Can SPFs save your skin, no sweat?

— by Alyson Walsh

Ab Fab the movie

Ab Fab the movie

Since the sun’s finally getting out a bit more, the annual sunscreen debate gets its airing, writes Vicci Bentley. Do you really need a special one for your face? And the big one – aren’t SPFs in moisturisers and makeup enough? Hmm. A couple of weeks ago, a feature in The Daily Wail put SPF makeup to the UV test and found the vast majority of products missed the mark.

So let’s unpick this. First the ugly news. Upwards of 13,500 cases of deadly malignant melanoma are diagnosed in the UK each year, but let’s park that stat for now. Brands put sunscreens in day creams and makeup so they can claim to be ‘anti-ageing’ – at least 80% of lines, wrinkles and sagging is caused by UV damage, studies tell us. The problem is – and studies have shown this too – that even though we know the risks, we seldom apply enough sunscreen on our bodies, let alone our faces. The reason? Too much product, too little skin, I reckon.

Some Of My Favourite Summer Essentials The Facial SPFs That You'll Actually Want To Wear

Photo: London Beauty Queen

Experts say we need to apply at least two milligrams per square centimetre of skin to reach the SPF level on the tube. In old money, that’s a full teaspoon for your face – and who uses that amount of moisturiser, let alone foundation? Experts also say – and this one’s really counter-intuitive – that no matter how high the SPF, we need to reapply it every two hours. So in the real world, we’ll either be dripping like greaseballs, caking it like clowns and spending lost hours in the loo re-grouting our slap. Clearly, some streamlining is called for.


Thankfully, specialist suncare brands have taken the greaseball issue on board and formulated low fat, high protection facial formulas which double as moisturisers and even foundations. No messing about, I’m going as high as I can (SPF50 is the new SPF30, darlings) in the hope that once I’ve blended the stuff nicely, I’ll probably get around SPF40 in reality. I’m also using products with high UVA protection to screen my pale, Celtic skin from the most deeply penetrating, dangerously ageing rays (SPFs only protect against ‘burning’ UVB, remember?) This combination will, I hope, prevent my age spots from darkening and my actinic keratoses from turning arsy. Because make no mistake, by the time we’re 50, many of us will have accumulated dodgy cells which need serious monitoring.


What am I using? Loving La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Dry Touch Gel SPF50+, £18, (available HERE) which feels a bit thick at first, but settles to a lovely no-shine finish that, with a light dusting of powder, behaves itself all day. (You see, I don’t have time to reapply, either!). Then, if you’re a luxe-bunny with slightly dry skin, Sisley’s Super Soin Solaire Tinted Sun Care, SPF30, £103 comes in four of their best-selling foundation shades and smells fabulously of sage and marjoram (available HERE). If you prefer to use sun protection under your regular makeup or over serum for a weekend, bare skin look, two low-fat stunners appeared this year. Bioderma Photoderm Aquafluid, SPF50+/UVA24, £13.50 (available HERE) and SkinCeuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense, SPF30, £39 (available HERE) both contain matte-finish, oil-absorbing powders that blur wrinkles, too. Safe skin, no sweat, I’m saying…
















Keep Reading

Creative women at work: Amelia Bullmore

Since the sun’s finally getting out a bit more, the annual sunscreen debate gets its airing, writes Vicci Bentley. Do you really need a special one for your face?