Why Sunscreen Is Important for Latinas of All Shades

Happy first day of summer!!!!

So you were lucky enough to be born with beautiful brown skin and you've probably been milking it your whole life: Laughing at your friends who have to pile on the bronzer in the winter and indulging in endless hours of sun exposure without a care in the world. ‘Cause we all know that brown skin doesn't burn, right? WRONG!

"The number one myth is that dark skinned people do not need to use sunscreen," says Houston-based dermatologist, Dr. Marjory G. Nigro—and that couldn't be further from the truth. Not only should women of color regularly use sunscreen, but we run a higher risk of developing melasma, a skin condition associated with the excess production of melanin that causes dark, irregular shaped spots on the face.

SPF & You! Why You Need Sunscreen Every Single Day

So how can you avoid these dark spots? "Research shows that sun is the number one cause of melasma, but since staying out of the sun all of the time is difficult, be sure to use sunscreen on a daily basis, not just when you go to the beach," advises Dr. Nigro.

Women of color also run the same risks of developing skin cancers and melanomas as our fairer-skinned friends, contrary to popular belief. And any type of skin is sure to quickly exhibit signs of aging when overexposed to the sun, so be sure not to skimp on the application! "You need to apply a thick layer of sunscreen to get the full protection on the label. A family of four should use an entire tube (about 150 ML) of sunscreen in one application," says Dr. Nigro.

Our 5 Favorite Sunscreens for Latinas

The FDA recently updated their regulations concerning sunscreen so it's important to keep yourself up-to-date on all the latest info. Now, only suncreens that protect from both UVA and UVB rays can be labeled "broad spectrum," and they have to have to have an SPF higher than 15 in order to claim that they reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging when used as directed. The FDA also capped the SPF value on sunscreen labels at "50 +" since there is no scientific data SPF values any higher provide more protection and has made the testing for suncreens claiming to "waterproof" and "sweatproof" more rigorous.

But sunscreen isn’t the only way to make sure you protect your skin this summer, and year-round, from the sun's harmful rays. From skin creams to makeup to cute sun hats and stunner shades, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself under cover. Check out our slideshow to see our favorite summer skin savers for every Latina!