In fact, sun protection should be the number one product that you turn to each and every day. Yes, even when it’s cold and grey outside and your last beach holiday is a distant memory.
The major reason for this is because sunscreen helps to protect the skin from free radicals. Free radical formation occurs as a result of aggressors such as UV and pollution in our environment. If the skin is not protected from free radical damage, collagen breakdown can be accelerated and ageing signs start to appear.
But while this all sounds a little scary, a teaspoon’s-worth of anti-ageing sunscreen on your face and neck each day can make a big difference in how your skin ages. But not all sunscreens are created equal and it’s important that you know the details to look for when choosing one suited to you. Here’s what you should look for when buying an everyday facial sunscreen:
The first major detail is SPF (Sun Protection Factor), a numerical figure that tells you the level of protection present in the formula. The higher the number, the more protection the product provides. It’s advisable to not go any lower than an SPF of 15 and reapply when you are in the sun or have perspired. SPF 40+ will ensure your skin receives the most effective protection.
You should always look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen as this means it protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA is a long-wave ray of light that accounts for around 95% of the ultraviolet radiation that reaches our skin. It’s also responsible for causing skin cancers and premature photo ageing. And, while this process is painless, it causes damage deep within the skin all year round which will speed up the appearance of wrinkles, lines and lost elasticity.
UVB on the other hand appears most commonly in the summer when the sun is at its strongest. It doesn’t reach as deeply into the skin as UVA does but it can play a part in causing skin cancer and top-level skin damage such as pigmentation and burning. This is why it’s really important that your suncream doesn’t just protect the skin from UVB, as it’s UVA that does most of the structural, deep-level damage.
Ingredients and texture
Finding a sunscreen suited to your skin type will ensure it becomes a pleasurable part of your skincare routine, rather than a sticky extra layer that you eventually give up on. There are now so many types to choose from including sensitive and super-light fluids that won’t add any extra weight to your skin. It can also be advisable to look for a sun cream created especially for the face as it will be lighter in texture than those for the body. Try Vichy’s Idéal Soleil Anti-Ageing SPF 50 – a sunscreen enriched with antioxidants such as vitamin C and black tea that can help to protect the face from signs of photo-ageing.
If you have an oily, combination skin type, look out for mattifying formulas designed to absorb excess sebum such as Vichy’s Ideal Soleil Mattifying ￼Face Dry Touch Sun Cream￼￼ SPF50. With a blotting effect and shine control, it absorbs immediately into the skin and provides immediate protection against long UVA and UVB rays and pollution.
Top tip: Add a few drops of sunscreen into your usual moisturiser and apply as usual to ensure every part of your face and neck are thoroughly protected.