Monday, May 20, 2013

"Shoot, my people are from Africa. I don't need sunblock!" | Smell Good Spa™

Growing up I lived under the assumption that I, nor anyone with brown skin would need sunblock for  protection from the sun.  And, why would we? We are descendants of tribes that lived, toiled, and enjoyed life under the brightest star; Then brought to an unfamiliar place, our ancestors toiled under harsh conditions under that same sun.  Sitting around listening to the elders, not once did they mention anyone that they knew getting sunburned or a skin disease.  I remember playing outside for hours under the sun, never seeing my skin, nor my friends' skin (light to dark brown) change in anyway.  Overtime, "My people are from Africa", became something that was just said (always a chuckle afterwards, as if someone told a joke), really not giving any thought to, "Hmm, is it possible that my skin could benefit from using sunblock?"

About 15 years ago my answer came.  I was laying on the beach enjoying the sun and sea air, and King T. was fishing.  I think he turned into a fish.  The brotha got sunburned!  We were both so shocked to see the scaly skin on his shoulders peeling and the damaged area turning red.  Later that day, we could still feel the heat coming from his skin, and the area was a little tender. We just never seen that happen to any brown skin person, regardless of how long they were out in the sun.  Needless to say, he didn't want that experience again.

Sunblock is not something that I use on a daily basis.  However, I do apply product that will give a protective barrier to my skin when I'm outside for a short period of time, or running errands (I'll share more about those products in a post later today).  When my family and I head to the beach, not only do we take our sun-protection products, SPF15 comes with us too.

Lately, this topic about brown skin people needing sunblock is popping up more than ever.  I see it in my Google Alerts just about everyday, and I see black mommies posing the question on social networks, no doubt, for the sake of their children.

Hey lady, do you have beautiful brown skin?  If so, what are your thoughts on applying sunblock?  I know you have your big fancy hat and umbrella for shade, but do you see a place for additional skin protection?

Do you agree, disagree, or really just don't care about Ava's statement (video), "People of color not needing sunblock is a myth"?

If you didn't know, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  Here's an insightful article about brown skin people and skin cancer, "Blacks are Susceptible to Skin Cancer".  The adjective black being used as a proper noun makes me crack my neck from left to right, but the article is informative.

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