The Simple Guide to SPFs
Fiona Klonarides, beauty journalist and editor of The Beauty Shortlist www.thebeautyshortlist.com shares her “stay-safe” sunscreen tips…
With the Great British Summer doing an award-winning impersonation of the Mediocre British Summer (there’s still time though for a blistering July though…is there?) sun block is probably not top of the shopping list right now, unless you’re off to Sardinia or Santorini soon. Sunscreen is one of those important “beauty essentials” that we tend not to take much notice of, until it’s too late. As anyone who’s ever turned up at their best friend’s summer wedding with two layers of foundation over a beet red face and strap marks in all the wrong places will agree, “burn in haste, repent at leisure” is not a beauty mantra!
1. SPF30 is fast becoming the “new minimum” (see No. 7.) SPF15 simply isn’t strong enough for most skins, long term, particularly in hotspots like the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, parts of the US or Australia – even a sunny summer in the UK calls for Factor 30.
2. Sun damage is a super-ager, so apply an SPF50 to your face, hands and neck for extra protection from those skin ravaging rays.
3. Always apply sun block 20 minutes before exposure, then every two hours or so.
4. “Broad spectrum UVA/UVB” is what we need to look for on the label. UVA rays can penetrate clothes, windscreens and they damage skin’s collagen and elastin (the leathery look). UVB rays tan your skin but they’re also the worst skin cancer culprits.
5. Remember, UVA = skin Aging, UVB = skin Burning (and both can cause cancer)
6. How much blocks what? SPF15 blocks 94% of UVB rays, SPF30 blocks 97%, SPF50 blocks 98% and SPF100 blocks 99%.
7. While in Britain a lot of us still think we can get away with an SPF15, the American Academy of Dermatology advises using an SPF30 as the absolute minimum (for all types of skin).
8. One “shot glass” of sun cream is about right for the whole body – most of us apply about a quarter of what we need so we’re chronic “under-applyers”.
9. Don’t forget your lips which can be vulnerable to skin cancer. Look for an SPF30+ lip balm.
10. Sadly, there is no such thing, in reality, as completely safe tanning and dermatologists recommend we apply an SPF daily, even on cloudy days. The good news is that self-tanners are better than ever – they’re really big beauty news this year. Ironically – or appropriately? – some of the newest self-tan brands that are launching this year are coming out of the new capital of self-tanners, Ireland. And no, a tinted moisturiser with built-in SPF15 is not a substitute for sun block, but it’s better than nothing.