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You’ve seen the hashtags across social media — #Melanin. #MelaninMonday. #UnapologiciallyMelanated. Melanin is the pigment that gives color to the skin, hair and eyes. It’s also an adjective used across social media to invoke a sense of pride among those of African descent and a cause to be celebrated. And it’s a source of sun protection for those with a higher concentration of melanin in the skin.

As a beauty pro and wellness enthusiast, I am a proponent of protecting your skin against the sun’s damaging rays.  It’s funny though, because, Vitamin D is a much needed and important nutrient that’s provided in abundance by the sun, but at the same time, too much sun can be damaging to the skin no matter how richly dark your skin is.

While it’s definitely fine and essential to get some sun, be proactive in protecting your skin, especially while working out outdoors and taking in other outdoor activities.

Also note that sun protection is not just for the summer months.  Using a sunscreen year round is should be a priority.

When choosing a quality sun block, it’s important to select a product that provides a broad spectrum protection that shields against UVA and UVB rays.

If you don’t know what UVA and UVB means, keep this in mind: the A in UVA means aging and how cancerous growths come about and the B in UVB means burn.  How your skin tans or burns is from UVB rays.

Some really good sunscreen items are listed/shown below:

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Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Saving Face Sunscreen is a great affordable option for those looking to go as natural as possible, but without breaking the bank.  This sunscreen is at a level SPF 15 and is formulated for the face.  If your makeup doesn’t contain a sunscreen and you’d like to wear one under your makeup, I would advise making sure the sunscreen is warmed up with your hands and then applying the product to the skin, particularly for darker skin.  This way you can avoid some of the ashiness that comes along with a sunscreen product.

Another natural option is Jason Mineral Sunblock.  With an SPF 30, this is a fragrance-free mineral sunscreen that’s safe for the most sensitive of skins.  It doesn’t contain parabend, sodium lauryl or laurent sulfates, petrolatum, artificial colors or phthalates.

Alba Botanica’s Very Emollient Sunscreen is another good and natural option that is also mineral-based with 100% vegetarian ingredients.  Great for a day at the pool because it is water resistant.

If you’re looking for an option for you and baby, try Mustela Sun Range Mineral Sunscreen Lotion in SPF 50.  Great product without all of the not good for your ingredients, like paraben, phthalate, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, PABA, and it’s hypoallergenic.

Lastly, for those babes who love hanging out in the mall, Clinique’s Broad Spectrum Body Cream Sunscreen is twice the price of the other mentioned sun products, but this product does a great job of protecting even the most sensitive skin while providing an SPF of 30.

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