Sunshine ready: everything you need to know about SPFs
Scarlet Spy talks to Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, Medical Director/Founder of Adonia Medical Clinic, London, about the importance of adding a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) to your daily routine
According to beauty retailer Space NK, sales of SPF 50 have been consistently on the rise – why do you think this is?
I think social media has been a great driver for this with a lot of prominent skin accounts consistently posting information about how to wear sunscreen, the correct amounts to use and the dangers of omitting it from your daily routine.
SPFs formulas can be thick and greasy, though, has this changed?
There are more elegant SPFs on the market these days which are sheer in colour and have added ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. Hyaluronic acid helps keep the skin moisturised, while vitamin C protects from sun damage and can help fade skin discoloration. Both ingredients can help reduce the signs of ageing in skin — especially when they’re used together.
How do I find the right SPF for me?
Those with oily skin should opt for a more mattifying SPF; if your skin is prone to dryness, use a more hydrating product – one quick read of the back should give you all the information you need. It’s best to experiment with different brands and feels until you find one you really love and are happy to wear every day.
SPF used to be a summer-only product - should we be using SPF all year round?
Sunscreen should be the last step in your skincare routine all year round, using a minimum of factor 30 - my preference is 50. Even if it’s not sunny, you can still be exposed to UV rays. We also know that the effects are cumulative, so the more you protect yourself, the greater the benefits are over time – sadly, sun damage can take many years to show.
What SPF brands would you recommend for sensitive skin?
These products are all good for sensitive skin:
Rosalique anti-redness SPF 50
Altruist anti-redness and pigmentation SPF 50
Ultrasun SPF 50+ Extreme for sensitive skin
Le Roche Posey Athelios SPF 50
Gwyneth Paltrow recently revealed that she’s not ‘a head-to-toe slatherer’ of sunscreen – what is the best way to apply it for optimal coverage?
Well I wouldn’t follow that advice - my family and I are head-to-toe sunscreen slatherers; where I can’t slather, I wear protective clothing. The rule of thumb is to use ¼ of a teaspoon (approximately two full fingers) for the face and neck, and the size of a golf ball for the body.
What SPF product works well over make-up?
Sprays and SPF foundations work well but remember that the amount you need to give the desired coverage is ¼ teaspoon, so don’t replace your SPF with an SPF-laced foundation, rather work alongside it. Frequent re-application is important, too.
Should I be wearing SPF indoors?
If you are sitting by a sunny window then yes. UVA rays can travel through glass.
The sun’s rays can be particularly destructive for mature skin - why is that?
Harmful rays are equally troubling for all skin types; we just see the effects quicker in mature skin due to the slowing of the skin recovery time.
What are your personal favourite summer SPF products?
Eucerin SPF 50 Oil control
La roche posay athelios age correct SPF 50
Hello Sunday SPF 50 the essential one body lotion
And in the winter:
Murad invisiblur perfecting shield SPF 30 PA +++
The Spa Spies try out the latest spa products containing SPF
This sleek product comes in a silver and pearl tube with a pump-action top. It’s easy to measure and applies well with your fingers or a brush as part of a make-up routine. Top up every two to three hours depending on sun exposure.
Summer Spy says: “The top-level SPF and UVA protection means it’s perfect for very hot and sunny weather. The cream has a slight pigment to it, so there’s good coverage – almost like a BB cream. The oil-free base should help keep blemishes under control, giving you a little confidence. This will definitely make it into my beach-bag this summer.”
This product comes in a minty green, fully recyclable bottle with a pump-action top. Free from synthetic fragrance and any eco-nasties, its credentials mean it’s good for both your skin and the marine life.
Scarlet Spy says: “The vegan-friendly formula is a fantastic choice for the eco-conscious. Water babes will love it too, as it provides up to 80 minutes of waterproof protection - just make sure you re-apply post-swim. I found the formula light and easy to apply; the scent is non-offensive, too. Biomimetic Peptides and antioxidant-rich Abyssinian oil kept my skin feeling supple and smooth.”
This product comes a white tube with a silver pump and lid - dispensing the right amount of product is easy and mess-free. Along with UVA and UVB protection, it also contains an anti-oxidant complex with vitamin E and hyaluronic acid designed to nourish and protect the skin from the environment as well as sun exposure.
Summer Spy says: “Life Defence is a lightweight moisturiser which feels fresh and sinks into the skin quickly. It layers up easily too, with each application feeling as lightweight as the first. I could even apply it under my make-up without feeling overloaded.”