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Yes, Black Girls Tan Too: Misconceptions Surrounding Black Women and Tanning

For years now, white girls have been scrutinized for getting terrible tans that make them look orange, tacky and old. Black girls, on the other hand, with their naturally dark, beautiful and buttery skin have never had this problem. When black girls tan, the melanin in their skin is enhanced giving them that beautiful glow behind black girl magic.

Unfortunately, black girls that are open about tanning tend to get criticized and questioned. In fact, “you’re black, why do you tan?” is a question that I’ve gotten asked so many times, I’ve grown extremely tired of repeating myself over and over again. For this reason, I figured I’d just answer the question once and for all.

With just a quick search of “black girl tan” on Twitter, it’s clear to see how ignorant people of all races, including black, are towards black women who tan.

Based off these tweets, it seems the world just expects black girls to go into hiding and douse themselves in sunscreen, which is actually toxic, during the summer. However, the matter of the fact is that safely tanning may actually be very beneficial for a black girl’s skin. To elaborate, tanning has many benefits that include evening out your skin, covering up blemishes, ridding strawberry legs, eliminating unflattering skin marks and as I previously mentioned, enhancing your glow.

The great thing about tanning is that it doesn’t have to be done in harmful tanning beds or in the dangerous UV rays of the sun because spray tanning and self-tanning lotions exist. The results may not last as long as the aforementioned but they are excellent options for those days where you want to change up your look.

According to the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and over 80,000 cases are diagnosed in Canada each year. These are some scary facts and regardless of your race, sex, gender, or age, skin cancer can target anyone and if it goes unnoticed, the results can be fatal. Fortunately for black women, our melanin does an amazing job of protecting our skin from the unsafe dangers of the sun as studies have shown that there have been less cases of skin cancer diagnosed in those who are racially ambiguous than white people. Furthermore, according to the US National Library of Medical,

It has been traditionally believed that skin pigmentation is the most important photo protective factor, since melanin, besides functioning as a broadband UV absorbent, has antioxidant and radical scavenging properties. 

So not only does melanin, which gives us our darker pigment, make us more beautiful, it’s also extremely beneficial from a health perspective. To further explain, it almost serves as a blanket that heightens our ability to withstand the powerful ultraviolet rays of the sun. This is why if black girls want to tan, they should be able to because not only can it benefit their skin and boost their self confidence, but it can be done safely and effectively. As long as you’re cautious and educated about it, tanning can be a fun activity you do with your friends or something you do to relax, but it’s also something that shouldn’t be off limits for black girls.

White skin is more likely to burn, blister and boil yet black girls get hate for wanting to embrace and enhance their dark skin? I mean, you know what they say, the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice!

If you’re interested in learning more, YouTubers Osh and Akela made an excellent and entertaining video that thoroughly explains the benefits of tanning for black women:

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Fatima Alvarenga
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Fatima is an undergraduate student in Ottawa, Canada. Currently enrolled in communications and media studies, she aims to work for a major media company upon graduating. She adores KimYe and considers herself a stan! Find her on Twitter: @sealnationn

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