Whenever someone asks me what my number one skincare tip is, it’s always the same thing: Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. OK so that’s the same tip three times, but that’s how important it is.
If I could go back and tell teen Liz anything, it would be to wear facial sunscreen every single day, even when it’s cloudy out. Maybe then current Liz, aka me, wouldn’t have to be having all these treatments to fix pigmentation and sun damage.
You should wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days
“But why?” I hear you say. “The sun isn’t out so it’s fine right? No, definitely not. You march yourself back inside and put some sunscreen on STAT. Up to 80 per cent of the rays the sun radiates down on us can pass through clouds and cause invisible damage to your pretty, youthful skin. You may not notice is now, but you certainly will notice in the future: think photoaging (a leathery skin look), discolouration, fine lines, sun spots, and sagging. Pretty much all the things you don’t want your skin to do. Not to mention the big one: skin cancer. Incidences of skin cancer are on the rise and wearing sun cream dramatically reduces your chance of contracting the potentially deadly disease.
And even when you’re not going outside much
Incidental sun damage happens, in fact, it can even get to you through plane windows, people! PLANES. Walking to your car? Sun exposure. Driving? Sun exposure. Sitting near a window? Sun exposure. By making sun cream a part of your everyday life you can bypass ALL of this incidental damage you might sustain just by doing your thing. Put. It. On. Every. Single. Day.
The coverage in your makeup is normally not enough
Yes, your foundation says it has SPF in it but the volume is not high. The amount of product you’d actually have to put on to get the full benefit of the SPF is way more than you’d normally put on your face. It’s better than nothing, don’t get me wrong, but if you want proper coverage, you’re going to need to put on a layer of foundation beneath your regular makeup.
Conversely, having a powder with an SPF in it is useful for touch-ups during the day.
What should you look for in a sunscreen?
You want something with a MINIMUM SPF 15. Ideally, you’ll be using something that’s 30+ or higher. Apply it over the full face and right down to your neck and decolletage (remember, for skin care purposes, your face stops at your boobs, ladies).
You should also see if your sunscreen is labelled as “broad spectrum”, which means it will cover both UVA and UVB rays.
Also, take a look at the active ingredients: is your sunscreen a chemical or physical sunscreen. Physical varieties act as a barrier, physically blocking the rays and reflecting them off your skin. Ingredients in these include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain chemicals (duh) that interact both together and with your skin’s general makeup and work to absorb ultraviolet activity.
So which do you choose? Both are great, but if you have sensitive skin maybe go for the physical stuff. Chemical formulas can sometimes irritate skin that angers easily.
LIZ’S FAVOURITE SUNSCREENS FOR SUMMER 2018
Hop & cotton The Skinshield, $58
This mineral sunscreen is formulated with 21 per cent zinc oxide. I adore it because it sinks into my skin SO easily. It also promotes DNA repair and prevents cellular damage. There’s no whiteness, suitable for sensitive skin and is formulated without chemical fillers, fragrance, alcohol and dyes.
Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF 50+, $79
Broad Spectrum (that’s good, remember?) sun protection, ideal for everyday use. Yes, it’s slightly pricier but that’s because it’s also a moisturiser with extremely high UVA and UVB protection, perfect for sun sensitive skin or for use after any kind of skin procedure (like peels, dermal needling etc).
Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face 50+, from $18
Protection against ALL the rays in a cream with a hydrating matte finish. It has the added benefits of hyaluronic acid, which is super moisturising, and vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant thought to reduce sun damage and protect against free radicals). It also has a lightweight formula that is a really great makeup base.
LA ROCHE-POSAY Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Ultra Light, $29.99
An excellent chemist brand of physical sunscreen that’s all kinds of good for your skin. It’s fragrance-free, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores.) It has such a nice, light texture excellent for sensitive skin (even skin is known to be prone to sun intolerance). It’s also formulated to work well for post-procedure skin.
About the author
Elizabeth Best is a journalist, beauty expert, foodie and travel lover with a mild obsession for all things shimmery. She likes long walks down the makeup aisle and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @thebeautypalate.