Handwashing. Masks. Social Distancing. All of these are necessary measures of self-protection in our current climate. But as we begin to consider how to move about the world in our current climate, we want to remind you of one simple, yet essential fact:
Melanin is NOT sunscreen!
Yes, yes, we know your beautiful brown skin loves the sun—but it also loves protection from harmful UVA/UVB rays. In fact, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and as a July 2019 article from the Skin Cancer Foundation states:
Skin cancers are less prevalent in nonwhite racial ethnic groups, but when they occur, they tend to be diagnosed at a later stage and, as a result, have a worse prognosis. One study, for example, found an average five-year melanoma survival rate of only 65 percent in black people versus 91 percent in white people. Another showed that late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more common in Hispanic and black patients than in non-Hispanic white patients.
That’s why we’re so grateful entrepreneur Shontay Lundy invented Black Girl Sunscreen. Even as a brown-skinned woman, Lundy was rightly concerned about her skin’s health during some of her favorite outdoor activities, which include hikes, yoga and sitting poolside sipping mojitos. But when she went in search of a sunscreen that would provide adequate protection without leaving an unsightly, ashy blue-white cast on her skin, there were none to be found.
“I knew there had to be something that could work,” said Lundy in a statement. “And I knew that if I could figure out how to make it happen, it’d be a game-changer.” And for colored girls who have considered sunscreen when melanin is not enough, Black Girl Sunscreen was born.
But of course, Lundy’s cruelty-free, environmentally friendly and vegan formulation isn’t just for black girls, but every brown-skinned person who believes in sun protection. It not only allows the brown beauty of our skin to shine through its 30 SPF (50 SPF for kids) but is also free of proven problematic chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate that can disrupt our hormones. Today, Black Girl Sunscreen is the only indie black-owned product sold in Target’s sun care section full time—and just this month, the brand secured a $1 million dollar investment from a private female funding source, no small feat during a pandemic.
To stress the importance of wearing sunscreen during Skin Cancer Awareness Month and beyond, The Glow Up’s Managing Editor Maiysha Kai chatted with the founder of Black Girl Sunscreen Shontay Lundy to discuss the importance of cultivating healthy skincare habits, even while in quarantine.