No matter the time of year, a sunscreen which protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays will be the most important step in your skincare routine.
When you mention sunscreen, the first thing that people think about is summer holidays and sunbathing. Not many would associate sunscreen with a rainy November day in England, right? Did you know that sunscreen should be applied every day, no matter the weather, and is in fact the most important part of your skincare routine?
I didn’t realise this until a couple of years ago… and now I apply it every day.
It doesn’t matter if you’re directly in the sunlight, lying on a sun lounger and enjoying a cold drink mid-July, or if you’re going for a walk in the country on a cool overcast day in March. If it’s light outside, your skin is being exposed to UV rays from the sun – it doesn’t matter if you’re inside or if it’s cloudy either… the rays penetrate clouds and windows too.
UV rays are split into UVA and UVB. You’ve probably heard that both of these could possibly be linked to skin cancer, which is why sunscreen is always important. But UVA rays are longer in wavelength and actually penetrate deeper into the skin, breaking down collagen and elastin and contributing to premature ageing.
So, no matter the time of year, a sunscreen which protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays will be the most important step in your skincare routine.
In the past, sunscreens for the face have been thick creams which didn’t really soak in properly and felt tacky whilst they sat on the skin. Now there are a huge range of SPF’s available, which are almost invisible on the skin, leave little to no white cast and work great under makeup. Some also contain great ingredients for the skin which help with hydration and reparation.
There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and mineral and both have pros and cons. Another thing to consider is the effect on the environment. There is currently research being conducted into whether chemical sunscreens damage the ocean and coral reef. Whilst there haven’t been any concrete conclusions yet, if you’re conscious about this you can always opt for ‘reef safe’ sunscreens; Lots of these are labelled as reef safe so it’s easy to distinguish between them.
So whether you prefer a cream, lotion or aerosol spray, here are 9 of the best SPF to add to your skincare routine and protect your skin...
Starting with the sunscreen lotion – a super lightweight formula which easily absorbs into the skin. It provides broad spectrum coverage and also contains antioxidants to benefit the skin. It’s fragrance free and suitable for all skin types.
If you prefer a more lightweight sunscreen, rather than a lotion, the La Roche Posay Anthelios Invisible Face Mist is very similar to the lotion but in a mist form. It gives great coverage and it’s really easy to top up during the day – even over makeup. Hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin, this is a very popular choice!
As the name ‘Unseen’ suggests, this SPF applies and soaks into the skin leaving almost no trace. It’s sheer finish makes it great for darker skin tones and the slight blurring effect gives a seamless finish on the skin. It’s super lightweight and works great under makeup too.
REN was one of the first brands to look into using sustainable materials in its products, whilst also focussing on ‘clean’ beauty and creating products that are great for the skin without harming the environment. This sunscreen is vegan and made up of 99% natural ingredients including passionfruit extract and rice starch. Not only is it broad spectrum, but it also protects against blue light and works as the perfect base for makeup!
A highly recommended SPF by many, the Advanced Brightening UV Defence from Skinceuticals not only works to protect the skin as a broad spectrum SPF, but it also works to remove dark spots and brighten the skin. The formula absorbs into the skin quickly making a great base for makeup too. But if you’re not wearing makeup, the slight tint to the product will create a perfect base alone.
Another invisible finish SPF making it great for all skin tones, especially darker. This lightweight sunscreen also contains a combination of antioxidants and natural oils to nourish the skin whilst protecting it.
The Medik8 Advanced Total Day Protect is closer to a moisturiser with SPF properties… It protects against UVA rays alongside blue light and pollution and is suitable for all skin types. This lightweight cream is free from alcohol and fragrance, but contains several different weights of hyaluronic acid, penetrating the skin to different layers and keeping skin hydrated.
One of the more affordable SPF’s, the Ultra Light Sensitive Face Fluid is exactly that – a lightweight fluid that absorbs into the skin leaving a matte finish. This SPF also contains hyaluronic acid, keeping the skin hydrated and protected at the same time. Best of both worlds!
If you’re looking for a sunscreen that sits well under makeup, this is another option! The Invisible Shield leaves no residue and absorbs fully into the skin. It’s packed with antioxidants which are great for protecting the skin, but it also contains fragrance so if you have sensitive skin it might not be the best choice.
The Prisma Protect from Dermalogica is an incredible broad spectrum SPF. It’s slightly different from the others in how it works… it is ‘light activated’ so it detects light on the skin and then works to shield the skin from the UV. It’s suitable for all skin types, is lightweight on the skin and isn’t greasy.
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