You’ve seen it in your family. You’ve seen it in celebrities like Pharrell Williams, Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba. You’ve seen it in that one photo on Twitter of the mother with her two daughters all looking the same age.
It’s quite evident that there is some truth to the quotable “Black Don’t Crack” adage. How about we take a scientific look at this? What’s the science behind us Black folks doing so well in the aging department? How can we do better?
The truth is we are melanin kings and queens. Melanin, for those not in the know, is a naturally occurring pigment in the skin that acts like sunscreen.
Damage to the skin caused by the harmful rays of the sun is the main reason why signs of aging occur. The kind of melanin found in Black folks is called eumelanin; the more we have of it, the more UV protection we get.
Because of melanin, our bodies naturally get UV protection that is approximately equivalent to 13% SPF. This kind of protection from sun damage also extends to the eyes, since melanin is also responsible for eye color. If you have black or brown eyes, you get better eye protection from the sun’s rays than those with blue, green or hazel eyes.
Another scientific reason for our amazing and flawless skin is collagen. You must have heard of collagen as that thing that rich women get injected into their face to get rid of wrinkles. Well, we have plenty of it in our skins already. It is the most abundant protein in the human body and gives the skin its strength and elasticity. So, what’s so special about collagen in Black skin? Well, our skin’s collagen is the type that’s better at preventing sun damage. The sun protection made possible by the collagen and melanin in our skin not only prevents aging but also skin cancer. We’re truly blessed, fam!
Sanaa Lathan is 46.
“So, you’re saying we need no sunscreen?” No, that’s not what we’re saying. You definitely need to wear a good sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 when going outside. When you have a gift, you need to protect it.
Pharrell Williams, the uber-cool music producer, artist and man-who-will-never-age, attributes his amazing skin to a rigorous skin care routine. He describes exfoliating his skin “like a narcissistic madman.” He uses dermatologist-approved products (on advice of supermodel Naomi Campbell).
Pharrell is 45.
Here’s another piece of advice “drink more water” (that doubles as an I Love Makonnen reference). Your skin is a living, breathing organ (in fact, it’s the largest organ of the human body). Keep it hydrated and moisturized so it stays fresh and lively. Follow these simple skin care tips and stun the world with your natural beauty. We’re confident that you inner supermodel will jump out.
PHOTOS: AP, Getty, Twitter, PR Photos
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