How to choose sunscreen? Here is the table

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How to choose sunscreen? To avoid sunburn and have a perfect long-lasting tan, you need to choose the right sunscreen!

To correctly choose the ideal sunscreen for your skin type, you first need to know your phototype. Each phototype corresponds to the right solar factor , which is that number that you find indicated on each solar product (eg 10, 15, 20, 50). It sounds complicated but it's actually super simple!

Here is a useful guide and a simple table to learn about your skin and identify the right protection factor.


What is it about? The phototype is a classification used in dermatology , determined on the quality and quantity of melanin present in basal conditions in our skin. It indicates the reactions of the skin to exposure to ultraviolet radiation and the type of tan that can be obtained through it. In fact, the skin of each of us reacts to light in a different way.

There are 6 phototypes, find out which one you belong to:

PHOTOTYPE 1 : blond or red hair with very light skin;

PHOTOTYPE 2 : blond or brown hair with light skin;

PHOTOTYPE 3 : dark blond hair or people with sensitive skin;

PHOTOTYPE 4 : brown hair with moderately sensitive skin;

PHOTOTYPE 5 : black / dark brown hair and olive complexion;

PHOTOTYPE 6 : very dark / black hair and non-sensitive skin.

Knowing your phototype is the starting point for choosing the cream with the right sun protection factor that can preserve the health of our skin. Damage resulting from incorrect exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and lack of protection can be more serious than you might imagine: sunburn, sunburn, blisters on the skin, skin spots, skin aging, deep wrinkles and, in the worst case , skin cancer and melanomas.

How to choose sunscreen?  Here is the table


All sunscreen products indicate on the package  an  SPF number  which represents the sun protection factor  and defines the ability to defend the skin from actinic insult, in particular from UVB radiation . This number is commonly referred to as SPF , which corresponds to the English Solar Protection Factor.

Here are the different sun protection factors:

FACTOR 50+ very high protection;

FACTOR from 50 to 30 high protection;

FACTOR from 25 to 15 medium protection;

FACTOR 10 to 6 low protection.

It is important to choose sunscreens with protection filters for both UVA and UVB rays . In the past it was thought that UVA rays were harmless but today it is known that UVA rays are dangerous because they are responsible for skin aging and cell damage that predispose to skin cancer. UVB rays stop at the level of the epidermis and can cause immediate damage (such as sunburn and sunburn) while UVA rays also reach the dermis , the skin layer under the epidermis.


How to choose sunscreen? Just identify the phototype to which you belong and discover the sun protection factor that the cream suitable for our skin must have. The creams and sun products on the market today try to cover all types of phototypes. Looking at the table and the image below, which was provided to us by ABC Cosmetics, you can find out which skin type you belong to and which sunscreen is most suitable for you .

How to choose sunscreen?  Here is the table

PHOTOTYPE 1 - Very high protection SPF 50+

Very fair skin, light eyes, freckles, blond or red hair. Who is part of this phototype is extremely photosensitive, burns easily and almost never tans . It is very important to protect the skin both before and during exposure to the sun, using a SPF 50+ sunscreen.

PHOTOTYPE 2 - Very high to high SPF 50 / SPF 30 protection

Light and sensitive skin, which tans little and burns easily , light eyes and hair. In this case, it is advisable to start using a medium-high sunscreen at the change of season, especially on the face. In summer, however, it is better to opt for an SPF 50 at the first exposures in the sun, and then switch to an SPF 30.

PHOTOTYPE 3 - Medium protection SPF 25 / SPF 20

Medium complexion, sensitive skin, eyes and light brown hair. Those who fall into this phototype gradually tans without difficulty and rarely burns . A medium protection SPF 25 is recommended, to defend the skin from photo-aging, hydrating and protecting it.

PHOTOTYPE 4 - Medium protection SPF 20 / SPF 15 

Brown or brown hair, dark eyes and olive skin, which tans quickly and rarely burns . It is recommended to apply SPF 20 protection, gradually decreasing the protection factor as you expose yourself to the sun.

PHOTOTYPE 5 - Low SPF 10 protection

Olive complexion, black hair, dark eyes. In cases like this, SPF 10 sunscreen is enough to protect the skin from UV rays. Those who belong to this phototype almost never get burned and immediately darkens under the sun.

PHOTOTYPE 6 - Low protection SPF 10 / SPF 6

Dark skin, dark eyes and black hair. This phototype needs low protection, since it is almost impossible to get burned already having very dark skin. However, sunscreen serves to keep the skin hydrated and prevent skin cancers.


In general, it is advisable to use a higher sunscreen when you are exposed to the sun for the first time, even if you have olive skin. It is useful to choose a protection not only from UVB rays but also from UVA rays, capable of acting in depth on the skin.

Other factors to consider are:

time of day : from 12.00 to 3.00 it is not recommended to sunbathe, especially if you have light and sensitive skin (for children it is better to avoid sun exposure from 11.00 in the morning to 16.00 in the afternoon);

the location and  altitude : in the tropics and in the high mountains, greater protection is required, because the amount of UV radiation is related to the angle of elevation of the sun (i.e. the higher the sun is on the horizon and perpendicular to the earth, the stronger the sun's rays);

reflected radiation : water, sand, ice and snow have the ability to reflect radiation, like a mirror. Therefore, they multiply the effect of the sun's rays on the skin, which is affected by both direct and reflected radiation from the sun.

How to choose sunscreen?  Here is the table

Finally, be careful not to use expired sunscreens which would not be effective. Do solar products expire every year? Yes, if we have used them and then opened them. Always refer to the PAO (period after opening) indicated on the package. The symbol with an open jar of cream indicates the months within which to consume the cosmetic following the opening of the package. If, on the other hand, the product was purchased the previous year but has never been opened, it can be used.

We hope this guide on how to choose sunscreen will be useful for both summer and winter holidays .

Our must-see articles on sun protection:

Best sunscreens : the top products to tan without getting burned!

How to sunbathe? Rules and tips for getting a good tan.

How to protect tattoos from the sun? Here are the best tattoo sun creams!

Sunscreens for hair: the best on the market!

What sunscreen 100 is and to whom it is recommended.

All new solar products: the novelties released this year!


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