Skincare Expert Answers Your Sun Care Questions

Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme is a medical consultant, skin expert and founder of award-winning Adonia Medical Clinic. Here she answers some our burning sun care questions

Skincare specialist Dr Ifeoma is only one of a handful of doctors in the UK to have undertaken the outstanding level of specialist training she has, earning her an internationally renowned reputation for her extensive knowledge and impeccable skills. Regularly sharing her expertise and tips via social media in a truly relatable way, she’s the go-to voice in skin.  Dr Ifeoma is also the founder and medical director of the award-winning Adonia Medical Clinic based in West London. 

Skin care expert Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme

My melanin protects me from the sun, so, why should I wear sunscreen?

Melanin does provide some natural protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays, but it’s not sufficient to fully protect your skin. Sunscreen is crucial for everyone, regardless of skin tone, because it provides an extra layer of protection against both UVA and UVB rays. UV rays can still penetrate the skin and cause damage, leading to premature ageing, hyperpigmentation, and even skin cancer.

How does sun cream work to protect the skin, and why is it crucial for people with darker skin tones to use also it regularly?

Sunscreen works by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering the UV rays, thus preventing them from reaching the deeper layers of the skin. For people with darker skin tones, regular use of sunscreen is essential because although melanin provides some protection, it’s not enough to completely shield the skin from sun damage. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to an uneven distribution of melanin, resulting in hyperpigmentation. Consistent use of sunscreen can help maintain healthier, more even-toned skin and reduce the risk of long-term damage.

Many people believe that Black skin is less susceptible to sunburn and skin damage. Could you explain why this is a misconception and why sun cream is essential for all skin types?

While darker skin tones have more melanin, which provides natural sun protection, they are still at risk of UV-induced damage. Sunscreen is important for all skin types because prolonged sun exposure can lead to various skin issues such as uneven skin tone, mottled pigmentation, DPN and more.

What are some of the challenges that people with darker skin may face when finding the right sun cream products, and how can these challenges be overcome?

People with darker skin may face challenges when finding the right sun cream products because many sunscreens on the market can leave a white cast or appear ashy. This can discourage regular use, leading to inadequate sun protection. To overcome this look for sunscreens specifically designed to be non-greasy, blend easily, and offer broad-spectrum protection without leaving a white residue.

Are there specific ingredients or formulations in sunscreens that are more suitable for Black skin?

It is most important you find a sunscreen which is suited to your skin type and enjoyable to wear so you do it daily.

My skin gets instantly darker (like whoosh!) whatever sun factor I use. Does it mean the sun cream isn’t working?

If your skin appears darker immediately even after applying sunscreen, it could be due to the product not fully absorbing or blending with your skin tone. It does not necessarily mean that the sunscreen isn’t working, but you may want to try different formulations or brands that are specifically designed for darker skin tones.

What’s the minimum SPF recommended for Black skin

There is no specific minimum SPF recommended solely for Black skin. The general recommendation for everyone is to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to ensure adequate protection from harmful UV rays.

Are mineral sunscreens better than chemical ones? Which one is best for us?

Both mineral and chemical sunscreens can be effective, but for individuals with darker skin, it’s essential to choose a sunscreen that works well with your skin type and preferences be it mineral or chemical.

Which is the best formula for sunscreen, oil, gel or cream?

The best formula for sunscreen depends on individual preferences and skin type. Gel-based sunscreens tend to be lighter and more suitable for oily skin, while cream-based sunscreens are often more hydrating and suitable for drier skin types. Choose the formula that feels comfortable on your skin and encourages regular use.

Do you know of any recent advancements or innovations in sun cream that cater to the needs of darker skin tones?

There have been advancements in sun cream formulations to cater to the needs of darker skin tones. Some brands now offer sunscreens specifically designed to blend better with darker skin without leaving a white cast or ashy appearance.

How often should you reapply sunscreen?

Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently if you are swimming, sweating heavily, or towel-drying your skin. Reapplication is crucial to maintain continuous protection throughout the day.

What are the myths you’d like to debunk about sun care for darker skins?

One myth to debunk is that sunscreen is unnecessary for people with darker skin tones. As mentioned earlier, everyone, regardless of skin tone, should use sunscreen to protect their skin from sun damage effectively.

I’ve heard that moisturisers can affect the absorption of chemical sunscreens, if they’re used before you apply your sunscreen, so should I apply the sunscreen before I moisturise?

As long as you are using the recommended amount, it can be applied over moisturiser as the last step in your skincare routine.

What after-sun products do you recommend?

For after-sun care, individuals with darker skin can benefit from products containing soothing and hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. These ingredients can help replenish moisture and soothe the skin after sun exposure.

Dr Ifeoma’s recommended sun care products

Heliocare 360º 

Heliocare 360º

Bioré UV Aqua Rich

Bioré UV Aqua Rich

Supergoop – Unseen 

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen

Beauty Pie Feather Light SPF 50

Beauty Pie Feather Light SPF 50

La Roche Posay Anthelios

La Roche Posay Anthelios

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