EXCLUSIVE: Genesis Rodriguez Talks Skin Protection & Her Fave Drugstore Beauty Buys

May is a month of warm weather and barbecues — which means it's also a time to focus on our skin. As we near the end of Skin Protection Month and the official start of summer, we need to discuss the growing number of Latinos affected by melanoma.

Actress Genesis Rodriguez has partnered with L’Oréal Paris and the Melanoma Research Alliance to spread awareness about skin protection as part of the “It’s THAT Worth It To Me” campaign. Rodriguez was directly affected by melanoma when her grandparents were diagnosed after working many years under the sun in Cuba.

We chatted with Rodriguez about her new campaign for sun protection, her upcoming film with Johnny Depp, her dream Hollywood pairings, and her favorite drugstore beauty buys: 

Why is it so important that we all — no matter the age — talk about the seriousness of melanoma?

It is important to me, because it has affected me personally. Two of my family members were diagnosed with skin cancer, and it’s a very scary thing. There’s really no cure for it. It could come back. It was so awful for my grandmother, to see that she felt almost ashamed that it had happened to her, because it was on her face. I felt her pain. She was in a lot of pain after the procedure.

This is something that is preventative. Let’s start talking about this. Why isn’t sun protection part of our daily routine? You want to look tan? The whole tan look can be easily manipulated with some makeup and self tanner. This is all about starting a conversation, because this doesn’t have to be a scary thing. This is a movement. After you brush your teeth, put on your sunscreen and don’t forget to reapply during the day. Annoy your friends! Reapply together!

MORE: Get Sun Protection From Your Makeup With These Products

There’s been this misconception floating around for many years that if you have darker skin, you won’t get melanoma. Is this true?

As Hispanics, we’re all different shades. Some of us are shades of brown, and some of us have fair skin. Melanoma doesn’t discriminate. The idea that those of us who have a darker pigmentation are safe is a total lie. Whatever you do or don’t do to your skin today can affect you twenty years from now.

So I have a special message for the youth out there! They are probably not thinking about the future right now. The years will start creeping up on you. Please start wearing sunblock! Don’t be so reckless with yourself. Take care of yourselves. Love yourselves. This is a form of doing that.

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