The Importance of Sun Protection & Answering ‘Do You Need To Wear SPF Daily?’
A decade ago wearing sunscreen or a lightweight SPF outside of the summer holiday period would’ve been as foreign as double cleansing or the Insta-Brow; SPF was something saved for those few weeks a year that the UK was graced with sun (or were lucky enough to visit a beach,) when we rummaged around to find that sand-encrusted bottle that we bought at the airport. Oh how times have changed, with many of us uncompromising when it comes to daily protection. Our understanding and attitude towards damaging rays has changed hugely in the last few years, but we’re collectively still a little bit misinformed about the negative impact the environment can have on our skin and why we should be wearing our daily dose of sun protection.
Exposure to UV rays and pollution can wreak havoc on our skin, right down to its DNA; in fact it’s suggested that 80% of all signs of visible skin ageing are due to environmental aggressors, and therefore preventable (to a certain extent!) SPF should be a product we all use daily, no matter our age, in order to protect against accelerated ageing and pigmentation issues – but it’s also even more vital if you’re using AHAs, Retinol or Vitamin C in your skincare regime. (These ingredients speed up cell turnover and therefore thin the skin, meaning it’s easier for UV rays to penetrate the skin.)
For me it’s a non-negotiable, but for many of you it may be something you’re yet to fully integrate into your morning routine for fear of thick, gloopy, white formulas lingering under your foundation. But with the development of new textures and the emergence of new multi-tasking products, there’s a plethora of options that are actually a pleasure to use and offer something above and beyond basic protection. Once you find an SPF you love, it makes applying it every day a doddle – so here are seven of my current faves that will keep your complexion protected and radiant looking all year long.
ARK Skincare Skin Protector SPF30 Primer* (£36.00)
This was a game changer for me when I was introduced to it earlier this year; incredibly lightweight, not at all greasy and suitable for any age, this doubles up as a moisturiser and primer too. I tend to layer this either over my usual serum and moisturiser, or if I want a lighter skincare regime just pop this on alone – either way, it helps to keep my skin protected and hydrated while ensuring my makeup lasts all day long. Containing Vitamin E for antioxidant protection, Shea Butter to nourish and protect against free radicals, and vitamin-packed Sunflower, this is one that’s worthy of the hype. I’m down to the dregs of this and will definitely be replacing it; the ultimate lightweight SPF.
Image Skincare Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturizer SPF32+* (£48.00)
With a sweet lemon-sherbert-esque scent, this oil-free moisturiser glides over skin to leave a velvety smooth finish that’s touch dry in seconds. A little really goes a long way so be careful not to squeeze too much out of the bottle, but the texture is beautiful and the hydration boost it provides is amazing; it was love at first try for me. What’s special about this is the ‘micro-sponge technology’ that absorbs surface oils and gives skin a flawless, shine-free finish, ensuring a long-lasting makeup result and complexion that glows. Although this is expensive, it’s a worthy investment
Essence Hydrating + Perfecting Primer SPF20* (£3.79)
A budget friendly option best suited for younger skin, this is a great way to start introducing SPF into your daily regime; the water-like texture doubles up as a primer, offering decent protection alongside Kaolin (to help absorb oil) and Pomegranate (to nourish the skin.) I’m a big fan of the lightness of the product (I’m all about the lightweight SPF!) perfect for layering or adding beneath your usual makeup. Although it’s not the most advanced in terms of technology, protection or hydration, it’s a great addition to any routine if it gets you into good habits.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Great 8 Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF35* (£36.00)
If you’re already a fan of Elizabeth Arden skincare, then you’re going to love their new Daily Defense Moisturizer; super lightweight and nourishing, it dries to leave skin feeling supple and soft without any residue. I was a big fan of their City Smart SPF for many years, so I’m glad they’re bringing the same concept and texture to their man range – with many of the same added benefits. This contains White Horehound Flower Extract to protect the skin from the effects of Infrared and Blue Light (what our phones and devices emit,) Vitamin E Analog and Clary Sage to brighten and purify, as well as Japanese Bloodgrass Extract to hydrate and control oil production. The result is a healthy complexion that lasts all day long!
SJU Skincare Bespoke Sun Protection SPF30* (£39.00)
Something a little bit different, SJU believe bespoke skincare shouldn’t be unattainable. After filling in a brief online lifestyle questionnaire, one of their skin experts examines a photo upload to determines your unique skin needs – a bit like a facial appointment from the comfort of your home! Your personalised SPF will arrive at your door, and if you love it you can re-order or tweak your formula as and when something changes; it’s such an amazing idea, making a luxe personalised products all the more accessible. My personal core ingredients include a Phytolift Complex (to reduce fine lines and boost collagen) and Beta Glucan (to increase skin’s self defense and stimulate recovery.) Rich and creamy but not at all heavy or greasy, this is a beautiful moisturiser-like formula that effortlessly complements the rest of my skincare regime.
Make The Make Vitamin C Tinted Moisturiser SPF30* (£22.00)
If you like to keep your regime simple, then this tinted moisturiser with added benefits could be right up your street. Containing antioxidant Vitamin C and UV filters to protect skin from the damaging environment, it also offers a rich tint to create a more uniform and healthy glow without the added layers. Although I’m not a huge fan of the smell (it reminds me of a subtle fake tan!) I do really love the texture and finish: you may expect this to be really wet and dewy, but it actually dries down to leave a velvet finish and a subtle glow that just catches the light.
Erborian CC Dull Correct SPF25 Sunscreen* (£38.00)
Don’t let the purple tint put you off, as when this is massaged into skin it melts into a glowy and soft texture that leaves skin looking noticeably radiant. Designed to even out pigmentation and add subtle light to skin, this rich and creamy texture is perfect for using under your usual foundation – offering colour correcting properties, priming benefits and SPF in one. Additionally providing subtle blurring qualities, the formula includes antioxidant-rich Liquorice Extract for brightening and Centella Asiatica for soothing and hydrating the skin. One to whip out this winter, that’s for sure.
If you’re wondering at what point to apply your lightweight SPF, it should always be the last step in your skincare regime and before you start to apply makeup – ensuring your usual products can get to work, while keeping makeup in place and providing sufficient coverage. Although in the winter months it’s usually fine to apply once in the morning, in the warmer months you may want to top up once or twice with a mist or spray if you’re spending a lot of time outside.
But the most important thing is that you start using a daily SPF and protecting your skin from premature ageing and damage… Your future self will thank you for it!
Do you have any other fave lightweight SPF recommendations or favourites?
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