The Best Types of Sunscreen for Different Skin Types

Three pairs of legs all with different skin types & colours

Are you confused about sunscreen? Don't worry, you're not the only one! A recent study found that only 35% of women and 21% of men use sunscreen regularly, suggesting that people don't really know what they're doing when it comes to sun protection.

Sun-lovers often complain that sunscreen is too greasy or leaves a white cast on their skin. But these problems only happen if they use the wrong sunscreen for their skin. Yes, there are different types of sunscreen for different skin types!

We're about to break down exactly which type of sunscreen best suits your skin and complexion in this no-nonsense guide!

Sunscreen for Different Skin Types

When you're picking out a cream or face wash, you probably focus on how it affects the skin. The same decision-making process goes into choosing a sunscreen. If you're able to match your sunscreen to your skin, it should feel weightless and comfortable to wear.

Dry Skin

Dry skin always needs a little extra love, especially when spending time in the sun. The sun can actually dry your skin out and reduce its level of essential fatty acids. To avoid dull, rough skin after a day in the sun, look for a nourishing sunscreen.

Sunscreen for dry skin should contain essential oils and hydrating ingredients. But what about mixing sunscreen with moisturiser to boost the hydration effect? That's actually a big no-no.

When you mix your sunscreen with any other product, you dilute the SPF. If your skin needs both products, layer them instead. Chemical sunscreens should always be applied before moisturiser, while mineral sunscreens go on after.

Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

Oily skin plus greasy sunscreen equals a big mess. To solve the problem, people with oily skin often choose super-low SPF sunscreens or skip it altogether! Instead of exposing your skin to harmful rays, go for a lightweight, non-comedogenic formula.

A great choice of sunscreen for oily skin would be a mineral-based formula. Minerals like zinc oxide protect your skin from the sun, but they also do double-duty as skincare! Research suggests that zinc is a great choice for oily or acne-prone skin because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Combination Skin

Sunscreen for combination skin is much easier to find. Your skin doesn't really need any special attention (lucky you)! It can handle grease, and it rarely dries out.

But that doesn't mean any old sunscreen will do! You should still opt for natural ingredients and a lightweight, non-greasy formula. It'll feel more comfortable on your skin, motivating you to re-apply more often!

We recommend a nourishing sunscreen formula to keep things hydrated. If you're planning on being active or spending a lot of time in the water, our 50+ SPF zinc stick is an excellent option! It's waterproof, long-lasting, and perfect for combination skin.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is highly reactive to fragrances and harsh chemicals. When choosing a product you'll be wearing every day, like sunscreen, it's vital to find a sensitive formula. People4Oceans' SPF 50 Vegan Sunscreen is a great choice!

It's ideal for the most fragile skin, including delicate baby skin. It's a well-formulated, mineral-based product infused with coconut oil to hydrate and protect. And there's not a drop of synthetic fragrance to be found!

A pale, blue eyed woman's face next to a black, brown eyed woman's face

Best Types of Sunscreen for Each Complexion

Some complexions are more affected by UV rays than others. Others struggle to find a formula that doesn't wash out their skin tone. Choosing the right sunscreen for your complexion will not only keep you safe, but it'll also increase the chances of you wearing it every day!


People with fair or pale skin are much more at risk for developing skin cancer. That's why the best sunscreen formula for fair skin is 50+ SPF. Sunscreen should be re-applied every two hours, especially when spending the day outdoors.

But even if you're sitting at the office all day, a morning sunscreen application is a must. People with fair skin tend to be more sensitive to chemicals, so clean products are the best choice. Look for a sunscreen that doesn't contain harsh chemicals, alcohols, or fragrances.


People with olive skin tones are often considered the lucky few that can tan without burning. After all, if there's no redness, there's no damage, right? Actually, any change in skin tone is a sign of sun damage.

Even those who tend to skip the lobster-red stage and head straight into a golden tan still need to wear sunscreen! A formula with at least a 30 SPF level of protection is a must, but 50+ is better for long days in the sun.


Darker skin tones are usually left out of the sunscreen conversation. Most products tend to leave a white cast on the skin, making it look ashy and uneven. But having darker skin doesn't mean you should be avoiding sun protection!

The trick is to find a formula that contains the right protection while blending seamlessly into the skin. Easier said than done, right? That's exactly why we worked hard to develop a sunscreen that suits all skin tones.

Mineral formulas are usually the last option for people with dark skin tones. They're often zinc-based, leading to that unflattering white cast. But we've solved the problem with our 30 SPF Nourishing Sunscreen - it's infused with carrot seed oil and carotene, so there's no white cast, but still complete protection!

I Got Sunburned: Now What?

Even with careful application and religious re-application, it sometimes happens. You come home from a day at the beach with blistering, peeling red skin. The first thing you need to do is get your hands on our Recovery Gel.

This cooling gel, infused with the powers of aloe and green tea, is the ideal after-sun product. It's suitable for all skin types and complexions, even the most sensitive baby skin. The gel soothes, restores, and hydrates sunburned skin to leave you feeling good as new.

A Sunscreen for All Skin Types

Regardless of your skin type or tone, you should be applying sunscreen every single day! Whether you're on the beach or lounging at home, sunscreen is the number one way to protect your skin from sun damage. People4Ocean is on a mission to provide the best sun products for everyone.

Our formulas are perfect for different skin types and complexions. Shop our line of reef-safe, cruelty-free products here. And don't forget to apply your sunscreen today!

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