Reality Check #1: We Should Wear Sunscreen Everyday
While it is true that the natural melanin (the pigment that makes our skin more or less brown) in our skin provides some protection—equal to an SPF of 13–16, versus an SPF less than 5 in Caucasians—it doesn’t mean we’re safe. Just going about your daily life can have harmful effects over time—such as premature aging, wrinkles and uneven skin tone. Even driving in your car leaves you vulnerable, as UVA rays pass through glass. And if you have discoloration or acne scars, going without sunscreen may make the spots appear darker. To protect yourself, use a sunscreen that guards against both UVB and UVA rays. “The goal is to achieve a minimum SPF of 15,” says New York City dermatologist Dina Strachan, M.D.