There’s been a longstanding idea that Black skin can’t get sunburned. However, that is false and Black people need sunscreen. 

“Black skin can definitely get sunburned,” said Raechele Cochran Gathers, a board-certified dermatologist. “Black skin can also develop skin cancer.”

Everyone needs to use sunscreen to prevent sunburned skin and other skin conditions.

“People with dark complexions can be more sensitive to certain wavelengths of light that penetrate deeply into the skin, causing damage, such as hyperpigmentation and age spots,” said Anju Methil, a dermatologist and cosmetologist.

What does a sunburn look like on Black skin?

Methil said that “redness, patchy skin, dark-colored spots on their skin, hyperpigmentation and blisters,” are key signs to look for when spotting a sunburn. 

“Other signs of sunburn to look for, on all skin types, include skin that may feel hot, sensitive to the touch, irritated or itchy,” Gathers said.

Both dermatologists said that it may be harder to point out a sunburn on darker complexions from the physical traits. These different sensations of a sunburned skin may help someone with a darker complexation notice it faster.

Tips for treating a sunburn on Black skin

Methil said that if someone notices sunburn, then it is essential to take steps to relieve the discomfort. Both experts recommend lightly patting sunburned skin with a cold damp cloth. They said that it can help reduce pain in the moment. Other suggestions included taking frequent baths, using a moisturizer with aloe vera and drinking plenty of water.

“Consider taking ibuprofen to help reduce redness, irritation and discomfort,” Gathers said.

Although there are methods to treat sunburn, the best scenario is to avoid getting sunburned. The best protection against the suns harmful rays is sunscreen. To stay protected from the harmful heat rays, it is important to apply it before leaving the house and reapplying it as needed. Here are some of 21Ninety’s top sunscreen picks to keep you protected from head-to-toe.

Krave Beauty’s Beet The Sun

Photo Courtesy of Krave Beauty

Krave Beauty’s Beet The Sun has a SPF 40 and is a lightweight cruelty-free chemical sunscreen. It also acts as a moisturizer. 

The sunscreen infuses beetroot extract, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and propanediol into its unique vegan formula. These ingredients soothe and moisturize the skin while preventing water loss and skin damage.

Solara Suncare’s Mineral Defense Sheer Sunscreen

Solara Suncare’s Mineral Defense Sheer Sunscreen has an SPF 30. It provides sun protection by using a nourishing all over spray. Some of the ingredients in this sunscreen include Vitamin C, mango extract, jojoba oil and aloe.

Solara Suncare created this sunscreen with sensitive skin in mind. This vegan mineral sunscreen is cruelty-free and reef safe. It also is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Everyday Humans’ Oh My Bod!

The Oh My Bod! Body Sunscreen has a SPF 50, and it dries clear on the skin. It also has a non-greasy formula that is sweat and water resistant. This cruelty-free sunblock contains soothing aloe vera juice and moisturizing hyaluronic acid.

Biossance Sheer’s Mineral Face Sunscreen

Biossance’s Sheer Mineral Face sunscreen has an SPF 30, and it addresses fine lines and wrinkles. Along with its anti-aging properties, this mineral sunscreen calms skin without a trace of white cast. 

Methil recommends this sunblock, and it uses sugarcane-derived squalane to provide long-lasting moisture. This Biossance SPF is vegan, cruelty-free and reef-safe.

Neutrogena’s Sunscreen Stick

Neutrogena’s Mineral Ultra Sheer Sunscreen Stick has an SPF 50. It is a mess-free way to prevent sunburned skin. The stick glides on to the face and body without leaving any greasy residue. 

The sunscreen stick is free of fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates and mineral oil. It is also non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores. The water-resistant formula keeps you covered for up to 80 minutes.

Murad’s Essential-C Day Broad Spectrum

Murad’s Essential-C Day Broad Spectrum has SPF 30. This sunscreen is another Methil recommendation, and it is great for dry skin. The cruelty-free chemical SPF coats the body with UV protection and ample moisture. 

The Murad sunblock contains vitamin C, which can help with the appearance of dark spots. 

Our editors love finding you the best products and offers! If you purchase something by clicking on one of the affiliate links on our website, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.