“Nothing looks better in your 50’s than suncream in your 20’s”
The DL and the WTH of SPF
We all know we’re supposed to use it, yet so many of us still skip sunscreen. If you’re young, count yourself lucky that we’re so much more clued up about UV damage these days and start using SPF today. We may not be able to turn back time, and of course it’s good to get a dose of Vitamin D when we can, but all of us can take a moment to protect our skin and help prevent further damage.
If you do like a tan, fake it with my favourite, He-Shi – so many products right across the range - and/or add a few drops of Tan Luxe or Clarins tanning drops to your regular moisturiser for a golden glow on the face.
5 reasons to slather on sunscreen - rain, hail or shine ...
Depletion of the ozone layer has increased our risk of damage from ultra violet rays.
Not a single ray of sun is required for skin damage to occur; UV rays are out in force every day, every season (even here in the UK & Ireland!).
Sunscreen protects against skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the UK & Ireland, accounting for 31% of all cancers.
Sunscreen is the most powerful anti-ageing product. There is zero point in spending a fortune on the best skincare around if you don't add sun protection, end of. And if you only use one product on your skin, it should be sunscreen.
Products containing retinol, liquid exfoliants and some serums leave skin particularly vulnerable to UV damage and must be paired with SPF50+.
Most sun damage is done in our youth. (Count yourself lucky if you didn't grow up when SPF4 was the norm like me. I used actual olive oil on my skin in my teens, eek!).
You can't layer SPFs. Makeup with SPF15 + sunscreen with SPF30 = protection of SPF30, not 45. Only the highest factor counts.
Broad spectrum means you are covered for both UVA and UVB protection.
SPF should be reapplied every 2 hours (more often if swimming, although please also think of the environment and the water pollution you can cause, so try not to jump straight in after applying, then reapplying and so on…)
Sunscreen may be water resistant but not waterproof - and should always be replenished after swimming.
Sunscreen has a shelf life and must be replaced every Summer to work optimally.
SPF rarely causes breakouts; not removing it properly does. It's designed to stay around, so double cleansing is advisable for complete removal.
I like to use a separate SPF for my face as these are usually non-comedogenic (won’t block pores), have a lighter texture for under make-up and offer higher protection. Always extend your facial sunscreen down your neck and décolleté - both of which are very delicate and equally prone to sun damage. I also apply any excess to the backs of my hands, one of the first areas to show signs of ageing.
My SPF tick list:
· high protection
· light, quickly absorbed formula
· no greasy feel
· no white cast
· won’t interfere with make-up application
· won’t cause breakouts
Choosing the best sun screen can be a bit of a minefield and with so many formulas available, it’s difficult to know where to start. Gone are the days of thick white creams that leave a white cast and greasy texture... facial SPFs are much more sophisticated now and as pleasurable to use as skincare. Speaking of which, SPF should be the last step in your skincare routine, directly before any makeup.
Note whether the active ingredients are chemical or physical sunscreens. Physical (often described as natural or mineral) sunscreens most commonly contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which provide a physical barrier on the skin that reflect UV rays. Chemical sunscreens contain chemicals, which protect the skin by interacting with and absorbing ultraviolet energy.
The Hawaii state legislature recently passed a bill to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals found in most non-mineral sunscreen products. Studies show that these two chemicals have damaged Hawaii’s marine environment, causing coral bleaching and possible coral death. If the bill becomes law (in 2021), it will affect most chemical sunscreens sold in the United States and force manufacturers to reformulate or stop selling these products in Hawaii.
While you’re probably used lashing on the SPF to help protect your skin over the summer, there’s more you can do to protect your skin against the sun: namely, antioxidants. Antioxidants are a great way to help neutralise the visible effects the sun may have on skin (such as dark spots and wrinkles), so picking products with antioxidants can go a long way.
Just to give you a quick recap about just what exactly antioxidants do - free radicals (or as scientists call them, “reactive oxygen species”) form in our bodies from different causes, particularly UV rays. These molecules are missing an electron, so they scavenge around for one and in this process, they cause damage to other cells. This is where antioxidants come in to save the day. By “donating” an electron to free radicals, antioxidants manage to neutralize them and halt or minimize the damage.
One of my faves is Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract; it is often credited as the source behind the flawless complexions of the Japanese and green tea has long been known for its amazing health benefits. It’s also a potent antioxidant, making it a popular ingredient in skincare products like the IMAGE ORMEDIC Balancing Antioxidant Serum €70.50…
La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Tinted BB Cream (available in different formulas for normal-dry or oily) (RRP £17.00)
·Sisley Sisley Super Soin Facial Sun Cream SPF50+, 40ml (RRP £114.75)
Eucerin SPF50 CC crème - ideal for sensitive skin (RRP £12.00)
Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50 PA+++ (RRP £28.00)
Tropic Tinted Skin Shade SPF50 (RRP £28.00)
Clarins Sun Care Body Cream UVA/UVB 30
Eucerin Sensitive Protect Sun Lotion Extra Light SPF30 (RRP £18.00)
Vichy Idéal Soleil Sun-Milk for Face and Body SPF 30 300ml (RRP £19.00)
· Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF30 (RRP £22.50)
For after sun I love LANCASTER After Sun Tan Maximizer (RRP £26.00) and then rich body oils, butter butters (my old faves The Body Shop butters are fab here and usually available in all airports) as well as Aloe products for anyone who has overdone it.