Gabrielle Union Shares Sun Safety Tips & Beauty Advice

2013 BET Awards - Ford Red Carpet

Gabrielle Union stars in our favorite new series, Being Mary Jane.

In addition to her illustrious acting career, Gabrielle Union is also a brand ambassador for Neutrogena.

As brand ambassador, Ms. Union has offered some skin care advice for those of us who don’t exactly take the necessary precautions when out in the sun.

Check out what she had to say below!

As a black woman did you always know the importance of wearing sunscreen?

Whether it’s your friends or people in your own family, it is crazy to me how many people honestly believe that because you have a darker complexion, whether you are African-American or Hispanic or just have a more olive-complexion, you don’t have to wear sunscreen. Everyone, regardless of skin color, can get cancer.

It’s not even just about slapping it on once and calling it a day, regardless of your skin tone you also have to reapply. Someone described it to me once as that one application need to be enough to fill a shot glass and that visual stuck with me and was easy to remember. You have to put on enough, roughly every two hours, or it doesn’t do you any good.

Is it hard convincing your black friends and family members to use sunscreen?

I have been so outspoken about sun protection over the years because I saw people in my own family or even my friends who honestly had the perception that they didn’t need to use sunscreen. It’s a really sad reality since they are not alone in believing that, which is why the overall 5-year melanoma survival rate for African Americans is lower than for Caucasians — 77 percent versus 91 percent. When skin cancer is so highly preventable by just getting into the habit of actually putting on sunscreen — ideally year round and being responsible — it is hard not to speak up about it. I also always use SPF 30 or above because we are all guilty of not applying enough sometimes and you need a certain level of SPF to be protected.

How are you and Neutrogena teaming up to support the message of sun safety?

This Summer, Neutrogena has an amazing program called “Buy One, Donate One.” When you buy SPF you are not just helping yourself stay protected but you’re helping disadvantaged families, too. For any sun product purchased through July, the Brand will donate one to a family in need. Right now for the beach or pool, I love the Neutrogena Beach Defense spray. If this doesn’t incentivize people to get out there and buy sunscreen then I don’t know what will.

Can you pass on some beauty wisdom to the younger generation who may still need convincing that protecting their skin in not optional?

If you can’t remember to protect your skin for health reasons, do it for vanity as the sun can be really aging and I don’t know any women or young girls who want that later on in life. I also get check-ups when I see my dermatologist for routine check-ups and personally keep an eye on my skin for any changing marks or moles which could indicate a potential problem. By visiting, you can find free cancer screenings in your area, so there are no excuses.

You can read the rest of Gabrielle’s tips and find out her must-have beauty products by clicking here. Be sure to catch Being Mary Jane Tuesdays at 10:30 on BET.

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