Why you should add an SPF to your beauty regime.
Facial Sunscreen, if there is one thing I wish I could have told my 20-year-old self it would be ‘wear sunscreen’.
As we have now reached the winter months here in the UK and our days are short and grey most people banish their sun protection to the bathroom cupboard until late April. One thing I think we all fail to realise is that just because its winter it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t protect our skin from the sun.
The sun plays a major role in the aging of our skin with UV rays accounting for around 80% of aging-related wrinkles to our face. Sure, there are other factors that play a part which we are unable to do anything about, but think about that for a minute, 80% – if you could reduce that even by a small percentage you would wouldn’t you?
The beauty industry is worth millions, and with more and more people opting for treatments that will help them look younger isn’t it worth adding one more product to your routine so that you don’t have to go under the needle so soon?
So let’s talk UV Rays. There are two types of UV rays that can cause damage to our skin, UVA, and UVB, but what is the difference?
UVA rays penetrate our layers of skin, in turn causing premature aging, showing in lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. UVB rays cause tanning and burning to the upper layers of our skin and plays a major role in the development of skin cancer. Both are equally guilty of causing damage to our skin.
I myself, in my late thirties, suffer from the damaging effects of too much sun. The reason I started to look into facial sun protection is about 10 years ago I started to see the first signs of pigmentation on my skin. Firstly just along my cheekbones and then around my upper lip and forehead. I did some research into this along with seeing my GP and it was diagnosed as Melasma.
Melasma, also called ‘chloasma’, is a common skin condition of adults in which light to dark brown or greyish pigmentation develops, mainly on the face. The exact cause is not known, but several factors contribute. These include pregnancy, hormonal drugs such as the contraceptive pill, and very occasionally medical conditions affecting hormone levels. Some cosmetics, especially those containing perfume, can bring on melasma. There is research to suggest that it can be triggered by stress. Sunshine and the use of sun-beds usually worsen any tendency to melasma.
Find out more about Melasma on britishskinfoundation.org.uk
Once I realised that I needed to protect my skin to lessen the look of my melasma I discovered that there are in fact two types of sunscreen that you can use. Physical and Chemical, and it is important to know the difference, especially when it comes to protecting your skin from sun aging.
Chemical sunscreen absorbs UV rays into the skin by using active ingredients, preventing them from penetrating the skin, whilst Physical (also known as Mineral) reflect UV rays from penetrating the skin. Physical sunscreen also protects from both UVA and UVB rays, but most Chemical only block one or the other. The third kind is called Broad Spectrum, which contains both Chemical and Physical, which as the name would suggest, gives a broad spectrum of sun protection.
To reduce pigmentation and premature aging, it is important to find a sunscreen that protects against UVA rays. When I first went on the hunt for a physical sunscreen here in the UK it proved almost impossible and most were only available in the US. This has since changed dramatically, but then the only readily available was a sunscreen by Origins, called Out Smart, which has since been discontinued and replaced with another product called, Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Defense Advanced Daily UV Defender SPF 45, and for this discovery I will always be truly thankful to Origins.
But doesn’t foundation contain an SPF? Yes, some do, but at best, most only contain a 15-20 SPF rating which I believe isn’t enough to truly protect your skin.
Some companies do this better than others, and it can be hard to find a good facial sunscreen that can sit under foundation nicely and not cause your makeup to look oily.
Below are some that I have used in the past and still use now.
Origins Out Smart, this now discontinued was a physical sunscreen which protected against UVA rays. This I believe has now been replaced with Mega Defence Daily UV Defender which is an SPF 45 non-chemical sunscreen for daily use on the face priced at £32 for 30ml. The Out Smart used to sit under my foundation without problem, the Mega Defence I have not tried so at this point I cannot make comment or recommend.
Clinique City Block, this is a broad spectrum facial sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB. This sits under my foundation fine, but I do have to give it time to dry down. The only downside to this is that if I get it near my eyes it stings like HELL! This is £18.50 for 40ml.
Ultrasun Anti-Ageing Face, this again is a broad spectrum sunscreen, protecting from both UVA and UVB, formulated in Australia where sunscreen is taken seriously. On top of this, the formula also contains ingredients to reduce fine lines and aid in moisture retention to the skin. I have absolutely no problems using this under my foundation, its non-chalky and dries down quickly, This is also great for sensitive skin and does not irritate my sensitive eyes, priced at £20 for 50ml.
Clinique Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream SPF 30, another broad spectrum screen protecting against both UVA and UVB rays with Cliniques patented SolarSmart+ technology which aids in the protection of lines and wrinkles from sun exposure. This is marketing as being a silky texture which sits well under makeup and is even recommended for around the eye area. Again, this is another one that sits fine under my foundation and is non-greasy. This is priced at £18.00 for 50ml.
La Roche-Posay, Anthelops XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50+, this is the latest addition to my collection and a staple in my summer skincare routine. Perfume and paraben free, this is another broad spectrum sun protection, protecting skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Ultra high protection and suitable for sensitive skin, whilst helping to prevent dark spots caused by the sun. A water proof and advanced formula containing a combination of Mexoplex, a complex with Mexoryl SX, unique Thermal Spring Water and Mexoryl XL to protect skin cells for a youthful, glowing complexion. This ranges from around £12 – £20 for 50ml depending on where you purchase this.
As you can see the price point on all of these is pretty similar and they all claim to protect against the aging UVA rays.
I flit between all of these if I’m honest, depending on which is closest to hand when I get out of the shower. If I had to recommend just one, it would be the Ultra Sun, because I think the ingredients are superb along with the anti-aging benefits of this product along with working well with makeup.
I hope this post has been of use and remember girls and boys, ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN.
Have a great day.
Disclaimer, I have not been paid to write for any brands featured in this post. The post does, however, contain some affiliate links where I earn a small commission from the purchase.