Since becoming a mother to biracial children, I’ve been asked many times if I put sunscreen on my kids, or asked why do I put sunscreen on my kids, and have they ever been sunburned. Their dad would often say they didn’t need sunscreen because they were brown and he never used sunscreen and he was fine. Many of my African American friends felt the same way about sunscreen and didn’t feel like they needed to use it because they didn’t burn. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
But I have always been fastidious about putting sunscreen on my biracial kids. The thing is, just because certain skin colors don’t burn, doesn’t mean they can’t get skin cancer. Every skin type can get cancer it doesn’t matter what color it is.
According to skincancer.org, 63% of African Americans have never used sunscreen. Although people who have more melanin in their skin (melanin is what gives skin it’s color, so darker skinned people have more melanin) tend to get cancer at a lower rate than people with less melanin, when they do get cancer, it is much deadlier.
This is because due to the pigment of their skin, melanoma is hard to spot. So they are catching the cancer later when it’s more advanced. Often African Americans or other races with dark skin don’t go to get their skin checked because of the belief that they won’t get skin cancer.
If you haven’t seen a picture of me, I’m very fair skinned. In fact, when I was talking to my daughter about our skin color, she told me I was clear!! Being so “clear”, I have worried about skin cancer much of my adult life. And knowing that skin color does not prevent someone from getting skin cancer, that is why I choose to put sunscreen on my mixed kids.
One of the other reasons to use sunscreen on darker skin is they are more prone to hyperpigmentation, or dark spots due to the sun. According to Dr. Marina Peredo of Medicaldaily.com, she says these dark spots that one can acquire from acne, burns or cuts if exposed to the sun, can easily be prevented by staying out of the sun or wearing sunscreen.
As all kids, mine fall or get various owies all the time! The marks they get on their skin tend to turn lighter, which I’m not sure if it’s because of their particular skin color, but I still put sunscreen on them to try to prevent those light scars from becoming dark from the sun. It has worked pretty well! Most of their marks fade away over time back to their original skin color.
In my quest to find a good sunscreen for my kids I’ve have had to experiment with different types to find the one that worked best for their skin. Both of my kids have eczema and sensitive skin. But my daughter’s skin is more sensitive to sunscreen than my son.
There was a lot of trial and error involved. When I would try out a new sunscreen on my daughter, her skin would get bumpy and itchy. It took me a few times of realizing it was caused by the sunscreen. So I would stop using that one and try another one. When that one caused itchy bumps, I stopped using it and continued the process.
The frustrating thing about the process (besides that it would cause my daughter to get itchy bumps!) was I was spending a lot of money on organic, super safe sunscreens! I’m a fan of organic products, but this goes to show that organic isn’t always the best option for every need.
I finally found Aveeno Baby Sunscreen and this has been my favorite!! It does not give my daughter a reaction at all! So it is gentle enough for both of my kids to use and it’s from a brand I trust. I love Aveeno for other dry skin issues my kids and I have had.
The moral of the story is, if you have biracial kids, you need to be putting sunscreen on them! Especially when they are playing outside a lot. Just because a person has darker skin, does not protect them from skin cancer! Protect your precious babies from harmful UV rays that cause skin cancer and hyperpigmentation that’s caused by the sun’s rays on their cuts or burns! Let them safely have fun in the sun!