Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Busting The Suncare Myths | Sun Cream Edit 2017

When I look back to when I was in my late teens, I was really naive with suncare! It really took me so long to realise how much damage I’ve been doing to my skin. Whilst I'm still no SPF expert, I try my best to read about suncare and educate as many people as I can! I’ve been writing a yearly suncare post for a good few years now and I’m back again for the 2017 edit! So in today's blog post I'm sharing some answers to the most frequent SPF FAQ's and suggesting some of the best products on the market. SPF has come a long way, they are no longer greasy horrible creams and really there's no excuse not to wear it!

What is SPF?
SPF stands for 'sun protection factor' and is a measure of how effective a product is at protecting you from the sun. The rating of SPF can go from as little as 2 and go as high as 70 and it's important you wear the right level of protection. SPF is a calculation of how much time you can be in the sun before you burn. For example, if you burn after being in the sun for 5 minutes, SPF15 will give you 15 times the time before you burn; 75 minutes. The higher the SPF the higher the protection, personally I need to slather myself with factor 50. 

Why is SPF so important?
Wearing SPF is important all year round, the sad thing is that most people only take notice when they are going on holiday. What we're trying to do is stop the ultraviolet rays UVA and UVB from damaging our skin. UBV is the ray that is responsible for sunburn, whilst UBA is the ray that causes long-term damage. Long-term damage can include ageing and skin cancer, which happens to be the second most common type of cancer for women in their twenties. UVA and UVB rays are present all year round and they are just as harmful in the winter as they are in the summer. You don't just have to be outside to get damaged skin, UV rays can come through windows and even through light clothing, so it pays to be protected. It's important to reapply your SPF every 2-4 hours to maintain full protection from the sun.

Will I still get a tan?
Absolutely! SPF is designed to stop your skin from burning and to stop the harmful rays penetrating your skin. No part of SPF formulation is designed to stop you getting a tan. In fact, I can slather myself in SPF50 and still come home darker. If you want to try and aid the tanning process, you can special sun creams that aim to help the natural tanning process. One of Chris' favourites is NIVEA’s Protect & Bronze range, it contains plant extract to encourage your own melanin production. If you've tried an SPF and you still don't get a tan, please don't stop putting it on! It's better to fake your tan than take the risk!

I have sensitive skin, SPF always gives me spots?!
Surprisingly, a lot of people do not realise that there are specific SPFs for your face and body. Obviously it's important to use the right formula in the right place, but sensitive skin is completely and utterly catered for in the SPF market. La Roche-Posay in particular are experts at creating SPF's for every type of skin - sensitive skin included. They have the 'Anthelios Comfort' range for dry skin, the 'Anthelios Ultra-Light*' range for normal/combination skin (my personal favourite) and the 'Anthelios Anti-Shine' range for oily skin. It's worth shopping around and finding the perfect SPF for you. Like with body sun creams, face creams come in all shapes and formulas. You could try the NIVEA Protect & Bronze Face Cream to help aid the natural tanning process. You could also opt for the Garnier Sensitive Advanced Protecting and Hydrating Face Mist*. As the name suggests, it’s a fine mist which you don’t even have to rub into the skin, which is perfect for ultra sensitive skin. 

I don't want to cover myself in a horrible greasy cream?!
The good news is that you don't have to - SPF has come a long way and you can now pick up a whole range of formulas, in fact a lot of my favourite SPFs are not creams at all! Let’s start with the handy spray category – this allows you to dispense a cream formulation, but without pouring it onto the dedicated area. Simply grab something like the Solait Moisturising Sun Spray SPF50* and spray it wherever you need it. Another more high end alternative is the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Spray SPF50+*, which I used very recently and really loved. If you like the spray formula, but don’t like creams, you could try the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Comfort Oil. This one is an oil formula which is lightweight and nourishing for all skincare types. 

Now most of the time, I’m actually more of a mist person – as I like that they feel dry on the skin and you don’t feel wet. I have two favourites which are actually very similar, I just opt for whatever I have in my stash at the time. The Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist and the NIVEA Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Mist are both ultra-light mists which is completely dry to the touch.

However, I would like to point out that actually, a lot of the creams on the market are not actually greasy in the slightest. Some of the best ones include the Mary Kay SPF30 Suncream*, the NIVEA Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sun Lotion* (which is a family favourite for us) or the budget friendly Solait SPF50+ Sensitive Moisturising Sun Lotion*.

I want to wear makeup on holiday - surely SPF and makeup don't mix? 
Actually they do! The key here is to find an SPF that is made for your face - you should do this anyway as the skin on your face is different to your body. Many SPF's are made to wear under makeup, just give them ample time to soak in. Some of my favourites I’ve already spoken about in this blog post, but to recap, I highly recommend the Garnier Sensitive Advanced Hydrating Face Mist and the Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid. 

It’s also worth mentioning that you can also purchase lots of makeup and skincare products that have SPF built in. Unfortunately a lot of these have very low SPFs, so I always layer them with something more substantial. The ESPA Naturally Radiant Tinted Moisturiser* is a firm favourite in my travel makeup bag, as it has SPF15 and offers a lovely glow on the skin. The ESPA Optimal Skin ProDefence SPF15* is a lovely moisturiser, which you can actually use on a daily basis, not just for holidays!

Does my hair need protecting too? 
Absolutely! Many of us have experienced our hair getting lighter after a summer holiday, but the damage does not end there! Right now I'm obsessed with Rituals Sun Protection Hair Spray*, which is a sun-protective hairspray with a fresh summer scent. It's made using Vitamin E, Ginkgo Biloba, and White Tea, which all help protect the hair against the harmful effects of UV radiation. You spritz this in your hair before and after sun exposure, to achieve long-lasting shine and protection from hair discolouration!

Is it true that you can burn your lips?
Absolutely! Your lips are just as prone to burning as every other area of your face. It’s worth investing in a lip balm that contains some SPF, in fact you might find that your favourite already has SPF in the ingredients. If not, you can pick up something like the Solait SPF30 Lip Protection Balm* for a few pounds and reapply regularly. 

What should I do if I get burnt?
Sadly even with the best will in the world, sometimes you still get burnt – it happens to the best of us! As soon as you notice you’re burnt, it’s important to remove yourself from the sun. Preferably, you should give yourself a break from the sun indoors, but if that’s not possible find some shade. You should keep yourself as hydrated as possible, by drinking plenty of water.

The next important step is to treat the skin with something soothing. Still don’t forget that your face and body need to be treated separately, with specific products. I actually find that moisturising serums like Vichy Ideal Life Serum work wonders, or you can try something like the Solait Moisturising After Sun Face Lotion*. I’m a huge fan of in-shower after suns, as you can get the cooling relief from the shower, but also treat the skin in one quick step. The Vichy Ideal Soleil In-Shower After Sun* is a beautiful high-end option for this, I particularly like this one as you can use it in the shower, or you can actually use it on dry skin. Another family favourite is the NIVEA In-Shower After Sun Refresh*, which is a fantastic budget option which I use all the time – not just on holiday! 

Investing in sun cream is too expensive! 
Whilst I do agree that sun cream can be quite pricey, it doesn’t have to be! Look out for deals and offers, these will happen away from peak holiday periods and will give you a chance to stock up. In the weeks and months running up to your holiday, keep an eye on Boots and Superdrug for the likes of Garnier and NIVEA. Places like Escentual are fantastic at offering 25% off the likes of Vichy and La Roche-Posay. For real bargains, look to own brands such as Superdrug’s Solait – these products are fairly cheap but still work wonders!

So there you have it, there is really no excuse for skipping your SPF! Please don't do it, it's really not worth the risk! 
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