Dr Justine Kluk helps us figure out which sunscreen we should be using
With so many sunscreen options available, picking sunscreen can feel overwhelming. We know that the ideal sunscreen should give broad spectrum UVA/ UVB protection and have an SPF of 30 or higher, but ticking those boxes doesn’t necessarily guarantee you will love how the product looks and feels. Here are my top tips to help you choose the right sunscreen for you.
Ideally look out for a broad spectrum sunscreen that will protect you against UVA and UVB, with an SPF of 30 minimum. Consider the following to help identify how your sunscreen can protect you.
Top tip: tinted SPF can filter visible light rays which is always an added bonus!
Have a think about what textures you generally like to wear, and what is most comfortable for you to wear all day.
Check the shelf life of the product - I’d extend this to all skincare products too. We’ve all been guilty of keeping a big bottle of sunscreen from a holiday or rare sunny spell during the British Summertime, and then digging it out of the bathroom cupboard again the following year. The problem is that using a product past its best-before date may mean that we are not effectively protected from the sun.
As a Dermatologist who specialises in treating acne, I see many people who question sunscreen because they’re worried about it making their skin oilier or increasing breakouts. This shouldn't have to be a concern. Here are some things to look out for in your sunscreen if you want a product that will complement your skin type or goals:
Renude recommends: SVR Sun Secure Fluide SPF 50
Renude recommends: Eucerin Anti-redness concealing day cream
Renude recommends: Heliocare Gel Oil-Free SPF 50
Renude recommends: Bioderma Photoderm Max Aqua Fluid SPF 50
Chemical filters absorb UV rays, breaking them down and releasing them as heat, while mineral or physical filters act as a physical barrier on the skin, reflecting UV light away. This is a simplification and there may be some crossover in the mechanisms. Both protect the skin well and whilst most people can use either chemical or mineral sunscreens, those with very sensitive skin, redness, rosacea, eczema or an impaired skin barrier from any other cause may find the mineral sunscreens easier to tolerate.
Those with darker skin tones will probably have experienced the dreaded white cast from sunscreen before. Two physical/ mineral filters; zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are silvery white in colour, which is why mineral sunscreens can often give an ashy appearance on the skin.
Sunscreens with chemical filters are less likely to do this as a rule of thumb. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, some chemical sunscreen filters can leave a white cast, and some formulas combining chemical and mineral filters can work well on all skin tones.
Hyperpigmentation of the skin is extremely common. It can be hormonal in nature (known as melasma) or the result of an injury or acne. Whatever the cause, these dark marks can be exacerbated by exposure to UV light, as well as High Energy Visible Light (HEV), e.g. blue light.
Contrary to popular opinion, the main source of HEV light comes from the sun, not your phone or computer screen. In order to protect your skin against light within both the UV and HEV parts of the spectrum, opt for a sunscreen formula that has either been specifically tested for this, or one that contains iron oxides.
These richly coloured pigments offer natural protection against HEV and will be present in any tinted sunscreen or powder, so you might want to consider choosing a tinted sunscreen or applying a tinted powder as an additional step over an untinted sunscreen.
Some people struggle to pick a sunscreen because their skin reacts to specific ingredients in skincare, or because their skin is sensitive in general.
Certain chemical UV filters in sunscreens can sometimes cause sensitivity of the skin (itching, stinging, redness etc.), or sting the eyes when applied around that area. It is also possible to be allergic to ingredients in your sunscreen, whether that is a UV filter, fragrance or even a preservative.
The term “hypoallergenic” is often used to indicate that a product causes fewer reactions, however, the use of this term is not regulated so it doesn’t always follow that the product in question will be well tolerated by users with sensitive skin or eyes.
As a general rule, if sensitivity tends to be a problem for you, consider opting for a formula with mineral filters as these are generally better suited to more sensitive skin types. However, there are also plenty of formulas on the market containing chemical filters that are specifically tested on sensitive skin. Eucerin, Bioderma and SVR Laboratories are some examples of brands that do this type of tolerance testing.
Remember: some reactions are allergic in nature so if your problem is persistent or severe, make sure to discuss this with your doctor who can refer you for patch testing.
Heliocare’s 360 range is especially unique, as the full range offers broad spectrum protection from UVA/UVB and Visible light rays. Their range is great for anyone with hyperpigmentation and they also have mineral, oil-free and anti-redness options. We especially love the Advanced Sun Screen Gel SPF 50.
If you are looking for sunscreen to help beat dark marks, Eucerin Pigment Control SPF 50 is my most recommended. It is invisible on application, leaves no white cast and includes Eucerin's own patented Thiamidol , making it great for those with hyperpigmentation. I think it’s also a great base for make-up application, it's scent-free and doesn’t block pores!
Thank you Farmer have a great range of sunscreens if you are keen for an invisible finish. They spread well and do not leave a white cast, whilst leaving a rather dewy complexion. I’d recommend this range for normal, or combination skin types. We recommend the Project Water Sun Screen SPF 50
The texture of the Daily Defense Face Mousse is not only fun but purposeful. Every bottle outlines how much mousse to apply, which is great for knowing you're using enough to be fully protected. The texture is lightweight, invisible on the skin and sinks into the skin rapidly. Although quick drying, I always feel very hydrated, and it is another great base for makeup.
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