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.

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).


Brad H.
Brad H3 years ago


Reethi R.
Reethi R.6 years ago

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!

Heidi H.
Past Member 6 years ago

Good advice. Thank you.

Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Angela N.
Angela N7 years ago


Kelly Rogers7 years ago

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

iii q.
g d c7 years ago

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

Danielle W.
Danielle W7 years ago

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?

Danielle W.
Danielle W7 years ago

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.

K s Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.