A decade ago wearing SPF outside of the summer holiday period would’ve been as foreign as double cleansing or the Insta-Brow; sunscreen 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 last 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.
UV rays are widely recognised as the number one cause of premature skin ageing, and they’re present every single day of the year – even if it’s grey and cloudy. 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 to a certain extent preventable. The rays can cause damage to our hydration levels as well as destroy collagen and elastin fibres found in the deeper layers of the skin, all of which is bad news if you want your complexion to look its best.
SPF should be a product we all use daily 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 – all of which speed up cell turnover and thin the skin, meaning it’s easier for UV rays to penetrate the surface. It’s a part of my routine that I refuse to compromise on, adding it as the last step in my skincare even if I’m only planning to pop out to the shops, and I definitely believe it’s helped me to remain fresh faced throughout my thirties.
I have high standards when it comes to beauty, but even more so when it comes to SPF; these are the four that I currently have on rotation, but they’re also the four that I’ve used for so long that I’ve gone through multiple bottles. I’d thoroughly recommend any one of them, and know you’ll find your perfect match here to suit your needs and budget…
SunSenseUK Daily Face SPF50+ (£20.99)
Made in Australia, offering the highest SPF allowable, Sunsense is suitable for all skin types (including sensitive skin.) Fragrance-free, oil-free and non comedogenic (it thankfully won’t block pores), the formula is super lightweight and enriched with Vitamin E & B3 to help improve skin texture, tone, hydration and elasticity. Not only does it work beautifully under makeup, but thanks to a subtle tint it helps to perk up the appearance of your skin when worn alone. This is my newest discovery, but it’s been a firm favourite for months now and a great affordable buy.
ARK Skincare Skin Protector SPF30 Primer (£36.00)
Incredibly lightweight, not at all greasy and suitable for any age, this works as a lightweight moisturiser and makeup 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 and award wins. In my opinion it’s the ultimate lightweight SPF, which is why I’m already on my third bottle!
IMAGE Skincare PREVENTION+ Daily Ultimate Protection Moisturizer SPF50 (£53.00)
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, which is why I’ve been using it for about 18 months. 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 – and the bottle is huge so it lasts an absolute age.
Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50 (£60.00)
The super lightweight tinted formula is perfect for layering, offering a quick-dry finish without any unwanted greasy residue. Not only does it protect from UVA and UVB rays, but pollution and blue light too, making it great for those in-city days when you need added resilience against the elements. A little really goes a long way, offering instant colour correction with a dose of brightening Vitamin C; this is some serious skincare and a really easy to use SPF, so it’s no surprise that I’ve gone through at least two of these already.
Any one of these would be a welcome addition to your skincare regime, and any one would offer you the protection and skin result you desire.
It’s hard to choose between them… Which is why I’ve got all four on pretty much constant rotation!
Which would you choose?