Skin Care: Sunblock, Sunscreen, Vitamin D and Cancer

I’ve been negligent this year. Well, I’ve always been negligent with regards to a certain type of skin care. I’ll slather on Shea or Cocoa Butter, but nothing with sunblock, or sunscreen.

Bad girl!

I keep reading that I should. Yet, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking: “I’m brown skinned, what do I need that for?”

Well, it turns out that black people get melanoma too! Color me surprised. I’ve known it for some time, but I always think of myself as special in this regard.

I don’t sunburn; I don’t flake.

Every morning, I walk around for up to an hour. Overall, I get a little darker each time. My arms and, more often than not, legs are always covered. I wear a baseball cap and UV shades, even when it’s blisteringly hot.

(Image copied from:

I’m conflicted too. Between reading that blacks in Northern areas of the world don’t get enough Vitamin D because of insufficient sunlight, what the hell am I to think? And this lack of Vitamin D makes some of us vulnerable to breast cancer.

So, if we get too much sun we get skin cancer. If we get too little sun we get breast cancer.

I’ll continue to take my walks without the skin protection.


Hair Confession: Nappy Head Check vs Relaxed

I do not believe that black women who do not relax / perm their hair are more politically or socially aware, or even nicer / friendlier than those who do. Nope.

People are complex, complicated beings. A hair style doesn’t tell me anything about them.

I think a number of people do make interesting assumptions. Think of the evening news after a mass murder has been committed.

What do the people usually say? “But he was such a nice, normal guy.” My favorite is, “That doesn’t happen in this kind of neighborhood.” I always want to slap the person who utters that kind of nonsense. They are so caught up in their idea of specialness. Anything can happen in any neighborhood. Sheesh.

I do, however, make assumptions with regards to relaxed versus natural hair styles. My thoughts relate to health and normalcy.

I read my share of magazines, and the first thing I do is seek out pictures of black women. I’m always curious as to how the media is portraying us lately.

I’m moderately pleased to see that natural hair is quite popular. The hair styles range from nappy kinky coily curls in Afros to twist outs big or small. All of which I regard as normal.

Yeah, I said it, normal. My internal programming says that a black woman with a natural hair style is normal. Whenever I see relaxed hair, I regard it as abnormal. I’ll explain why.

A relaxed hair style makes me think: Wow, I hope she’s okay.

I know that may be out of the norm thinking. In fact, a hair study shows that relaxers don’t make black women sick. In an age where coffee is good for you one day and bad the next, I’ll take that report with a truckload of salt.

This report comes about because researchers have found that a particularly aggressive breast cancer targets black women more than white women.

I’m not making any assertions that relaxers cause breast cancer in black women.

I automatically think there is a connection: I can’t help myself.

To recap my hair fixation, if I see a natural hair style I think: she looks normal. If I see a relaxed hair style, in the back of my mind, I’m hoping that the woman lives a long and productive life.