Why Sunscreen is the ultimate essential in your skincare routine

Graphic by Odia Melissa

Ladies and gents, summer is in full swing, and laying in the sun is top priority after a year in captivity. Even though absorbing all that vitamin d is important, beware of the dangers of the sun and its ultraviolet rays. Don’t be fooled; overexposure to UV rays isn’t only prevalent in the heat of the summer but on those overcast days as well. Unprotected exposure can lead to some serious skin aging and even skin cancer along the road. Needless to say, sunscreen is not only essential in your summer skin routine but in your skincare regiment all year round.

For those of us who are gifted with an abundance of melanin, we aren’t in the clear nor immune from the dangers of the sun. It’s a common misconception in the black community that because we are less likely to develop skin cancer and thus don’t need sunscreen. According to Health Line, when black people do develop skin cancer, it is usually diagnosed at a later and more advanced stage. Sun damage can also manifest itself in fine lines, wrinkles and aggravate hyperpigmentation and discoloration. Black can crack, so let’s protect at all cost.

Illustration by Odia Melissa

When it comes to the types of sunscreens on the market, they can be broken down into two main categories; chemical and mineral sunscreens. In a sit-down chat with Beauty Within, Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu of Chemist Confession stated that mineral (or physical) sunscreen contains active mineral ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Mineral sunscreens tend to leave a white cast due to powdery ingredients and are recommended for sensitive skin.

Chemical (or organic) sunscreens include organic carbon-based ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone that help deflect UV rays from your skin. In my experience, chemical sunscreens don’t leave that white cast, look great under makeup, and tend to leave my skin less greasy yet still hydrated. Both options are great depending on what you what from a sunscreen and the type of skin you have.

When it comes application, I’m always a “more is more and less is a bore” type of gal, so I usually use a generous amount. If it’s in a squeeze tube, I follow the two-finger rule, but if it’s in a pump, I usually use 2-3 pumps of product. In regards to placement, I obviously go all over the face as well as neck and chest. I let the sunscreen sit on my face for about 30 minutes before going in with makeup or exposing myself to the sun. To get maximum protection, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, but I’m gonna be 100% transparent here; this is a rule I don’t necessarily follow. As a makeup wearer, I’m slowly but surely getting into carrying a spray or powder sunscreen with me but to be honest; I haven’t found the right one for me yet.

Incorporating good sunscreen in your skincare routine is not only useful in the summer but all year round. Protecting your skin from over-exposure to sun rays can improve your skin’s current state and be a preventative measure for any other future problems.

Shop My Favourite Sunscreens

(Not affiliated links)

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, 42$,

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

This gel sunscreen started my sunscreen obsession. Popularized by beauty gurus and Tik Tokers alike, the hype is well deserved. The gel-like formula disappears on the skin without leaving a pesky white cast and leaves the skin a little tacky to grip your makeup. For those who haven’t tried it before, the best way I can describe it is that it’s like the Milk Makeup hydro grip primer but with sunscreen in it.


Shiseido Urban Enviroment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen SPF 42, $40,

Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42


Although the name is a mouth full, all claims are true. This sunscreen is ultra-light and provides high protection without leaving skin greasy. If you have oily skin, you need to run and not walk to your local Sephora to get this. It leaves a fresh matte finish while still looking hydrated.


Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 45, $18,

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 45


This is the only water-resistant sunscreen on this list. It’s quick to absorb into the skin and leaves the skin grease-free and matte throughout the day. I think you have to put in a little more work to blend it into the skin to avoid a white cast, and because of that, I wouldn’t go above the SPF 45. The higher SPF you go in the ultra-sheer range, the more of the white cast you get (even though it’s made without oxybenzone). You’ve been warned.


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50, $20,

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen

This is another gel sunscreen that I absolutely love. It feels super thin and lightweight on the skin while providing maximum protection. It gives visible hydration without your skin feeling like an oil slick. It’s quick-absorbing and another you can layer makeup on top of beautifully.


Bioderma Pigmentbio Daily Care SPF 50

Bioderma Pigmentbio Daily Care 50

Two in one sunscreen and daily moisturizer? Sign me up. This is the sunscreen I’m currently using and absolutely loving. Not only does it have a bunch of skincare ingredients to help my hyperpigmentation, but it also comes fully loaded with SPF 50. It helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and brightens up your skin, all while also protecting you from the sun. At first, I thought it was too good to be true, but after using it for three weeks, I’ve concluded that this moisturizer needs more hype.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: