Summer is upon us, and surely, you plan to spend a great deal of time outdoors. Your beach bag is full of the essentials—water, beach towels, flip flops, and your adult beverage of choice. But there’s probably one thing you’ve left out—sun protection. At least once in your life, you’ve seen everyone lathering up with sunscreen and thought to yourself, “I’m black. I don’t need that.” It’s a common misconception—the Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 63% of the black community has never used sunscreen. The reason? Melanin. The truth about melanin There’s a common belief that melanin provides natural skin protection, and to some extent, this is true. Melanin is the pigment that colors our skin, and it helps us avoid sunburns or extensive sun damage. But melanin doesn’t protect us from skin cancer. In fact, though black people are diagnosed with skin cancer less often, they’re more likely to die from it. This is due to seemingly harmless beliefs about melanin. In falsely thinking that our pigment is nature’s sunscreen, we put ourselves at risk and fail to recognize the signs of melanoma. How to protect yourself The simple fix is to wear sunscreen or sunblock, with an SPF of at least 30. Keep in mind, you may need to reapply it every hour to ensure ultimate protection. In addition to sun protection, a regular skincare regimen can also be beneficial. Be sure to exfoliate with a gentle scrub, like our Refined™ Buff + Cleanse All-Natural Facial Scrub, at least once a week to get rid of dirt and grime that can be a breeding ground for seasonal skin conditions. Though our melanin does have many built-in benefits, sun protection is still a mandatory part of black skincare.