For the next few weeks, we’re going to be focusing on how SPF is the best way to protect all the investments you’re making in your skin – and that includes investments like chemical peels, AHAs and retinol that are designed to help with hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation, or abnormally dark patches of skin, is a problematic condition that a lot of us face. We tapped our friend and skincare pro, Quani Burnett, to speakto her own challenges when it comes to hyperpigmentation. What she learned is that SPF is key to combatting this issue…not to mention a few more.
As a Black woman, dark spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation remain one of my biggest skincare challenges that I address daily, and intentionally, in my skincare routine.
I’ll admit that I’m behind in this race to conquer dark spots, namely when it comes to sun protection. I’m almost ashamed to say that I didn’t start wearing sunscreen consistently up until roughly two years ago, when I got really into skincare because of my job. I find a small sense of comfort in knowing that some or many of you who are reading this can also relate.
When I first started getting serious about treating my hyperpigmentation, I focused less on SPF and more on using lots of actives. This included chemical peels and high-percentage acids such as AHAs and retinol, and as a result, my skin lacked hydration––and I personally lacked an understanding of balance.
One lesson that I learned along the way was the importance of not only wearing sunscreen in general, but also reapplying it throughout the day. I remember I would see noticeable improvements in my dark spots after applying SPF once, at the beginning of the day, only to find them darker after spending hours outside without reapplying it. (Yikes!)
And yes, let’s take a minute to address the age-old stereotype: hyperpigmented skin or not, Black people do need to wear sunscreen. In fact, the SPF protection thatBlack skin offers is only 13.4, far below the recommended SPF 30. Growing up, though wearing sunscreen was not preached in my household, staying out of the sun was; a testament to colorism often invading unintended spaces.
Back to SPF and hyperpigmentation in particular… Broad spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays, which cause andworsen dark spots. So SPF protection against these rays is key. But I’d also be remiss to highlight the aesthetic benefits of wearing SPF without highlighting the fact that wearing it also reduces the risk of skin cancer. In darker skin tones, skin cancer is especially a threat, as it’s often found in the later stages, since it can be harder to detect.
So in conclusion, SPF is key when it comes to “protecting your investment” in skincare products like peels and acids for hyperpigmentation. Wearing sunscreen is also beneficial to the overall health of your skin, and ultimately, your life. Though some of my dark spots can be considered battle scars from the acne I had, I’ve found that wearing and reapplying sunscreen helps me to feel better knowing that I am doing the best thing possible to protect the health and future of my skin.
Questions about protecting your investment when it comes to hyperpigmentation or dark spots? Leave them in the comments below!