Wednesday 1 July 2020

Let's Talk SPF - The Importance of Adding Sun Protection To Your Everyday Skincare

Shot on iPhone X

When it comes to SPF, we usually associate the product with slapping on sunscreen to sit in the sun during the Summer months. But here's the thing about SPF that more and more beauty gurus, influencers and the like are telling us; SPF is an every day product for the skin, regardless of season and you need to have it as part of your daily skincare routine. We ignore the fact that even though we may not see the sun in the cloudy skies, it still lights up what we see and it's UV-rays are still ever present. 

So here's a rundown of the importance of SPF and why you should be wearing it everyday. 

What is SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and the little number that always comes with it on a bottle is the indicative number for the measurement of time and how well that that SPF protects your skin. So you've got your 15, 30 and 50 and those little numbers give you different measurements. The way these numbers are defined is by the way scientists test the skin through patch testing; the measure how long it takes for the skin to 'burn' under UV lighting on skin applied with SPF and skin that isn't.

What SPF only really indicates is the protection against UVB rays, which cause sunburn and play a strong role in the development of skin cancer. The other rays we have to worry about are UVA rays; these are the cause for tanning, skin ageing and wrinkles, with its short waves also attributing to sunburn. 

Here's why they say to always read fine print because not all SPF products protect you against both sets of rays. Make sure to find the print on the bottle that says "broad spectrum" because this indicates that the SPF includes protection against UVA and UVB rays. 

How protective are the SPF numbers? 

Most commonly you will find that SPFs come in 15, 30 and 50 (or 50+) and each of these give  you a different level of protection. 

SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays.

SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays.

SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays. 

When you look at the numbers, though the SPF seems higher, the amount of protection it gives is not that much greater. However what this does indicate is that the SPF number gives you a touch more protection and time out in the sun without having to reapply. 

This does not mean to say that you can slap on your sunscreen once for the day and you're done. Nope. It is suggested that you continuously apply every couple of hours in order to continue that protection on your skin. Also, just because you've bought a higher SPF concentration does not mean that you should apply less - always apply the same amount regardless of the number. 

Does SPF protect different skin tones differently?

With the array of beautiful skin colours in the world, the way our skin reacts or adapts or protects can differ. It is considered that people with darker skin tones are less likely to sunburn and have minimal sensitivity to the sun's UV rays, due to the melanocytes in the skin that produce melanin - giving us our different pigmentations. 

However just because some of us may have a little bit of melanin doesn't mean we are immune to the sun's shine. 

Whilst darker skin tones are less likely to burn, sensitivity levels are lower and risk of skin cancer is less than lighter skin tones, they are not immune. It's also seen that some darker skin tones and their risk of skin cancer is increasing. So it's still important for us all to wear sunscreen & SPF regardless. Even us brown and black girls have to protect our skin on he regular.

What SPFs should I use for the best protection?

Something to remember; the skin on your face is most likely to have the most sun exposure on a daily basis. Let's be real, we aren't all always running around in swimwear or sunbathing but the sun's UV rays are always there. It's important to have an SPF specifically for your face and not just a moisturiser that includes it. See the thing is, as great as those products are because it's an easy "one and done", products that include SPF also have a whole array of other attributes which means SPF isn't always the key ingredient. Therefore it's important to have a specific SPF product for your face that you apply every day. 


SkinCeuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defence SPF50 - The next level of SkinCeuticals' cult classic SPF product, that includes 1% Tranexamic Acid that helps diminish discolouration and 2% Niacinamide that helps with redness and inflammatory conditions. With broad spectrum and high protection at the forefront, this SPF is perfect for your everyday skincare routine.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Protection Invisible SPF50+ Face Mist - Another broad spectrum sunscreen that is perfect to slip in your bag and carry with you throughout the day for top-ups every few hours. La Roche-Posay is renowned for it's skincare and sunscreen products, with a great selection of SPF products but the reason I chose this one for my list is because it's a mist. It has a light and fresh texture that keeps you refreshed but also protected.  

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defence SPF 30 - I have heard enough and more about Drunk Elephant that it had to be included in this list. It's Oxybenzone-free, non-toxic to marine life and loaded with antioxidants - basically a small miracle in a bottle. Whilst also protecting your skin from the sun, you'll be moisturised and fresh.

Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect Anti-Ageing Moisturiser SPF 30 - I was trying to steer clear of SPF infused moisturisers, but I read about this one and I think it might actually be a good option. As well as being a protective against UV rays, it also tackles pollution and blue light. It's also cruelty free, vegan friendly, paraben free and more. So a good option to check if you wanted an all in one that actually did work. 


There are all sorts of classic sunscreens/suncreams on the market that we've probably been using forever on our holidays, which you can also adapt to your everyday wear if you're showing off a bit of extra skin. My family have been using the Nivea range forever and I still use it, especially as I split my time between London and Sri Lanka, where in the latter the sun is always shining. But I thought if you were after something a little more, shall I say boujee, then I've found a few products to try out on Cult Beauty.

Soleil Toujours Organic Sheer Sunscreen Mist SPF 50 - This sunscreen is 70% organic and is made without allergenics oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are found commonly in sunscreens. It also includes the brands "EcoSunComplex", which is a formulation of red algae and Vitamins C & E, that work to keep the skin firm, smooth and bright. 

Coola Eco-Lux SPF 50 Unscented Sun Spray - This Coola product comes in various scents, but I thought I would simply share the unscented first. It's water resistant up to 80 minutes, which means you can swim and sweat for nearly an hour and a half before you need to reapply and continue your sun fun. It's also another sun mist that is full of organic components, which means it might be ideal for anyone who's got any allergies. 

Alpha-H Protection Plus Hand Cream SPF 50+ - This one stood out to me because I have never seen an SPF hand cream but I think it's a genius idea. We all love to carry a hand cream in our bags to keep moisturised and having something with an SPF in it will be even more perfect because you're give your skin the extra protection it needs. It's broad spectrum, so protects against UVA and UVB rays and also includes vitamins C & E which retain elasticity and smoothness of your skin.

Soleil Toujours 100% Mineral Sunscreen Glow SPF 30 - This product is more of a moisturiser, so if you're not a mist person, this is a great option for you. Alongside Soleil Toujour's EcoSunComplex formula, this sunscreen also includes the antioxidant ubiquinone that helps build collagen and elastin. This one is going to give you a sunkissed glow as well as protect you from the sun's rays. 

How & when do I apply SPF during my skincare routine?

This is something I had to figure out because I genuinely had no idea. Do I apply SPF at the beginning and then apply the rest of my products? Or do I do it last? But what happens when I put make up on after? If you haven't had these questions when it comes to sun protection, then you're either a genius or you know all this already. But I didn't, so I thought I'd share this with you. 

Sunscreen or SPF products should be the last layer of your skincare routine and it also takes the longest to absorb. So go about your normal skincare routine and leave your SPF until the very end. Then give it at least 10 minutes to set into your skin before you apply make up and you should be all good!

Things To Remember:

1. Always go for an SPF with 30 or above - even though the difference is minuscule, there's still a difference.

2. Check the label for "broad spectrum" so you're getting protection against both UVA and UVB rays!

3. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside so the product has time to kick in. 

4. Reapply every few hours and make sure you generously apply to the skin for the best protection. 

5. Check the "use by" and "expiration date" because if it's out of date, you're really doing yourself a disservice. 

6. Implement SPF into your everyday skincare routine, both girls and guys! It's important to look after your skin, not only for how good it looks but how healthy it stays.

Sending you lots of love and hoping you're staying safe!

Emily xx


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