Sun types

Depending on the degree to which the skin reddens and tans as a reaction to UV light, sun types can be categorized as follows:

Type

Characteristics

When exposed to the sun

Period of
natural protection*

Sun protection required
(in medium latitudes)**

 

Young children

 

  • very fine skin
  • extremely sensitive

 

  • burns rapidly
  • slow, reduced tanning

 

  • 5-10 minutes

 

  • at least high protection
  • head and body should always be kept covered!

 

Type I / sensitive skin

 

 

  • very fair skin
  • red to blond hair
  • freckles

 

  • burns very quickly
  • does not tan

 

  • 5-10 minutes

 

  • at least high protection

 

Type II

 

  • fair skin
  • blond hair

 

  • almost always burns

  • tans slightly

 

  • 10-20 minutes

 

  • high protection

 

Type III

 

  • light brown skin
  • dark blond to brown hair

 

  • occasional slight burning
  • tans well

 

  • 20-30 minutes

 

  • high protection

 

Type IV

 

  • brown skin
  • dark hair

 

  • burns very rarely
  • tans deeply

 

  • 30-40 minutes

 

  • medium protection

 

*   The time that can be spent in the sun unprotected, without getting sunburnt
** See text below for categories

The recommended sun protection factor (SPF) depends on individual sun sensitivity (sun type) (see table), but also on factors such as UV intensity (time of day, time of year), location (geographical latitude), altitude (e.g. mountains) and the activity to be carried out during exposure to the sun (e.g. aquatic sports).

For extreme conditions, a very high*** sun protection product (SPF 50+) should always be applied to the areas of the body freely exposed to the sun. Extreme conditions include special sensitivity to the sun or intense UV radiation, as is the case with photodermatosis, when taking photosensitizing medicines, working in conditions requiring intensive exposure to UV/the sun, skin type I, and high-altitude sports, aquatic sports and winter sports.

Sun protection factors are to be classified according to uniform categories (recommendation by COLIPA, the European trade association for regulating the declaration and safety of cosmetic products). The current classification is as follows:

Very high***:  

SPF 50+

High:

SPF 30, 50

Medium:

SPF 15, 20, 25

Low:

SPF 6, 10

 
*** A very high SPF in products based on natural cosmetics produces unwelcome cosmetic effects, such as leaving behind an unpleasant white film on the skin and/or a paste-like texture. This can easily put people off from applying the product, or cause them to apply it much too thinly. However, sunscreen products can only fulfill their purpose if people are happy to use them and apply them in sufficient quantities. Equally, a very high SPF (50+) on the label can mislead users into being careless in the sun and ignoring other rules of sensible sun behavior. But even a sunscreen product with SPF 50+ does not provide 100% protection from UV rays. For these reasons we have decided not to sell products with a very high SPF. The highest sun protection we offer is SPF 50.

Further information and recommendations for exposing the skin to the sun can be found under Sun protection.