

Aha!

For external use only.  Do not get into eyes.  If irritation occurs, wash product off, discontinue use and consult a physician.  Sunburn Alert: This product contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn.  Wear a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.

Oh.

As I looked back on the last four days of usage, I thought about the excruciatingly hot sun during the Orioles vs. Nationals game on Sunday, gardening on Friday, yada yada. In all, I did what the warning told me not to do.

 Lesson Learned

Stay tuned for part two of my skinburn disaster. In the 12 hours since I created this post, there has been a drastic (hideous, but positive) change in my skin. This time, I took even more pictures. I’ll be doing a lot of on-going research on skin care for the next few weeks. I literally became a skincare advocate overnight. This will never happen to me again, I promise!

Erin Baynham

My name is Erin Baynham, and I created Scandalous Beauty in December 2005. I love sharing my favorite makeup products! I'm a huge Orioles & Ravens fan and I have to have iced coffee everyday.

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Comments

  1. Jeneille Lewis says

    Oh no! I can identify with this. I was using these micro-derm samples that came with my Clarisonic from Sephora and I had the SAME type of marks. Now I use SPF 70. I got some gone with a fade cream but a few spots are still there. i hope you get yours cleared too. I just bought a Vit C thing the Body Shop to see if that would help

      • Jeneille says

        I use the Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunscreen and it doesn’t leave a cast at all. I tend to put it on and rub it in well….let it sit for 15 minutes before applying moisturizer to my dry areas. La Roche Posay has a tinted version of their extreme fluid if you’re worried about the white cast and that works well too but I have no issues with the Neutrogena.

        The Body Shop product is the Facial Radiance powder mix. You use it for 10 days (i applied generously day and night) and I definitely saw a huge difference. There are a few spots left but my complexion is back to normal and I got compliments on how my skin glows.

        I also stopped exfoliating for a while…I was using my clarisonic daily and i’ve started doing it once a week…but definitely use sunscreen religiously!

  2. says

    Oh no! I can identify with this. I was using these micro-derm samples that came with my Clarisonic from Sephora and I had the SAME type of marks. Now I use SPF 70. I got some gone with a fade cream but a few spots are still there. i hope you get yours cleared too. I just bought a Vit C thing the Body Shop to see if that would help

      • Jeneille says

        I use the Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunscreen and it doesn’t leave a cast at all. I tend to put it on and rub it in well….let it sit for 15 minutes before applying moisturizer to my dry areas. La Roche Posay has a tinted version of their extreme fluid if you’re worried about the white cast and that works well too but I have no issues with the Neutrogena.

        The Body Shop product is the Facial Radiance powder mix. You use it for 10 days (i applied generously day and night) and I definitely saw a huge difference. There are a few spots left but my complexion is back to normal and I got compliments on how my skin glows.

        I also stopped exfoliating for a while…I was using my clarisonic daily and i’ve started doing it once a week…but definitely use sunscreen religiously!

  3. MilaXX says

    So sorry to hear this. My dermatologist always said any time of peel makes your skin super sensitive to the sun and to take precautions. In fact in addition to using sunblock she recommended wearing a hat with a brim.

  4. MilaXX says

    So sorry to hear this. My dermatologist always said any time of peel makes your skin super sensitive to the sun and to take precautions. In fact in addition to using sunblock she recommended wearing a hat with a brim.

  5. Joy Johnson says

    Ouch – you didn’t get burned, you got baked! Skincare obsession is just as budget-lethal as makeup obsession. Most WOC I know don’t use sunscreen and if I tell them about sunscreen their eyes just glaze over while I speak. My favorite is La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultralight Fluid SPF 60. It doesn’t leave a white cast like other sunscreens (that tend to make me look ashy). Please start pushing sunscreen – I think you’ll do an excellent job of getting the word out and getting more WOC to use it. :-)

    • says

      LOL, definitely got baked! I’m totally starting to see how pricey it can get. I went to Ulta and walked around for 40 minutes until I found a new cleanser. I wanted to walk out with moisturizers, sunscreens, exfoliators–you name it. But that is so true! SPF definitely wasn’t on my radar until this unfortunate weekend. I’ll definitely check out La Roche, I’ve never heard of it, but love that I wont get a white cast. Thanks so much for commenting and pushing me (and the blog) with skincare!

  6. says

    Ouch – you didn’t get burned, you got baked! Skincare obsession is just as budget-lethal as makeup obsession. Most WOC I know don’t use sunscreen and if I tell them about sunscreen their eyes just glaze over while I speak. My favorite is La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultralight Fluid SPF 60. It doesn’t leave a white cast like other sunscreens (that tend to make me look ashy). Please start pushing sunscreen – I think you’ll do an excellent job of getting the word out and getting more WOC to use it. :-)

    • says

      LOL, definitely got baked! I’m totally starting to see how pricey it can get. I went to Ulta and walked around for 40 minutes until I found a new cleanser. I wanted to walk out with moisturizers, sunscreens, exfoliators–you name it. But that is so true! SPF definitely wasn’t on my radar until this unfortunate weekend. I’ll definitely check out La Roche, I’ve never heard of it, but love that I wont get a white cast. Thanks so much for commenting and pushing me (and the blog) with skincare!

  7. says

    @Joy Johnson Same here I am constantly telling my friends and family members to please wear a moisturizer with SPF in but they swear Black people dont get sunburn or cant get skin cancer. What Erin went through just proves them wrong. So sorry you had to got through this Erin!

  8. says

    @Joy Johnson Same here I am constantly telling my friends and family members to please wear a moisturizer with SPF in but they swear Black people dont get sunburn or cant get skin cancer. What Erin went through just proves them wrong. So sorry you had to got through this Erin!

  9. Queen Shanine says

    Many years ago my cousin got sunburned after a day outside at a family even hosted by my dad’s job. However, I only recently started becoming more conscious of the SPF levels in my products. Even the Bobbi Brown face balm I’m using has SPF 25. I usually only worry about my face, neck, and arms. I’m usually pretty covered otherwise. I am glad that you showed that black people can get sunburned. Most people still believe the myth. This would make a good youtube video.

  10. Queen Shanine says

    Many years ago my cousin got sunburned after a day outside at a family even hosted by my dad’s job. However, I only recently started becoming more conscious of the SPF levels in my products. Even the Bobbi Brown face balm I’m using has SPF 25. I usually only worry about my face, neck, and arms. I’m usually pretty covered otherwise. I am glad that you showed that black people can get sunburned. Most people still believe the myth. This would make a good youtube video.

  11. says

    I’m dark skinned and i burn VERY easily…even when I’m not using AHA containing products. I use an SPF 50 daily from Kehils (Super Fluid UV Defense). It is the first and only sunscreen I’ve found that does NOT leave that white cast to AA skin. Oh BTW Erin, the white cast is caused when the product contains physical suncreen ingredients like zinc oxide or tatanium oxide….which MOST suncreen products use because they are cheap and effective. Products that don’t cause the white cast use chemcial suncreen ingredients. The Kehils sunscreen is not cheap, but you literally only have to apply a tiny bit to your face so a bottle (the smaller) lasts for MONTHS. I’ve used this product consistantly for the last year and I will not use another sunscreen product on my face as long as this is in production!

  12. says

    I’m dark skinned and i burn VERY easily…even when I’m not using AHA containing products. I use an SPF 50 daily from Kehils (Super Fluid UV Defense). It is the first and only sunscreen I’ve found that does NOT leave that white cast to AA skin. Oh BTW Erin, the white cast is caused when the product contains physical suncreen ingredients like zinc oxide or tatanium oxide….which MOST suncreen products use because they are cheap and effective. Products that don’t cause the white cast use chemcial suncreen ingredients. The Kehils sunscreen is not cheap, but you literally only have to apply a tiny bit to your face so a bottle (the smaller) lasts for MONTHS. I’ve used this product consistantly for the last year and I will not use another sunscreen product on my face as long as this is in production!

  13. Anthony says

    The sun does not discriminate, it does not see if you are a fairer tone or of a darker tone. Diseases like skin cancer, sunburn and other sun or heat related conditions can be caught by anyone exposed to too much sun. It becomes more important for darker skin toned people to wear sunscreen for protection against the sun as darker tones have a higher risk of developing Melanoma. So it is advised to be always protected against harmful UVA/UVB rays, no matter your skin tone .I’ve used ExtraShade sunscreen and love it’s lightweight, moisturizing and doesn’t leave white streaks on my skin! I LOVE IT!

  14. Marise Whyte says

    I’m black and I’ve never been burned. I absolutely despise sunscreen with every fiber of my being, so I hardly wear it, and nothing’s happened yet.
    But of course blacks can burn. ANYONE can. We aren’t immune.

  15. Ronald Poe VII says

    It is really refreshing to know that people have finally figured out that Blacks can sunburn as well as Whites, Chinese, Indians, American Natives and everybody else. I like this discussion. We should put Black people on a stage and let everybody else of other races ask us the dumb questions as if we are not citizens of Earth and subject to the same forces and issues that they are since they obviously don’t see us as the same as them or human. However, I was reaching for an answer of what a Black person can do AFTER they have been sunburned, not before when sunscreen can be of some help.

    If anyone out there can get over the great big surprise that Black people can actually sunburn, would you know of a remedy or cure or some assistance in healing the sunburn and on toward full recovery? I’m still under the impresssion that we should try to solve problems instead of just talking about the problem.

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