Well hello there strangers! I’m finally getting back into this whole blogging malarky now that my life is quite considerably less stressful and I’m kicking it off with a summer related post!
Whether you’re planning an exotic trip in the next few months, or are simply aiming to catch some of the (very few) rays that Britain receives this Summer, it’s extremely important to think about protecting your skin. SPF is absolutely vital if you’re planning on spending any amount of time out in the sun, no matter what the UV index might be on that particular day. This post will mainly focus on my favourite SPF choices for the face and body, which I’m afraid are mostly high end due to their fantastic broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection properties.
Firstly, I would like to start off by saying that the sun is extremely harmful to your skin and any type of tan (not even a burn) indicates that UVA/UVB rays have penetrated the skin’s epidermis layer, thus damaging it and increasing the risk of skin cancer. Having said that, we all do need a bit of vitamin D in our lives so you shouldn’t actively avoid the sun altogether. It’s good to try and strike the balance between catching some rays and not being over exposed. This can be best instigated by avoiding the sun at peak hours which are from 11am to 3pm every day.
The main thing I want people to take away from this post is that any bottle of sunscreen you’re looking at buying must contain UVA and UVB broad spectrum protection. Both of these harmful rays can cause skin cancer and one is significantly more damaging in terms of ageing than the other. There are essentially two different systems on a bottle of sunscreen. The SPF factor indicates the level of protection from UVB rays and is supposed to suggest how long you can stay out in the sun before reapplying more sunscreen (though you should never go more than two hours without reapplying). These Ultraviolet B rays are those that cause sunburn to the skin and it’s widely known that those with pale complexions should opt for a higher factor to ensure better protection. However, it is the UVA rays which are seriously damaging to the skin and these are measured using a star rating found on the back of sunscreen bottles. It is highly important that any sunscreen you buy contains a five star UVA rating to ensure that there is maximum absorption of UVA radiation which will permanently damage the skin (please note that bottles without this star rating on the back mean that they contain the full five stars and thus do not have to display it). At the end of the day, if you’re bothering to apply it in the first place, you want it to be decently protecting you right? Of course. It’s really surprising the amount of bottles of sunscreen I’ve picked up recently (from extremely popular and well known brands) that do not contain broad spectrum protection or a five star rating on the back of some of their products. One brand that I can safely say does contain five star UVA protection is Boots’ Soltan; it maintains this high level of protection in every single bottle and I therefore highly recommend it if you’re on a budget.
Okay enough with the educational lecturing and onto my personal favourite choices of SPF for the face. Clinique are quite honestly fantastic for all their sun protection and I could recommend any of their products, but my personal choices for underneath my makeup, or just generally to apply to the delicate face area, are their sun protection Face Cream (SPF 40) and their ‘Even Better Dark Spot Defense’ fluid in SPF 45. Now I say fluid because it really is quite a runny formula but that’s why I love it so much underneath my makeup. Unlike many other facial SPFs, it doesn’t feel heavy, thick and greasy but still delivers on the protection end. I also love using this because it has a slight tint to it. Not enough to do my rosacea ridden cheeks much good, but those with a more even complexion might see a real difference and may even feel happy going makeup-less (gasp!). Nonetheless, their standard Face Cream with SPF 40 is still a great choice and one of my firm favourites to wear if I know I will be exposing myself (particularly my face) to plenty of sun that day as it’s a bit more “heavy duty”. This is of a thicker consistency and completely protects my skin, it can even be worn under makeup as long as you let it sink into your skin before applying anything else. The bonus of these two facial SPFs? They are both completely fragrance free just like all of Clinique’s other skincare products! So those with sensitive skin, get in line!
Now the Clarins ‘Sun Wrinkle Control Cream for Face’ in SPF 50 is probably the most luxurious sunscreen ever. It is essentially like a lovely high end moisturising lotion with the added bonus of being a damn good sun protection cream. Regardless of the fact that it boasts being good at combating wrinkles, it does not mean that all ages can’t apply it since the sun ages us all anyway! It simply means it’ll do a bit more good than just slapping on a generic sunscreen all over your face. I must admit that this was pretty much the only sunscreen I wore on my face during my recent holiday to Orlando and I wore it underneath my makeup every single day. Be sure, like with the other facial SPFs, to just let it absorb nicely before putting any makeup over the top and you’ll be good to go! This smells absolutely heavenly and will always remind me of my holiday now. I can’t recommend this one enough.
Now lets move onto the body, which for some is less concerning than their facial area, but you should still want to take care of it! Clinique’s Body Cream in SPF 40 is a good all-rounder and I love it for its gentleness on sensitive skin. I suffer with Keratosis Pilaris on my arms and chest, which is a very common red and bumpy looking rash which stays permanently on many women from their teenage years right through to their 40’s (if you’d like me to do a post on how I manage and treat this condition please just ask!). Due to this condition, my forearms and upper arms tend to go quite red with certain products, meaning that it can sometimes be hard to identify if I’m burnt from being in the sun or because I don’t agree with the sunscreen I’ve used. This Clinique sunscreen is so gentle and totally fragrance free so I know that my skin will be well protected and won’t flare up either. The only downside to this one is that it is quite thick and requires a little bit of elbow grease to work it in. It’s worth it though because it is a great sunscreen.
Much like the Clarins facial SPF I’ve talked about, the Sun Care Cream is another super luxurious moisturiser with the added benefit of sun protection. This one also smells heavenly and reminds me of being on holiday. SPF 30 is the highest they go though I’m afraid, so to avoid burning my pale skin on my holiday I used the Clinique SPF 40 for the first week of my holiday to let my skin adjust slightly and then I used the Clarins for the second week. This seemed to work pretty well except for the last day when I got severely sun burnt at Typhoon Lagoon… but lets not talk about that shall we? (Note to self, re-read this post and take ones own advice).
Well that’s about all I have to say on sunscreens. I really hope you enjoyed reading this and learnt a thing or two so that when you come to purchase your sunscreens, you’re well informed of what to look for and consider! Stay safe in the sun everyone, but most importantly enjoy yourselves!
Thanks for reading, it feels really lovely to be back.
A Little Disclaimer- All products featured have been purchased with my own money or have been gifts from friends and family. I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned and all opinions are entirely my own and honest. All pictures on this post have been taken by yours truly.