Exposing your skin to the sun, unprotected, is pretty much the worst thing you can do to it. I think we all know we should be wearing SPF, but which factor is right for us? What is the difference between UVA and UVB protection? And how often do you need to apply? The lines are getting a little blurry…
The sad truth is that there is no safe way to tan (apart from faking it), as your glowing complexion and cute summertime freckles are in fact, sun damage. Very very sad, I know. So whether you have fair skin, sensitive skin, need a quick fix or are worried about breakouts, make sure you’re protected with our guide to your summer SPF!
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the number indicates the amount of time needed for your skin to burn wearing the sun cream compared to wearing no protection. So if your skin would burn after 10 minutes unprotected, then factor 30 should protect you from damage for 300 minutes.
The sun produces both UVA and UVB rays, but what is the difference? UVA rays are responsible for premature ageing and wrinkles, whereas UVB rays cause your skin to burn and tan. Both are responsible for damaging the skin, and your SPF needs to protect you from both.
Did you know that there are both physical and chemical sunscreens? Physical formulas protect you skin by deflecting the rays of the sun, whereas chemical creams work by absorbing rays instead. Physical formulations can create a thick, white cast on the skin and require more frequent application, however they provide instant protection, unlike the chemical formulas which take around 20 minutes to take effect. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
#1 For: Extra Fair Skin
If you’re naturally fair like I am, then your skin is the most susceptible to damage and you need to be suitably preventing it with a high level of UVA and UVB protection. The Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ For Face/Body offers the protection you need, within a lightweight, water resistant formula, housed in a convenient spray bottle. Ticks all the boxes!
#2 For: Oily Or Dry Skin
If you have particularly oily or dry skin, then finding your perfect SPF can be a serious challenge! Oil based formulas can be quite thick and cause potential breakouts for those naturally blemish prone girls, and thinner formulas can cause drier skin to feel uncomfortable or tight after repeated use.
Naturally oily? Look for an oil-free formula, like Clinique’s Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Body Cream, which also boasts anti-ageing benefits and won’t strip or dry out your skin.
Dry skinned girls should look for an oil-based formula to ensure your skin stays hydrated in the sun. Suntan oils these days are no longer only available in a maximum of SPF 10 – Vichy’s Ideal Soleil Dry Oil is super hydrating and comes in up to SPF 50, so there is no excuse not to stay protected!
#3 For: Quick Fixes
If you’re on a particularly active holiday, have children or live in a hot country where sunscreen is an integral part of everyday life, then chances are, you’re looking for a quick-fix that won’t take a long time to apply or sink in. Because let’s face it, the last thing you on vacay is to spend half an hour applying sunscreen when you feel sick with excitement and just dying to explore outside!
Look for a lightweight mist that will sink in instantly, like the Coola Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30. Available in a range of yummy scents, this clear spray is also 70% natural and uses a non-aerosol spray system.
#4 For: Long Lasting Protection
No matter what the label says, it is definitely wise to apply any sunscreen more than once a day, but it is true that some formulas offer more long lasting protection than others. Perfect for holidays or day trips, P20’s Once A Day SPF 50 Sun Cream offers 10 hours of protection and is highly water-resistant, so is a great option if you don’t want to have to reapply throughout daytime activities, or if you’re swimming frequently. The clear formula absorbs easily, and is paraben free too!
#5 For: Your Face
Lots of people are apprehensive about using an SPF of their face, as some formulas can block pores, leading to unwelcome breakouts! However, most foundations only offer SPF 20, if any at all – and the delicate skin on your face needs more protection than that to prevent from sun damage and premature ageing.
La Roche Posay’s Anthelios range is developed especially for sensitive skin, and the Anthelios XL Tinted Dry Touch Gel Cream 50+ is formulated for use on the face, offering UVA and UVB protection combined with a tinted, lightly covering formula and grease free finish that won’t encourage breakouts. For a non-tinted option, the Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defence also offers SPF 50+ (UVA & UVB) and has a mattifying effect on the skin, doubling up as a great makeup primer!
#6 For: Your Hair
We recently found out that the sun is more damaging on your hair than heated appliances! Sun damage dries out your hair and bleaches your color – which is what no one wants! Add shine and smoothness while providing UV protection with the Phytoplage Protective Sun Oil. Great for all hair types, this oil doubles up as a serum, banishing frizz without feeling heavy.
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