Skin cancer, wrinkles, pigmentation spots, dehydration. None of us want these issues with our skin right? Yet a huge amount of ladies seem to forget just how important it is to have a decent SPF in our lives. Yes, nowadays most foundations and primers sport an SPF of some description, but I’m a firm believer that a proper SPF underneath your makeup is a must to not only help prevent skin cancer, but to hydrate your skin and prevent wrinkles.
Here’s a list of the tops SPF picks I’ve been reviewing to try and help you girls decide when you’re buying your own. But first, one of the experts, La Roche Posay Pharmacy Training Manager Janette Ryan, was kind enough to answer some questions regarding sun care.
1. How often should you apply SPF when sunbathing?
Apply the sunscreen 20 minutes before leaving the house, then reapply every 80mins or after bathing or excessive sweating (even if using a waterproof formula). There is a large choice of textures (cream, fluid, gel, lotion, stick, even high protection oils) adapted to everyone’s preferences and needs, so its very easy to find one suitable to you.
2. Is it true that sunburn is only dangerous when it hurts, itches and peels, or is it always dangerous?
All sunburn and tanning is UV damage and dangerous whether it hurts or not. The only safe tan is fake tan. UV damage to the skin is permanent. It also builds up – that means damage to the skin in one year is added to damage done in previous years. In later life this can lead to skin cancer. Skin cancer can take 20 to 30 years to develop, so the rates of skin cancer today reflect the trends of the 70’s and 80’s. 90% of all skin cancers are preventable. Virtually all the risk comes from the sun and sun beds** *NCRI **www.cancer.ie/sunsmart
3. How effective is the SPF added to things like moisturisers and cosmetics? Should you still layer up with SPF underneath such products?
SPF stands for (Sun Protection Factor). SPF is a measurement of protection from UVB rays, the rays which cause Burning. When choosing a product with sun protection in it, you also need to look for a high UVA protection as well as a high SPF protection. This is not only to protect againstthe UVB rays which burn but alsothe UVA rays which are responsible for sun allergies, ageing and also skin cancer. When it comes to moisturisers with UV protection, they generally offer a low level of protection, this is fine for all year round protection but for the summer or when you will be outdoors a lot, you should wear a high sun protection too.
5. Is it true that sunbathing now without SPF will give me wrinkles when I’m older?
Skin cancer is not the only concern, UV exposure also causes premature ageing. UVA rays are the No 1 cause of skin ageing. UVA rays play a greater role in causing skin pigmentation [dark spots] than UVB rays. Exposure to UV rays can lead to both short term and long term damage to skin cells. Leading to adverse effects including skin cancer and premature aging.
6. What’s the difference between UVB rays and UVA Rays?
UVB= Burning, Browning
UVA = Ageing , Allergies
UVB rays are the rays which cause sunburn and are dangerous as they can cause cataracts (clouding ofthe eye lens), and immune system damage. They also contribute to skin cancer. Melanoma,the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is thought to be associated with severe UVB sunburns that occur beforethe age of 20. Most UVB rays are absorbed bythe ozone layer, but enough ofthese rays pass through to cause serious damage.
UVA rays cause skin ageing and contribute to skin cancer, such as melanoma. Because UVA rays pass effortlessly throughthe ozone layer (the protective layer of atmosphere, or shield, surroundingthe earth),they make upthe majority of our sun exposure. UVA are constant, all daylong, throughout the year, including the coldest months as UVA’s are not stopped by clouds or windows. Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays penetrate deep within the skin’s layers (all the way to the dermis) where they cause severe damage to the skin’s supporting structure. This helps to speed up the skin’s natural ageing process and contributes to a lack of elasticity and density in the skin. This process is considered photo-ageing. Without daily protection against UVA rays skin ages faster.
So now you understand how to protect your skin, here’s a list of some of the best products I’ve been testing!
Best for Sensitive Skin
La Roche Posay Anthelios Range (€17.50 from pharmacies nationwide)
Best for: These fantastic sunscreens are perfect for sensitive skin
60 second test: I tried out two from the range, the SPF 50 and the dry touch SPF 30. These may terrify some as it initially looks very white on but does sink in. The SPF 50 is perfect for optimum protection and the SPF30 Matte Extreme Fluid is great for those with sensitive and oily skin.
Result: A trusted brand who have a lovely range to choose from, all aimed at sensitive skin. A definite winner!
Best Cruelty Free
Korres Magnolia Bark Day Cream SPF15 and Wild Rose Eye Cream SPF15 (£19 sterling from House of Fraser)
Best for: Both the day cream and eyecream have an SPF 15, are moisturising but not too greasy, great for dry skin!
60 second test: These dry surprisingly quickly into the skin, although you can still see the shine on your skin. My face felt very smooth and matte after using this. The eye cream doesn’t dry in quite as quickly but helped stop unsightly creasing around the eye area with my makeup!
Result: If you prefer a moisturiser and are looking to fight the first signs of ageing in the process, this is a lovely product to invest in and crucially for me, Korres are a cruelty free brand.
Best moisturing SPF for Dry/Combination
Bobbi Brown Protective Face Lotion SPF 15 (department stores nationwide)
Best for: Dry and combination skin and those who prefer something slightly more moisturising under their makeup.
60 second test: After 60 seconds this has sunk in nicely and while the finish isn’t matt it isn’t greasy either and works perfectly under makeup.
Result: This was my first taste of Bobbi Brown’s skincare range and I was really impressed with this lightweight lotion. There’s also a SPF50 mosituriser and oil control lotion in the range that also sound really interesting. The only problem is that it’s over €30 so this may be out of some people’s price range.
Best moisturising SPF for Combination/Oily
Best for: This is very similar to the Bobbi Brown moisturiser but would be better suited to combination/oily skin tones than the Bobbi Brown moisturiser but says it’s suitable for all skin types.
60 second test: After 60 seconds this has sunk in entirely leaving my face hydrated, fresh and non-greasy.
Result: This was another total winner and my boyfriend now uses it every day. It’s a perfect, light moisturiser that’s packed with goodness. They also have another SPF moisturiser aimed at older skin which is also excellent. The only downfall is that it’s more expensive at around €30 but personally if a product is good, I don’t mind investing a little more money in it.
Best All Rounder for Combo/Oily
Vichy Mattifying Face Fluid Dry Touch SPF 50 (€14.50 from pharmacies nationwide)
Best for: This has a fantastic SPF50 for high UVB and UVA protection so is for anyone who burns easily or wants high protection. Perfect for oily skins/combo and even dry!
60 second test: Forget 60 seconds, this drys almost instantly and feels smooth and matte on the skin with no trace of shine or whiteness.
Result: This was my out and out favourite , it doesn’t leave skin greasy in the slightest, creates a lovely matte, hydrated base and has a great SPF to boot. At €14.50 it’s reasonably priced as well, a total winner!
Best All Rounder Dry/Combo Sensitive & Cruelty Free
Neo Strata Day time protection cream SPF15 (there’s a full store locator by county on their website) (around €35)
Best for: Cruelty free, won’t clog pores, fragrance free, suitable for sensitive dry to combination skin
60 second test: Is moisturising but non-greasy and will keep your skin hydrated
Result: Neo Strata have a lovely line of protection creams backed with the best ingredients and as a cruelty free brand suitable for sensitive types, this is a real winner. Yes it’s more expensive, but I’m happy to pay a more for cruelty free.