I can always tell that summer is fast approaching by the number of times that I’m asked about “the best sunscreens” in one week. Needless to say, it’s a lot.
Finding the perfect facial sunscreen is no easy feat, particularly for those with specific skin concerns like excess oil, acne or extreme sensitivity. And finding one that doesn’t make you look ghostly white, or pill and bobble under foundation is a struggle unto itself. There are a few basics you should always keep in mind before splashing out on high quality sun protection:
The majority of sun damage is done in the first 20 years of your life, so it’s essential to be diligent with sun protection from childhood.
Be sure to purchase a broad spectrum formula that protects from both UVA, the rays that cause cell damage and ageing, and UVB rays that burn the skin.
Chemical sunscreen soaks into the skin easily and is great if you’re swimming or playing a sweaty sport. It works by absorbing UV light, it then converts the rays into heat, and releases them from the body. Whereas physical sunblock sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the main active ingredients in physical blocks. These tend to give the skin that pallid lavender hue and can feel heavier on the face, but they’re less irritating for sensitive skin.
Always go for SPF 30 or higher for maximum protection. Although technically, there’s only 1% difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50, so 30 has you covered.
It’s true that darker skin is not as sensitive to UV rays as lighter complexions, but that doesn’t mean it’s not susceptible to cellular damage, which means it still needs daily SPF protection.
If your skin is on the oilier side, go for a watery essence that cut the grease but not the hydration. Bioré Sarasara UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50 is an excellent choice, it’s light weight, rich in hydrating hyaluronic acid, and absorbs beautifully without leaving an ashy lavender film on the skin.
No sunscreen is completely waterproof, only water-resistant. This means if you’re out and about in humid weather you’re ok for around two hours. If you’re swimming, you should re-apply more frequently.
Re-applying can be difficult if you’re wearing makeup but it’s not impossible to do with the range of powder sunscreens available on the market. Try Colorscience Sunforgettable SPF 50 which can easily be brushed over your base makeup. It’s formulated with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for sun protection and red algae which helps protect against environmental aggressors.
Apply around one teaspoon of your sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before you go out in the sun- don’t forget your ears and neck, front and back!
SPF should always be the last skincare product you apply.
If you’re using a high SPF, you need, and I mean NEED, to double cleanse your face in the evening before bed (here’s how to do it properly). The ingredients in sun protection can only be broken down using an oil-based product, so a quick rinse with a face wash just won’t get rid of it. This can cause clogged pores and breakouts.