It’s long been a myth that those with darker skin tones do not need to wear sunscreen, but melanoma does not discriminate. As a superstar tennis play who spends her career outdoors in the summer, Naomi Osaka is launching her own line of SPF skincare.
Tennis players tend to spend a lot of time outdoors, mostly in the summer which is when most tennis tournaments take place. Naomi Osaka, reigning champion of the Australian Open, believed for most of her life that she didn’t need sunscreen because of the misconceptions of sun protection and darker skin tones.
“People with skin types that are less likely to burn can still receive enough UV exposure to risk developing skin cancer,” says the Cancer Council. “Care still needs to be taken in the sun.”
Now, Osaka knows better and is even starting her own SPF-focused skincare line specifically designed for people of colour.
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In an interview with Business of Fashion (BoF), Osaka said the brand, named Kinló, a nod to her Japanese and Haitian roots–‘kin’ means ‘gold’ in Japanese, ‘ló’ means ‘gold’ in Haitian Creole–will drop during the southern hemisphere autumn.
It’ll debut with a range of five products including an SPF40+ tinted moisturiser and 50+ sunscreen for outdoor activities (though if released in Australia, the SPF rating may change given our nation’s rigorous testing of sunscreen).
“What drew me toward this project is having memories of being a kid and not knowing how to protect my skin… I only started wearing sunscreen recently,” she said, while revealing she will be stepping into the role of CEO of the brand.
“This is a public-health need. I used to tell people that I didn’t need to wear sunscreen — but even if you have melanin, you need to take care of your skin, and I am passionate about that,” she said.
She follows in the footsteps of another tennis legend, Venus Williams, who also started her own SPF-focused skincare line, a brand called EleVen, for under-served, darker-skinned customers.
“I wasted the first 35 years of my years in full sun exposure, you know, six or seven days a week. And I regret that,” Williams told The Cut.
“Hopefully people will read these words and realise it doesn’t matter what your skin tone is, you have to protect your skin. I got wise, and it took too long.”