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SPF 101 & The best option for YOU!

If you’re not already wearing sunscreen each and every day, this is your sign so keep reading to learn how to get started. And if you are, YES a big round of applause goes to you!

The world of SPF can be so bloody confusing. From Chemical, Physical to Mixed, Fluid, Oil-free,Tinted, Fragrance Free and so on. Theres so many on the market but finding the right one can be super tricky. So I thought I'd choose a few of my favourites for you but break it down...

SPF stands for “sun protection factor,” and it’s how we measure the protection from the sun’s UVB rays. For example, SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. Experts recommend staying between 30 and 50 SPF. Imagine that your skin normally begins to burn after 10 minutes in full sun without any protection. A 30 SPF sunscreen would provide 30 times the protection of no sunscreen. That means 30 times longer before you start to burn, or in this case, 300 minutes. You’ll want to make sure your sunscreen is “broad-spectrum,” meaning it protects from both UVA and UVB rays. An easy way to distinguish the two is UVA(ging) and UVB(urning). Everyone under the sun should wear sunscreen, no matter your skin tone.Since sunscreens naturally break down over time, I recommend reapplying every two hours, and even more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating.

Chemical Sunscreens vs Physical (a.k.a Mineral)

Both of these SPF's absorb the sun’s UV rays to help prevent skin damage, but physical sunscreen can reflect some UV rays. Neither is necessarily better than the other, they just use different active ingredients. Chemical SPF typically uses actives like avobenzone and homosalate, whereas physical SPF will contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

Unfortunately traditional Physical SPF's are known to leave a white cast on darker skins due to Zinc oxide & Titanium dioxide. However there are plenty on the market that have tried to master the "no white cast" claim.

Physical SPF Options (Affordable to Splurge)

1. NeoStrata® Sheer Physical Protection SPF 50 R590

This SPF is an ultra-sheer, physical broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides protection from UV radiation and DNA damage. It comes in a sheer universal tint that blends with your skin’s natural tone. Offers a satin finish and preferably favoured by more combination to dry skin types.

2. SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 R700

(All Skin Types)

Definitely many peoples favourite! It's a lightweight, 100% mineral/physical daily photoprotection sunscreen that provides a sheer universal tint that is adaptable to all skin tones. Got your two Physical SPF Ingredients as well as Vitamin E to help fight free radical damage. A beautiful SPF to boost radiance and for a more luminous complexion.

3. Exuviance Sheer Daily Protector SPF 50 PA++++ R655

(Sensitive Skins)

Is an ultra-fine transparent fluid that has mineral filters and antioxidants to help protect and prevent skin ageing. It contains Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide together with a Poly Hydroxy/Bionic complex of Gluconolactone and Lactobionic to help prevent collagen breakdown and skin ageing. Multi-antioxidants including Vitamin E and a highly purified, concentrated form of Green Tea Extract help to reduce cell breakdown thereby protecting cellular DNA. Such a divine brand & SPF!

Chemical Sunscreens (Affordable to Splurge)

1. Avène SPF 50+ Fragrance-Free Fluid R275

(Normal - Combination Skins)

This SPF offers effective broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. It's finish is non-greasy and non-sticky, leaving skin velvety smooth. The addition of two antioxidants Pre-tocopheryl + Thialidine (antioxidant complex) adds another layer of protection to the skin.

2. Bioderma Photoderm Aquafluid SPF 50+ R315

(Dry Touch, Combination & Oily)

This is a moisturising, ultra-light sunscreen with a dry-touch (anti-shine) finish and very high protection. It also initially leaves a bit of a white cast therefore best for phototypes 1-4 but not darker prototypes. It also contains potent anti-oxidant ingredients like Ectoin & Tocopherol.

3. HeliocareUltra 90 Gel SPF 50+ R410

Ultra light weight SPF that absorbs quickly, leaving no ashy cast, or sticky residue on the skin. It Contains Green Tea to help neutralise harmful free radicals that can cause premature ageing as well as skin cancer. Phytosphingosine helps control sebum production and reduce the proliferation of C. acnes.

4. Bioderma Pigmentbio Day Care SPF 50+ R450

(Pigmentation, Dark Marks, Combination)

If you've been following along on my stories you'll know this one of my favourites moisturisers/SPF options. It is a brightening day cream with a built-in high-factor broad-spectrum sunscreen to help prevent the formation of pigmentation. It contains Salicylic Acid (BHA) exfoliates & refines pores. Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) improves skin elasticity & pigmentation. Azelaic Acid which has potent anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-oxidants to help fight free radical damage.

Mixed UV Sunscreens (Most popular)

La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMUNE 400 Invisible Tinted Fluid SPF50+ R280

This sunscreen has an ultra-light, moisturising texture that offers a high factor broad-spectrum protection, including long UVA. Contains a universal tint. Suitable for combination, or oily skin types with any skin sensitivities.

Heliocare 360° Pigment Solution Fluid SPF 50+ R550

Ultra-light sunscreen that helps prevent and correct hyperpigmentation while unifying skin tone. Suitable for all skin types aiming to treat dark marks. Suitable for Fitzpatrick skin phototype 1 – 4. Niacinamide and Ellagic Acid improve skin’s elasticity, dramatically enhancing barrier function and helping to improve discoloration.

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 R550

This unique formula glides onto skin quickly and undetected, so we love it as a primer before makeup or simply as a beautiful glow on a clean face. Personally I have not loved the texture of this as it's very "siliconey"but that's why it makes for the perfect primer under makeup.

Huxley Stay Sun Safe SPF 50+ PA++++ R440

Is a gently moisturising antioxidant-rich sunscreen developed with high factor broad-spectrum UV filters. It contains one of the most popular ingredients at the moment Centella Asiatica Extract is an antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory. Smells amazing and the texture is silky & not tacky.

ISDIN Age Repair Fusion Water SPF 50 R580

Is an award-winning triple-action anti-photoaging sunscreen that is indicated for the prevention, repair and reduction of visible signs of skin ageing.Contains Hyaluronic Acid & peptides to plump up the skin & prevent ageing from occuring.

Dermalogica Oil Free Matte SPF 30 R999

This oil-free option not only protects against the sun, but actually treats acne and soothes inflammation, while absorbing excess oil to prevent future breakouts. Oil absorbers ingredients help maintain an all-day matte finish, preventing shine without any powdery residue. Sheer formula provides defense against skin-ageing UV light.

SPF Mists/Sticks for reapplication throughout the day

Heliocare 360° Invisible Spray SPF 50+ R560

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-shine Invisible Fresh Mist SPF 50 R290

Vichy Daily Care Invisible Mist SPF50

Colorescience Total Protection Sport Stick SPF 50 R710

Frequently asked Q's

What does PA with a whole lot of "++" stand for?

The PA grading system was established in Japan, and is meant to inform users of the level of protection from UVA rays. PPD is tested on a variety of people, all exposed to UVA light. Every test subject is analyzed on how long it takes for their skin to tan.

PA+ means your sunscreen provides some protection against UVA rays, PA++ provides moderate protection, and PA+++ offers the best protection of the three. Recent advancements have included the introduction of PA++++ products in certain countries. It's a little confusing.... I know!

Why would my SPF Pill?

Possible reasons for a sunscreen to pill is due to it containing silicones, talc, mica or iron oxide which have a tendency to ball up or flake on the skin rather than being absorbed by the epidermis.

Best tinted SPF?

Heliocare Gelcream Color SPF 50 (Light & Brown) R380

SPF15 BB Cream Even Tone Light & Medium 50ml R179

UV Protect SPF50 Skin Defence BB Cream 40ml R288

They can be so hard to come by! So if you know of any good ones let me know in the comment section of this blog.

So I hope this round up helps you figure out what is best suited to you and maybe tickles your fancy... Share with your friends if you think they might find this useful too.

Lots of love,

Mands xx

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