I thought I would round up my favourite sunscreens that will keep your skin safe from the sun without leaving you sticky, spotty, tacky or smearing unsightly white paste across your face.
But first here is a glossary of SPF terms to help you...
This is your Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and tells you how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from burning.
About SPF numbers
This number tells you how much UVB light (the burning rays) a sunscreen can filter out.
Here's what the science tells us about how much UVB light different SPF's can filter out:
SPF 15: 93% of the sun's UVB rays
SPF 30: 97% of the sun's UVB rays
It’s important to know that no sunscreen can filter out 100% of the sun’s UVB rays. That’s why it’s important to also seek shade and wear sun-protective clothing — such as a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection.
How Often Should I reapply?
Sun rays will break down the sunscreen and will become ineffective after some time.
If outdoors you should reapply:
Every 2 hours
After toweling off
After being in water*
*When using water resistant sunscreen, you'll need to reapply every 40 to 80 minutes.
Chemical sunscreen vs Physical sunscreen?
A chemical sunscreen: Protects you by absorbing the sun’s rays. May contain one or more of many possible active ingredients, including oxybenzone or avobenzene.
A physical sunscreen: Protects you by deflecting the sun’s rays. Contains the active ingredients titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide.
Some sunscreens use both types of active ingredients, so they contain one or more active ingredient found in physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen.
A sunscreen that offers protection from both UVB rays, which burn skin, and UVA rays, which cause damage like collagen breakdown.
This determines how much UVA protection a sunscreen provides. This isn’t to be confused with SPF which indicated UVB.
This is what each PA rating means:
PA+ = Some UVA protection.
PA++ = Moderate UVA protection.
PA+++ = High UVA protection.
PA++++ = Extremely High UVA protection.
UVA penetrates deep into the skin and causes collagen breakdown. This is why it is so important to have both UVA + UVB coverage.
There is questions over how useful PA+ is as it is measured against how quickly your skin tans or darkens from the sun. As skin will change colour at different rates depending on the purpose it is considered an inconsistent rating.
Ocean Friendly or Reef Safe
A sunscreen doesn't contain any of these five ingredients: oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, 4-methylbenzylidene, and butyl-paraben.
Small studies suggest that these ingredients can affect coral's ability to reproduce by harming or killing coral larvae and even reduce its life span and immunity.
SHEER PHYSICAL PROTECTION
Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Matte-finish tinted sunscreen PA++++
Ideal for all skin types but especially for acneic, sensitive and darker skin tones.
This mattifying fluid sunscreen is non-greasy and absorbs quickly. Formulated with a slight tint which helps the product to blend in with your skin tone, preventing any annoying white smears. I often find that sunscreens break me out but with Neostrata it is non-comedogenic and doesn't cause pimples or acne meaning I want to apply it on to my skin.
It has a broad spectrum coverage defending the skin against UVA and UVB rays, which helps prevent premature ageing as well as sunburn.
The formula combines potent antioxidants (green tea, lactobionic acid, vitamin E) which work to neutralize free radicals which we get when in the sun and a Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) complex to protect and strengthen skin's moisture barrier against environmental aggressors. Formulated exclusively with mineral sunscreens: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.
DAILY PROTECTION FORMULA
UVA/UVB Infra-red radiation protection, SPF50, Ocean-friendly, moisturiser and primer
Ideal for all skin types but especially for those who find it hard to include in their daily routine.
This is one of the most enjoyable SPF's I have ever used. It smells so delicious and the skin looks so glossy and even after use, you could mistake it for make-up. It is a real muti-tasker with full broad spectrum coverage (UVA, UVB and infra-red radiation protection) as well as being a lightweight daily moisturiser and primer.
It is formulated with avocado oil which is packed with Vitamin E to revitalise and replenish the skin. This gives the product an intensly moisturising quality, which soothes sun-exposed skin. Avocado Oil also works to renew cells to smooth fine lines and promoting collagen reproduction. It also contains Venuceane, an active ingredient sourced straight from the Caribbean Sea which provides UV protection and counters photo damage. Photo damage counts as ¾ of the cause of fine lines and wrinkles, it helps improve the overall appearance of the skin as well as provide ultra-high UVA and UVB protection.
It is Vegan-friendly, cruelty free and paraben free, suitable for sensitive skin and doesn't contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate - making it safer for our oceans!
MELAN 130+ PIGMENT CONTROL MESOPROTECH
UVA/UVB Infra-red radiation protection, and HEV. Tinted-emulsion, high protection.
Ideal for all skin types but especially for those with pigmentation concerns and darker skin tones.
The most important product on my shelf in the Summer months is Mesoestetic pigment control. I have many freckles and these are prone to joining up into large continents on my face (especially my upper lip) over the warmer months of the year. It's a tinted emulsion so gives a nice coverage and again makes the skin appear to have a more even-tone. It contains the ingredient azeloglycine in the formula which is anti-inflammatory which helps to regulate the enzyme responsible for melanin production, helping to prevent pigmentation. It has a UVA and UVB protection ensuring that the skin is protected from both sunburn and ageing.