Everything’s better in summer. The sunshine’s out, day drinking is totally acceptable, and your highlight looks better than ever. Our serotonin levels are sky-high and it’s hard to think of anything bad about being in the sun.
But let’s be real. There are risks that come with being in the sun, we just tend to forget them when we’re out living our best lives (guilty as charged). Regular exposure to the sun can advance the ageing process, cause hyperpigmentation and even skin cancer. Yikes.
Applying daily SPF is a guilt-free way to catch those rays. A few years ago, SPF products were only able to protect you from sun damage. But fast forward to now and they’re a vital part of your skincare routine for rebuilding collagen, hydration, oil control, and free radical protection. It should be applied all year round to get the most of its benefits but it’s non- negotiable in summer - another reason why it’s the best time of the year.
What even is SPF anyway?
SPF stands for ‘sun protection factor’, which we’re sure you know. But what many people don’t know is it prolongs the effects of burning on your skin. For example, if you usually burn after 30 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 20 will protect you for twenty times longer than that. We all know someone who lives for the sun that refuses to wear SPF 50 because they think it won’t give them as much of a tan, when it’ll actually protect them from sunburn for fifty times longer. The lower the SPF, the more you’ll have to get off that sun lounger, put down your cocktail and reapply.
Now you know what SPF is and why we’re all for it, it’s time to get into SPF 101.
6 things you need to know about SPF
Every skin tone needs SPF
Even if you don’t burn easily or are blessed with skin that only needs to look at the sun to turn beautifully bronzed, you’re not above wearing SPF. Sorry not sorry. You may be above having to attempt to pull off the lobster look, but no one gets a free pass when it comes to what’s happening beneath the skin.
Skin cells regularly exposed to the sun can lose moisture and essential oils, making the skin appear dry, flaky and tired - a hotbed for fine lines and wrinkles. It also breaks down collagen and elastin which are responsible for the skin’s shape and volume. The scary part is you won’t know how much damage has been done until it’s too late. Not to mention skin cancer - silent but deadly.
The more time we spend in the sun, the more melanin we produce which can get clogged in clusters beneath the skin. This then appears as an uneven skin tone from the surface. Darker skin tones produce more melanin to give its darker colour and are more likely to be affected by hyperpigmentation as it already contains a high amount.
You should apply SPF daily, even if it isn’t sunny
It seems odd to be applying SPF when it’s a cloudy day but UVA and UVB rays can penetrate through the clouds - a whopping 80% of them according to the Skin Cancer Foundation! That’s a serious statistic that should be taken seriously.
The weather also tends to be unpredictable these days (thanks global warming), and we can live through all four seasons in one day. The sun could make an appearance at any time and you don’t want to be caught out without any SPF on. Collagen begins to break down in just 10 minutes of being in the sun, and we don’t need to tell you how it’s much harder to rebuild collagen than to apply SPF.
But how do I top up my SPF with a full face of makeup?
We’re glad you asked. Topping up our SPF every few hours seems impossible when we’ve got a full face of makeup on. When we think of SPF, we think of sunscreen or primers and foundations with built-in SPF if you’re a fan of shortcuts. But primer can only be used once as part of your prep and putting layer upon layer of foundation on is the recipe for cakey makeup. And putting sunscreen on top of your makeup is just all kinds of wrong.
If you don’t want to mess up your masterpiece, we recommend using a powdered sunscreen. Not only do they give you a boost of SPF without compromise, but they’ll also keep oiliness at bay on a hot day. It’s important to remember to apply powder to all of the areas of your face and not just your t-zone. Colorescience do some amazing powdered sunscreens.
Not all sunscreens protect you from UVA and UVB rays
The sun emits two types of ultraviolet rays which pose different threats to the skin. UVA rays have the power to penetrate deep into the skin causing long-term cell damage, premature ageing, hyperpigmentation, sunspots and some types of skin cancer. To get a sense of how strong they really are, they can even sneak past glass, so you don’t have to be outside to be at risk.
UVB rays can’t reach as far into the skin but they’re just as damaging to its outer layers. Unlike UVA rays, its damage can appear quickly on the skin such as reddening and sunburn. It’s still a factor of photo-ageing but mostly responsible for the majority of skin cancers.
The ozone layer has our backs when it comes to UVB rays as according to the American Cancer Society, they only make up 5% of the rays which reach the ground. While this doesn’t seem like much, UVB rays are way more intense and can directly destruct your DNA cells. Any DNA cell damage caused by UVA rays is indirect. There may be less of them but they’re on a direct warpath and you need a broad-spectrum sunscreen on your side.
Use the dot technique when applying sunscreen to your face
When applying some skincare products, we’re advised to warm them up in the palms of our hands first. But sunscreen isn’t one of them. This isn’t just to avoid super sticky palms (even though it’s a bonus), but dotting sunscreen when applying will ensure even coverage.
Apply three dots to your forehead and each cheek, two for each side of the nose and chin, one to your cupids bow, and a smaller amount on the eyelid and under the eye. If you’re using built-in SPF, follow this same technique to get enough of the product for the full amount of protection.
Don’t forget to protect your lips and under eyes
All this talk about protecting our complexion when our lips and eye areas have the thinnest skin on our face. They’re the most vulnerable to sun damage but are the most neglected.
Sometimes no matter how much sleep we get, we still look like we’ve been on a three-day bender and even concealer can’t save us. Using SPF underneath our eyes can actually help to prevent dark circles from the overproduction of melanin. The skin around our eyes gets even thinner as we age and regular exposure to the sun can speed up the process. Blood vessels will get closer to the surface and appear more prominent resulting in darker under eyes.
Most sunscreens for the face are also safe to use around the eye region, if you can master applying it without getting it inside your eye that is. But you need to be careful about what type of sunscreen you use. It’s best to use mineral-based formulas that use zinc and titanium that tend to be gentler on the skin. Chemical sunscreens containing oxybenzone or avobenzone are more likely to irritate the skin and cause a reaction.
But when it comes to the lips, you’ll want to invest separately in a balm. Try Image Skincare's ORMEDIC Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex
SPF products we recommend at Young LDN
Did you know hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water in just one molecule? It’s naturally produced by the body but over time, like many of our good cells (sigh), begin to be produced less. Topping up your hyaluronic acid levels can dramatically improve the hydration of your skin.
If you have skin that’s on the dry side, high amounts of exposure to the sun can dry out your skin even more and become scaly and inflamed - a far cry from the glowy skin you were after. Dermaceutic has paired hydrating heroes hyaluronic acid and aloe vera together to create a miracle moisturising formula for even the roughest skin leaving it soft to the touch. But we wouldn’t recommend letting it get to this point before you take action. Regular use will put you back on the path to perfection and keep you there.
Ah, primer. An essential for a hot summer day to keep your makeup from sliding off your face. It’ll create a flawless finish by smoothing the texture of your skin and covering imperfections with a universal tint to suit your skin tone. When push comes to shove it’ll hold its own so you can spend less time touching up and more time turning heads. But this isn’t all it’s good for.
It offers antioxidant protection against free radicals, hydration, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and DNA repair against UVA, UVB and HEV rays, or blue light. As if UV rays weren’t bad enough, there’s one more ray you should have on your radar that reaches even deeper into the skin from digital devices. This double threat sunscreen and primer can help to protect you against all three.
Picture this. You’re meeting the girls for a day out in the sun and the only bag that goes with your outfit can hardly fit your phone, purse, and keys inside. Putting a makeup brush, sunscreen and powder in as well seems near to impossible. And switching to a bigger bag that’ll give you an arm workout on a day you’ll already be fighting off breaking a sweat isn’t ideal.
Colorescience has everything you need to protect your face from the sun and oiliness in a neat compact device. Brush on your SPF with a lightweight powder rich in minerals and a matte finish. It has a super easy no-fuss application brush which makes applying SPF no longer seem like a chore.
It’s on the sensitive side whilst providing intense SPF 50 protection - perfect for anyone who has rosacea or eczema and needs extra TLC in the sun (and lovers of small bags).
Putting sunscreen on when you have oily skin can be a challenge. Whilst others witness their skin clear up in the sunshine, it only leads to more blemishes when you have oily skin. Clogged pores are the biggest reason behind pimples and adding a thick, sticky sunscreen into the mix sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
It’s tough, we get it. But it’s no excuse to skimp on the sunscreen or you’ll have more to worry about than a few spots. Heliocare oil-free gel is the way to go. It’s an ultra-light gel- based formula free from excess oil that melts into the skin without a trace.
This is so much more than just SPF. It provides extreme hydrating, antioxidants, collagen production, and DNA cell repair. It combines the latest anti-ageing technology with skin health to create the ultimate formula for sun-seekers.
As UVA and UBA rays destroy collagen and DNA cells, this treatment works overtime to repair and protect them resulting in an overall youthful appearance. It’s basically botox in a bottle.