Two Nigerian entrepreneurs are launching a range of sun protection creams specifically targeted at black people. Sisters Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa have created a community-driven beauty line, called Bolden, which makes products from Shea nuts produced from Burkina Faso. The beauty line provides options for common problems black people face when it comes to skin care and beauty products. Bolden centers women of color and their unique, overlooked skincare needs, such as hyper-pigmentation created by unprotected sun exposure.

“A lot of black people don’t wear sunblock because they don’t see the damage immediately. There’s an issue with education around sunscreen in the black community,“ Chinelo told OkayAfrica. Adding “Even though skin cancer doesn’t affect people of color as much as it affects people with white skin, that makes it more dangerous because it’s often not caught until it’s in an advanced stage.”

Chinelo also told Newsday’s Alan Kasujja about the moment she saw a gap in the market: “I was on vacation and I saw it was sunny and I wanted to get sunscreen and I went to the store and the options I had did not work on my skin, it left a white paste and it was unwearable”.

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“As a brand built by black women, we exist to embolden women like us to confidently embrace our beauty by making products that work well for women of color” – Bolden.

Common misconceptions

Some skin care myths surrounding black and brown skin that are easy to believe because of the unique skin properties we have include:

1. Black people don’t need sunscreen- As much as melanin has the potential to prevent sunburns, melanin does not protect you from harmful UV damage which can be harmful and not visible right away, so UV protection is recommended for all skin types.

2. Black People are not susceptible to skin cancer- if you don’t protect your skin from UV rays you are in danger of getting skin-related diseases- including skin cancer , regardless of your skin tone.

3. Anti-aging is optional for dark skin- Black skin may be slower to show signs of aging but it is just as prone to wrinkles, dark spots, uneven tone, etc.

Bolden moisturizer. Photo: Bolden/Facebook

In addition to these misconceptions about skin damage and dark skin, another reason why black people tend to skip the sunscreen is the milky film coating that most brands leave on skin that’s not white. “[When buying beauty products] I always ask myself, ‘Is this a product that will leave a white cast on me?’ and then I realize, whoever made the sunblock probably didn’t have me in mind,” Chinelo voiced. “As consumers, we’re so used to trying products to see if they’ll work. In 2017, that’s not okay.”

Skin cancer and Black people

Although black people have a lower risk of getting skin cancer than white people, they have significantly higher death rates from skin cancer ― a 2016 study found that black people were most likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in its later stages, with the worst prognosis and the lowest overall survival rate.

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Chidozie pointed this very fact out to OkayAfrica saying, “There’s an issue with education around sunscreen in the black community. Even though skin cancer doesn’t affect people of color as much as it affects people with white skin, that makes it more dangerous because it’s often not caught until it’s in an advanced stage.”

Bolden skin care

The brand boasts a powerful mandate “to help shape a global conversation about inclusive standards of beauty – where black and brown girls and women everywhere feel empowered to celebrate the natural beauty of the skin they’re in.”

The Bolden range is chock-full of ingredients that naturally brighten dark spots, diminish lines and improve skin texture and tone. With regular use, discoloration from acne, sun damage and aging should be visibly reduced.

We all look forward to seeing the reviews and joining a healthier movement to black skin care made by and for black people.