There’s been a lot of chat on the old ‘gram this week about SPF, specifically why not to use it – the argument that it has chemicals, you need some unprotected sun exposure and it damages the ocean. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all bollocks and this excellent post tells you why! I really believe that daily SPF is the best thing you can do to protect your skin against ageing.
Also, and perhaps more importantly, at 29, I heard the words ‘You have skin cancer, it’s stage II, you need to come in straight away’. Life changing and pretty scary, they said if I’d left it another six months I probably wouldn’t have made it, but I’m here and I’m ok so I count myself very fortunate.
I tell you this as it’s why I’m so passionate about SPF. I was before I got skin cancer, I knew the dangers of the sun, I’m incredibly fair skinned, I also knew that sun can age the skin like nothing else, but having cancer crystalised it. I had also used sunbeds. When I look back now, I can’t believe I was so stupid and I would wholeheartedly like them to be completely banned, (I’ve signed this petition,) but I was doing a job where I had to show my body and it made me feel better, I figured if I had a few and was careful, I would be ok. Well, I wasn’t. So, as anyone who knows me knows, I bang on about SPF all the time and that’s why!
If you want to preserve your skin and protect yourself from ageing, slap it on, EVERY DAY. Now that we’re in what constitutes summer in Britain, or if, as the air bridges are open you’re off somewhere nicer, make sure you stock up. (I advocate using it all year round, but I do switch to having SPF in a moisturiser in winter instead of separately). Generally people tend not to use enough per application, or apply frequently enough, but don’t scrimp. As I use a lot, I go through it quite quickly so I personally don’t like to spend a fortune on it. Here are a few of my favourites.
For the face
I love a French Pharmacy anyway and both Avène and La Roche Posay are two of my favourite French skincare lines and fall into the mid price range. (You’ll notice I’m not recommending anything under SPF50 for the face!)
I have the La Roche Posay ultra light invisible fluid for the face. I like it and I can see why other people love it, it’s very light and sinks in pretty quickly. As it’s so light I think it’s perfect for oilier and combination skins and it’s also not thick white so good for darker skins as well as it doesn’t look ashy. For me, as I have drier skin, I prefer the Avène SPF cream as it’s thicker in texture and feels more nourishing.
It’s not widely available here, but I have found it on Amazon, Neutrogena does an SPF 70 for the face which I prefer in hotter countries. There is a lot of debate on whether anything over 50 makes a difference, I can certainly say that with 50 I can still catch the sun and even get pink, whereas with 70 I don’t.
Clarins also do a really good SPF50 for the face, as do Chanel, but it’s obviously much more expensive! For tops ups in the day, I discovered this a few years ago and absolutely love it, the La Roche Posay SPF50 spray. You can spray it over make-up without clogging pores so it’s perfect if you’re just stepping out to get lunch or walking home.
For the Body
I adore the smell of Hawaiian Tropic, a hypnotic and transportive scent of holiday; coconut, sand and sea seem to be encompassed in these creams, though they have never been great at higher SPFs. I’m delighted they now have an SPF50 cream for the body and I like to top up with the SPF30 spray on my arms and legs, (SPF30 is nowhere near high enough for my more delicate parts though!)
Discovering aerosols for the body was a game changer for me. This meant I could literally spray it on, mostly not have to rub in at all and be protected. Lots of brands are doing these now and I find they’re much easier to use than a pump, a pump tends to congeal, stop spraying and you definitely can’t use them upside down!
The Ambre Solaire dry mist SPF50 is light, I also like the smell and the ‘dry’ means it disappears into the skin. Also good is another La Roche Posay, slightly pricer, but excellent the dry body mist spray.
For my U.S. friends, I really like Banana Boat and Coppertone ranges which are harder to find here in the UK and also cheaper in the US.
I’ve seen a lot of buzz and good feedback about the new Sunbum range which looks amazing and what I will buy next. It’s also an American brand, but now available exclusively at Boots.
I hope that helps, enjoy the sun – safely – and with no unnecessary wrinkles! Let me know if you have other favourites.