How To Choose Sunscreen For Indian Skin?

Sunscreen is a critical part of any skincare routine, especially in a country like India, where the sun is fierce and exposure can be intense.

Indian skin, which ranges from fair to deep brown, has unique needs and considerations when it comes to choosing the right sunscreen. Welcome to Afterthought.

This guide aims to help you navigate the options and select the best sunscreen for your skin type and lifestyle.

Understanding SPF and PA Ratings

The two primary factors to consider when choosing sunscreen are the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and the Protection Grade of UVA (PA).

  • SPF measures protection against UVB rays, which cause sunburn and contribute to skin cancer. For Indian skin, an SPF of 30 to 50 is generally recommended for daily use. Higher SPF levels can be considered for prolonged outdoor activities.
  • PA rating indicates the level of protection against UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin, leading to aging and long-term skin damage. Look for sunscreens with PA++ or higher for adequate UVA protection.

Broad-Spectrum Protection

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. This ensures comprehensive coverage against the harmful effects of the sun.

Types of Sunscreens

Sunscreens come in various formulations, each with its benefits:

Chemical Sunscreens

These contain organic (carbon-based) compounds that absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat. They tend to be lightweight and less likely to leave a white cast, making them suitable for darker skin tones. However, some chemical sunscreens can cause irritation, so it's important to choose a product suited to your skin type.

Physical (Mineral) Sunscreens

Containing ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, physical sunscreens sit on the skin's surface and reflect UV rays. They are often recommended for sensitive skin as they are less likely to cause irritation. The downside is they can leave a white residue, which may not be aesthetically pleasing on darker skin tones.

Hybrid Sunscreens

These combine both chemical and physical UV filters, offering the benefits of both types. They provide effective protection and are often formulated to minimize the white cast while being gentle on the skin.

Skin Type Considerations

  • Oily Skin: Choose a non-comedogenic sunscreen that won’t clog pores. Gel-based or water-based sunscreens are often ideal as they provide a matte finish and reduce excess shine.
  • Dry Skin: Look for sunscreens with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or natural oils. Cream-based formulations can provide the necessary hydration along with sun protection.
  • Sensitive Skin: Opt for physical sunscreens with soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or calendula. Avoid products with fragrances, parabens, or alcohol which can cause irritation.

Application Tips

  • Quantity: Apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin. A general rule is to use a nickel-sized amount for the face and a shot-glass amount for the body.
  • Timing: Apply sunscreen at least 15-30 minutes before sun exposure to allow it to fully absorb into the skin. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if sweating or swimming.
  • Layering: Sunscreen should be the last step in your skincare routine before makeup. If you use other skincare products, such as serums or moisturizers, let them absorb fully before applying sunscreen.
  • Special Areas: Don’t forget areas like the ears, neck, and the back of the hands, which are often exposed to the sun.

Additional Tips

  • Patch Test: Always perform a patch test when trying a new sunscreen to check for any adverse reactions.
  • Lifestyle Considerations: Choose a water-resistant sunscreen if you’ll be swimming or sweating.
  • Environmental Impact: Consider sunscreens that are reef-safe and environmentally friendly to minimize your impact on marine ecosystems.

Check Now : Sunscreen SPF Calculator


Selecting the right SPF and sunscreen for Indian skin involves understanding your skin type, the level of sun exposure, and the specific needs of your skin.

By choosing the appropriate SPF and PA ratings, and the right formulation, you can protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun while maintaining its health and appearance.

Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you will use consistently, so find a product that feels comfortable on your skin and fits into your daily routine.

Also Read: What Is Hybrid Sunscreen?

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