The 2016 Journal of the American Academy of Dematology reports that only 37% of African Americans wear sunscreen. And Nigerian sisters-in-law Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa want to change that.
While on vacation in Key West, Florida, the women came across a problem: the sunscreen they were applying kept leaving a white, sticky, filmy residue on their darker complexions. When they got home, they noticed there was a lack of sunscreen specifically designed for darker skin available, so they decided to take matters into their own hands.
Not only did the sisters want to create a useful product for other people of color, they also wanted to get the word out about the increasing dangers of skin cancer in the black community. Chidozie explains their reasonings for creating the business to NBC News:
“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. If you toast white and wheat bread, they both get burned. One just takes a longer time to show results.”
Thus, The Bolden Company was born.
Even though they offer more than just sunscreen in their skin care line, like Chidozie said, the Bolden Company’s major goal is to focus on their sunscreen and educate people in their community about the true dangers of the sun. Because, for example, according to Skincancer.org, those with dark skin are more likely to believe they’re not at risk for skin cancer.
What’s more is that this dangerous misconception can be deadly — the estimated survival rate for people of color with skin cancer is 69%, compared to a 93% survival rate for whites. And considering that skin cancer rates have more than tripled since 1975, Chidozie and Obidoa believe it is more important than ever to know the risks of the sun and to stay protected.
The reason for this discrepancy is simple: the side effects of deadly melanoma take longer to show up on dark skin than lighter skin, so it can be hard to spot. The cancer is then not diagnosed until it is almost too late for treatment. Not to mention, people of color are more susceptible to developing skin cancer in non-sun-exposed parts of the body, such as underneath the nails, their palms, or the bottom of their feet.
The Bolden Company’s sunscreen is part of their Shea oil line and is based with SPF 30 and Vitamin C. It will dry clear, and since the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, water resistance, and an SPF of 30 or higher, the sisters believe this will be the perfect product to not only protect but boost confidence during the hot summer months.
“We want to be apart of the solution to have a more inclusive beauty standard, where brown girls and women feel bold and beautiful,” says Chidozie.
The Bolden Company’s products are only sold online for now, but there are plans to bring the line to brick and mortar stores come early 2018.