@badcay/Twitter

Melanin is magical. 

Nikki Brown
Jan, 06, 2017

The "black don't crack" theory is a tale as old as time and with the emergence of social media, discussions surrounding it continue to grow. 

Take this picture of Cayla Beach with her sister Cheyanne Rector and mother, Nikkia Griffith. Earlier this week, the teenager (right) found herself in the center of a viral debate as Twitter followers tried to guess who was older than who. 

The responses were an unsurprising mix of shock, disbelief and questions. 

"People usually assume my mom is in her mid to late twenties," Beach told ESSENCE. "When we are in public, people always assume we are sisters and are shocked when we say that is our mother!"

Beach, who is actually 14 years old, tells me her sister (in the black puffer coat) is 18 while her mother (in plaid) is 38. It's hardly shocking that the tightknit family would have to constantly correct people on their age, but it does raise a question that still seems unanswered: is Black skin slower to age? 

The answer is...kind of. Although melanin (i.e. pigment) doesn't completely prevent aging, it does slow down the process because it's more resistant to UV sun rays. In other words; we have a very small amount of SPF already built into our bodies.

The downside is that some of us completely negate wearing sunscreen because we don't think additional protection is needed. Wrong; Black women are magic, but that doesn't mean we can bypass skin cancer and other sun-related diseases. 

Beach, who also credits good lighting and a little filtering to her viral moment, agrees that the "Black don't crack" theory isn't so much about less outer appearance. 

"I think of your inner soul, your heart, your mind and level of intelligence," she adds. "My mom has taught my sister and I that a pretty heart is better than a pretty face. Laughter is key! We do a lot of that together."

Of course, the three beauties also swear by more tangible methods (regular dental cleanings, exercise, moisturizing), but the moral of the story is this: drink water, mind your business, avoid stress and exude positive energy.