I remember it like it was yesterday. January 21 2008. I had only been in Texas 2 weeks and my body was going through changes I had never known before, especially my face.
I remember calling my grandma (my favorite RN – though Paw Paw says she doesn’t work) and frantically asking her to tell me what was wrong with me.
“MY FACE! MY BEAUTIFUL CHERISHED FACE.. IT’S… IT’S.. RED AND IT HURRRRTS AND MY SKIN IS PEELING OFF!”
I must’ve been suffering from a severe allergic reaction. I’d seen enough episodes of House to know that something was probably wrong genetically or because of my natural ability to find the most dramatic conclusions ever.. I knew I was dyyyyyyying!
My grandma giggled the way she pleasantly does and said “Sweetie! It’s a sun burn!”
Now I know what you are thinking… Black people don’t tan! We don’t burn either! That’s silly! (I know that’s how you responded to this because I Did and nine years later my white coworkers responded like I was crazy) Don’t ask me why I know better and still go about suffering. Sometimes I forget…
Cue my shoulders current condition…
So I Googled some ways to help you protect yourself from the sun and this is what it gave me:
- USE SUNCREEN REGULARLY. …
- WEAR A HAT. …
- SEEK SHADE. …
- AVOID THE SUN BETWEEN 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. …
- AVOID TANNING Beds.
These are all great examples except for the fact that they dont all work for me.
I wear a size eight hat… My head is HUGE! And hats really don’t work well for black girls cause it makes your hair lay flat. It de-smoothes my edges. It sweats out my style and seriously. I wear a size eight hat people! You not finding NOTHING cute in that!
Shade is not always an option. I cringe at the thought at sitting in the shade missing out on the beautiful kiss of the sun! I gag thinking about staying on land and not in the sea that calls to me. I’m always working on keeping my chocolate right and sitting in the shade guarantees that, that won’t be accomplished. Super negative.
We are just gonna ignore that it said not to go outside from 10 am to 2 cause vacation waits for no one and unless you’re Sparkle I’m not worried about you hopping in a tanning bed (she was mad Hispanic looking… But she was cute)
I went through allllllllllllllll of that just to express the importance of sunscreen. Yes we carry amazing amounts of melanin but skin is still skin. The sun has dangerous rays that impact our skin down within. And.. black don’t crack.. Cause it’s maintained to such high standards.
We are the most conditioned (in every way) of people you’ll ever meet! Coconut oil on everything!
While a higher concentration of melanin provides some sun protection, it doesn’t prevent skin cancer. In fact, many African-Americans with skin cancer don’t catch it early enough, which is why skin cancer fatality rates are higher among African-Americans than other ethnic groups.
Kanye was lying when he said “I’m way too black to burn from sun rays.” Black people and any darker skinned person can get sunburn! Bob Marley died of skin cancer developed from his toe. His toe people!
Don’t be afraid of sunscreen. I suggest 50 spf or higher. Protect that which is beautiful.
I had you read this whole blog cause I didn’t put on sunscreen.. You’ll never get this time back!