As a beauty blogger with a ‘less is more’ approach, taking good care of my skin is my remit. Everyone wants to know the secret is to keeping skin looking youthful.
And the truth is, all the hyaluronic acids, glycolics and retinols just won’t hold up unless you wear SPF daily. It is the best anti ageing product you can spend those precious pennies on – and also one of the most affordable.
Being of Celtic descent – I’m no stranger to SPF. And if you happened to witness an unfortunate looking ginger kid on holiday in the pool in the height of a 90s summer weighed down by a huge baggy t-shirt smothered in white cast suncream, it was probably me.
Why Do I Need It Every Day?
You’d be forgiven to just believe suncream is only necessary in the height of summer right? Wrong. UV rays are present all year round, and are the biggest contributor to the ageing of our skin. UVA and UVB rays are the most powerful when it comes to damage, and there’s a really easy way to remember how each of them effect our skin.
UVA (think A for Ageing) – These rays penetrate the skin on a deep level and cause damage to the elastin in our skin cells, they have a longer wavelength than UVB and can penetrate clouds.
UVB (think B for Burning) – These rays have the most immediately visible effect, they leave skin red swollen and burnt and although they don’t penetrate as deep into the skin – can still cause serious harm.
My makeup has SPF in it, does that mean I’m protected?
Unfortunately not. You only have to google how much foundation you’d need to be full protected from UV rays to realise, clue…A LOT!
What should I look for when buying SPF?
Sun Protection Factor
Look for suncreams between a factor 30 – 50. Anything below 30 is not enough protection, and anything above 50 isn’t necessary as they only protect further by 1%.
An amazing added bonus to a lot of SPF’s is antioxidants. In simple terms, antioxidants also protect skin from damage caused by UV rays. They defend against free radical damage that can accelerate skin’s ageing process.
Also be sure to pick an SPF that labels itself as ‘Broad Spectrum’, this means it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
Choose SPF’s that are free from oxybenzone/octinoxate. This chemical compound has been a component of suncreams for years – and has resulted in extreme damage to coral reefs. Last year, Hawaii even banned the sales of suncreams containing them.
How should I include in my current skincare routine?
This part is really easy. SPF should be applied at the very end of your skincare routine and before makeup. Oh and one REALLY important thing to remember that could easily be neglected – make sure to wash it off in the evening! It can be so easy to think “I’ve not worn makeup today so no need to cleanse”.
The thing is SPF needs an oil based cleanser to be properly removed – it won’t be washed off completely with just water alone, and left on the skin can lead to clogged pores. Invest in a double cleansing ritual – oil based/balm cleanser to remove your SPF/makeup and a lighter textured cleanser to follow (milk/cream/gel) to actively target skin concerns.
My top SPF recommendations
The Invisible One – Glossier Invisible Shield SPF 35
I have sworn by this SPF since its launch. The main pull for me is the texture of it – it’s almost like a serum, but clear. If you are wary of getting that dreaded ‘white cast’ associated with traditional suncreams this will be your bag, plus it has a delightful subtle citrus scent.
The Environmental One – REN Clean Screen SPF 30
As if we needed a reason to love REN more, earlier this year they launched the ocean friendly, vegan, and silicone free physical suncream. This is ideal for oily skin types, as it has a slight (but not major) mattifying effect. Rich in antioxidants and packaging made from 50% recycled plastic that can be recycled all over again.
The Sensitive Skin One – La Roche Posay Anthelios Shaka Ultra Light SPF 50+
I love the fluid texture of this one, and if you’re not familiar with La Roche Posay they know their stuff when it comes to catering to sensitive skin. A super minimal formula, designed to protect and soothe the most sensitive of skins.