5 sunscreens for dark skin to have in your anti aging skin care

The Skincerely Clare theme for May 2017 is anti-aging. So it’s the perfect time to discuss the one skin care product African women you need to age well, despite popular belief, sunscreen.

I’m going to be sharing some popular sunscreens for dark skin. One is European and the rest are Japanese.

Asian beauty culture is quite focused on brightening. Since sun protection is an important part of clear, bright skin, it stands to reason that Asian sunscreen technology is ahead of the rest of the world.

If you find a sunscreen that isn’t greasy or leave a Casper-esque film after application, it’s likely to be Asian or European.

For the longest time (until 4 - 5 years ago), I never wore sunscreen. As an African woman, I thought black didn’t crack, and sunscreen unnecessary. I was never taught the importance of sunscreen.

When I did learn its importance, the few sunscreens that were available on the local market were horrible, to say the least. So I relied on the sunscreen in my regular moisturizer (Olay at the time) to do the trick.

Then online shopping and the Asian beauty trend happened. I was introduced to a whole new world of amazing sunscreens for dark skin, with low shipping costs to boot!


Understanding Sun Protection

Our skin needs to be protected from two types of sun rays:

  • UVA which go deep into the skin, destroying collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep our skin plump and firm. When destroyed it results in sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles. UVA also results in uneven skin tone and skin cancer.

  • UVB which cause sunburn.

We need protection from both. You need a broad spectrum sunscreen to do this.

On Japanese sunscreens, you will see a SPF and PA+ rating. The SPF rating is for UVB rays and the PA+ rating for +UVA rays. The highest PA+ rating has 4 pluses (PA ++++).

In Europe, PPD is the same as PA+ A higher PPD rating means greater UVA protection.


Why the SPF in your daytime moisturizer and makeup is not enough

Daytime moisturizers aren’t meant to protect you from the sun, they are meant to moisturize, so they don’t have enough SPF to actually protect.

Our faces alone need at least ¼ teaspoon of sunscreen every time we apply. That’s a lot, not many of us would be willing to apply that much moisturizer on our faces every few hours. We’d be a greasy mess.

The best thing to do is apply a sunscreen like the ones below on top of your daytime moisturizer  and below your makeup to get enough protection.


UV Filters

These are the ingredients that actually provide the protection in the sunscreens below. Note that they aren’t the only UV filters out there.

  • Zinc Oxide - blocks UVA and UVB

  • Tinosorb S - blocks UVA and UVB

  • Avobenzone - blocks UVA

  • Octinoxate - blocks UVB

  • Homosalate - blocks UVB

  • Octocrylene - blocks UVB

  • Octisalate - blocks UVB

  • Uvinul T 150 - blocks UVB

  • Parsol SLX - blocks UVB

  • Titanium dioxide - blocks UVB, limited UVA blocking

  • Uvinul A Plus - limited UVA blocking

  • Mexoryl SX - limited UVB blocking

Behold...the sunscreens for dark skin

Biore UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++

UV Filters: Octinoxate, Tinosorb S, Uvinul A Plus, Uvinul T 150

Best for: Normal to oily or combination skin

The very first Asian sunscreen I tried thanks to this review by Sheryll of the Wanderlust Project. There is a 2015 and 2017 version.

From the reviews, it seems like the main difference between the two is the 2017 one is water resistant. Tracy of fanserviced-b gives an initial impression of the 2017 version here.


NIVEA Sun Protect Plus UV Milky Essence SPF50+ PA++++

UV Filters: Octinoxate, Zinc Oxide, Tinosorb, Uvinul A Plus, Uvinul T 150

Best for: Normal to oily skin

This sunscreen has moisturizing hyaluronic acid and is great when you’ll be out and about running a few errands, like a weekly grocery run. Don’t sweat it (ha!) it’s water resistant.


NIVEA  Sun Cream Care UV Cream SPF50+ PA++++

UV Filters: Octinoxate, Zinc Oxide, Tinosorb, Uvinul A Plus, Uvinul T 150

Best for: normal to dry skin

This is my current bae. With moisturizing ingredients like squalane, jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid, it’s perfect for everyday use during the colder months.


Shiseido Senka Aging Care UV Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++

UV Filters: Octinoxate, Parsol SLX, Octocrylene, Uvinul A Plus

Best for: normal to dry skin

This is a moisturizing sunscreen perfect for those days you don’t feel like applying moisturizer. It has a dewy finish after application. It has moisturizing hyaluronic acid and the antioxidant ubiquinone.


La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid

UV filters:  Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone

Best for: all skin types

Anthelios was the very first sunscreen that worked for me. And you know what they say about your first. To this day, it’s my favorite sunscreen brand.

In Conclusion

Japanese sunscreens have alcohol as a common ingredient. I believe this is why they are non-greasy and absorb like a dream.

Alcohol is a hot topic in skin care, some love it, some hate it, some don’t care as long as it treats them right.

I’m in the latter. I have normal to dry skin with concerns like eczema and acne, and my skin isn’t irritated by alcohol. I would advise you to test and discover what works for you.

What sunscreens for dark skin have you come across and liked? Let me know in the comments!