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No matter your age, skin type, or skin color, you’ll always need sun protection. But when it comes to sunscreen for dark skin, is a particular type of sunscreen better than another? What should you look for when choosing your sunscreen?

In this guide from Babo Botanicals, we’ll cover everything you need to know about selecting the right sunscreen for dark skin. From what to look for and what to avoid to the best tips for optimum sunscreen application, we discuss it all below.

Let’s dive in by first learning about why sunscreen is important for every skin type.

Why Sunscreen Is Important For All Skin Types

Despite a common misconception that darker skin tones can’t get sunburned, the reality is that anyone can experience sun damage, ranging from sunburn and signs of aging to potentially deadly skin cancer.

While the melanin in dark skin tones does help protect the skin from burning in comparison to fair skin tones, unfortunately, those with darker skin aren’t completely exempt from the harsh damage UV rays can cause.

This means everyone, regardless of skin color, should use sun protection every day (yes, all year round — even in the winter!).

Sunscreen is just one of the ways you can choose to protect your skin from sun damage. Even if you’re an expert at staying out of the sun at peak times and wearing a hat to protect your head and face, sunscreen is still a crucial part of sun protection.

So how do you choose the best sunscreen for dark skin? Let’s take a look.

How To Choose The Best Sunscreen For Dark Skin

Look For Safe Ingredients

Although it might seem as easy as just picking a sunscreen option off the shelf and knowing all the ingredients are safe for your skin, that’s not always the case.

In fact, many sunscreens use ingredients that are harmful not only to your skin but to our environment as well.

How do you know if the sunscreen you’re considering has safe ingredients? The easiest way to be sure is by choosing a mineral (or physical) sunscreen as opposed to a chemical sunscreen.

When shopping for sunscreen, you want to take into consideration the differences between mineral vs. chemical sunscreen so that you can choose the safest option for you and your family.

Chemical sunscreen is packed with active ingredients that can be harmful, particularly to sensitive skin. This type of sunscreen works by absorbing directly into your skin.

Mineral sunscreen, on the other hand, features natural ingredients and sits on top of your skin to create a protective barrier against the sun’s rays. Its only active ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both of which are safe for the environment and for sensitive skin.

When it comes to sunscreen ingredients to avoid, keep an eye out for avobenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone. If you notice one of these chemicals listed in the ingredients list, it’s best to keep looking!

All Babo Botanicals sunscreen products are mineral sunscreens free from nasty ingredients. From our Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen for the little ones to our Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for the whole family, you’ll find only natural ingredients.

Better yet, all of our sunscreen products are fragrance-free, dermatologist tested, and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. What more could you ask for!

Opt For Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

You’ve likely heard the term “broad-spectrum” before, but what does it actually mean?

Broad-spectrum sunscreen is sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. While UVA rays are the ones that cause premature aging, UVB rays are generally the culprits of sunburn, so it’s crucial to be protected against both types.

It’s also important to note that UVA rays can penetrate glass. So without a sunscreen that protects you from UVA rays, you won’t be safe from the sun even indoors! This includes driving in the car.

Choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen for dark skin — like all Babo Botanicals sunscreen products — means you’re protecting yourself and your family in the best possible way.

Check The SPF

Sun protection factor (or SPF) is the number on sunscreen products that indicates how effective your sunscreen is at protecting against sun damage.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends using sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to ensure optimal protection from the sun.

Remember, sunscreens with a high SPF last as long on your skin as sunscreens with a low SPF, so reapplying frequently is the best way to ensure your sun protection product is really doing its job (more on that later!).

To make finding the perfect sunscreen even easier, all Babo Botanicals sunscreen options are SPF 30 to SPF 50. This means no matter which one of our sunscreen products you choose, you’ll be fully protected.

For a quick and easy application, try our Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray Sunscreen. Featuring SPF 30 and naturally derived ingredients including calendula and jojoba oils to keep your skin soft as well as protected, it’s easy to see why this is one of our best sellers!

Our Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 is another great option for sunscreen for dark skin. Safe for the whole family and our oceans, this Zinc Sunscreen is dermatologist tested and perfect for even the most sensitive skin.

Tips For Applying Sunscreen For Dark Skin

1. Apply Liberally And Often

When you first apply your sunscreen, make sure to cover your whole body, including hard-to-reach areas like your back, neck, and behind your ears.

Areas often missed in sunscreen application include the backs of the hands and feet, so be sure to lather up there, too!

Even the best sunscreen will wear off over time, so it’s important to reapply often. We recommend touching up your sunscreen every two hours. If you’ve been sweating or swimming, bump this up to every 80 minutes.

2. Combine Sunscreen With Other Sun Protection Methods

Sunscreen is a fantastic method of sun protection, but there are other things you can do to offer yourself and your family even greater protection against the sun’s rays.

Try wearing long sleeves when possible, adding a wide-brimmed hat to your and your kids’ outfits, and choosing to sit in a shaded area in addition to applying sunscreen.

This will ensure you’ve covered all your bases when it comes to sun protection!

3. Avoid Peak Sun Hours

Your sunscreen can only do so much to protect your skin. Make its job a little easier by avoiding the sun during peak hours when the sun’s UV rays are their most intense.

By avoiding the sun when it’s the strongest (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m), you’ll be getting enough Vitamin D without putting yourself at risk for extra sun damage.

The sun is much less intense outside of this timeframe, so try to enjoy your outdoor activities before and after these hours.

After-Sun Care Tips

While darker skin tones are less likely to experience sunburn, unfortunately, it still happens! Whether you’re visibly burned or just feeling a little warm to the touch, our after-sun care tips can help you get back to feeling your best.

Start by increasing your water intake and having a cool bath or shower to take some of the heat and sting out of your skin. Then reach for a cooling product that contains aloe vera to help soothe and hydrate your skin.

Our After Sun Soothing Hydrating Aloe Gel forms a protective barrier on your skin to cool while it protects. For hydration and soothing properties without the sticky residue, our After Sun Aloe Gel will be your new go-to for after-sun skin care!

FAQs: Sunscreen For Dark Skin

Here are some helpful FAQs about sunscreen for dark skin so that you can choose an effective and safe sunscreen.

Does Dark Skin Need Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is important for every skin type. Anyone can experience sun damage, even darker skin tones that you might think are less susceptible to UV rays. Sunburn and sun damage can happen to anyone, regardless of their skin color. While the melanin in darker skin tones does help to protect the skin from burning compared to lighter skin tones, sunscreen for dark skin is still important.

And that doesn’t just mean sunscreen should only be worn at the beach. Sunscreen should be worn all year long, rain or shine. Even when it’s snowing out! In addition to wearing sunscreen every day, it’s also important to take other sun protection measures to protect your skin more, like staying in the shade and covering your skin with a hat and long sleeves.

Is SPF 30 Good For Brown Skin?

A good sunscreen for dark skin will have an SPF of at least 30 or higher to guarantee optimal sun protection. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sunscreen with SPF 30 allows about 3 percent of UVB rays to hit your skin and blocks 97% of the sun’s rays. But you can’t just put on sunscreen once and then assume you’ll be good for the day. You need to reapply your sunscreen every two hours, and even more often if you’re swimming or sweating. 

People with darker skin tones need to use sunscreen just as often as people with lighter skin tones. The melanin in darker skin tones might provide a little bit more protection, but not enough to consider yourself fully protected from the sun. So, sunscreen for darker skin is an absolute necessity.

What Type Of Sunscreen Is Best For Dark Skin?

The best sunscreen for dark skin is a mineral sunscreen that is made with ingredients of natural origin like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. A zinc sunscreen for dark skin is ideal and the ingredients in it won’t irritate your skin. 

It’s important to choose a safe sunscreen that doesn’t have any impact on your health or the environment, which is why mineral sunscreen is the best option. Mineral sunscreen sits on top of your skin and blocks UV rays, rather than absorbing into your skin like chemical sunscreen does. The best sunscreen for black skin will also be lightweight and non-greasy, so it’s easy to blend in and won’t leave a white cast on your skin.

But overall, when shopping for sunscreen, it’s important to choose a mineral sunscreen for dark skin that’s made with ingredients of natural origin and has an SPF of at least 30. This ensures that you’ll get good sun protection and the sunscreen won’t irritate your skin. For more information about what sunscreen ingredients to use and what ingredients to avoid, you can check out the EWG sunscreen guide.

Protect Your Beautiful Skin With Babo Botanicals

Finding the best sunscreen for dark skin used to be a difficult task. But by following the tips in this article, you can choose the right sunscreen option for you and your family without all the extra guesswork.

For best results, opt for a mineral sunscreen that’s made from natural ingredients. Make sure your sunscreen is broad-spectrum and has a minimum of SPF 30 to ensure you’re fully protected.

Whether you choose a lotion sunscreen, like our Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, or a spray-on option, like our Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray Sunscreen, you can rest assured your family will be safe during your time outdoors!