START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

How to Choose a Sunscreen

How to Choose a Sunscreen

Here is the first chart we have ever run across that tells us what SPF protection we need depending on our skin type. Now you can find out which sunscreen to use if you are a slightly dark African-American, or an African-American with darker skin, or how to prevent burning if you are fair with a moderate amount of freckling, as opposed to fair with a light tan.

We are all so different: prevent premature aging, wrinkling, and drying skin by finding out which SPF is best for you.

People burn at different rates, even within the same skin type, so you must decide if you are more or less sensitive to sun exposure and take appropriate measures.

To be on the safe side, always reduce by half the stated protection on any product (for instance, if a product says it has an SPF of 8, only count on its being a 4. If you need an 8, get a 16.)

This chart will give you the recommended SPF for your skin color.

Albino.Tan type: none. Red sunburn with pain, swelling and peeling. SPF 50.

White.Tan type: as above. Great risk of freckles. SPF 50.

Fair.Tan type: very light after minor pink or red burns. Some risk of freckles. SPF 30.

Fair.Tan type: light. Slight risk of freckles. SPF 30.

Slightly dark.Tan type: dark. SPF 30.

Slightly dark.Tan type: dark, with less risk of sunburn. SPF 15-20.

Dark.Tan type: very dark. SPF 8-15

Black.Tan type: black. SPF 8.

Read more: Beauty, Skin Care

Adapted from “Anti-Wrinkle Treatments for Perfect Skin” by Pierre Jean Cousin (Storey Books, 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Pierre Jean Cousin. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from “Anti-Wrinkle Treatments for Perfect Skin” by Pierre Jean Cousin (Storey Books, 2001).

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

Go to the Source

Anti-Wrinkle Treatments for Perfect Skin

48 recipes for masks, cleansers, toners and lotions using fruit, herbs, and other nourishing now


+ add your own
7:30AM PDT on Jul 14, 2015


4:46AM PST on Nov 30, 2012

The sun does not discriminate, it does not see if you are a fairer tone or of a darker tone. Diseases like skin cancer, sunburn and other sun or heat related conditions can be caught by anyone exposed to too much sun. It becomes more important for darker skin toned people to wear sunscreen for protection against the sun as darker tones have a higher risk of developing Melanoma. So it is advised to be always protected against harmful UVA/UVB rays, no matter your skin tone .I’ve used ExtraShade sunscreen and love it’s lightweight, moisturizing and doesn’t leave white streaks on my skin! I LOVE IT!

5:33AM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

Good advice. Thank you.

8:13AM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

2:46PM PDT on May 31, 2012


11:46PM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thanx, so much for the info. I have been buying the correct S.P.F. all along. Thanx

8:18AM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

how are you supposed to get your dose of vitamin D?

2:17PM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

forgot to add: burning is the indication that you are getting skin damage that leads to dna damage/skin cancer, etc. So if you still insist on buying silly American sunblock, maybe you'll slather on a high spf-uvb protection. Maybe you won't burn, and you'll think you did a great job and protected yourself. But all you did was merely avoid your body's way of telling you that you are damaging yourself. Get it?

2:14PM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

this is very typical of American style sunblock information. Americans are completely unaware that SPF alone is not a good indicator of a good sunblock. SPF tells you how you will be protected against UVB rays. B for burn. However, burning is not the real problem, and not what causes cancer. UVA rays cause cancer, aging, spots and damage to your DNA. SPF has NOTHING to do with UVA RAYS!!! So how do you know if you're protected against UVA rays? If you're buying American sunblock with only an SPF, you don't know, and are pretty much 100% unprotected. I believe Banana boat may be the only US product that now makes some mention of how much UVA protection it offers. There is also the phrase "broad spectrum" which is supposed to give you a hint as to it's UVA protection...but "broad spectrum" is about as specific as "kind of a good idea." The organic/health food store brand "Badger" is the only sunblock I've seen in the US that actually offers measurable UVA protection. Lets be serious though: like GMOs, sunblock is another example that in the US, it's all about money, not people's health, and you're better off buying European.

5:20AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

Thanks for the article.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

The whole low-carb fad is a way of deceiving meat eaters into thinking that their diet is healthy.

Thank you! I'm always ready to try some new veggie recipes.

Good tips. Criticism would be so much easier if people dishing it out would use more tact, grace an…

I like the Marie Curie costume especially, but think my nieces have their heart set on being Ninjas …


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!