Happy new year one and all! I’m probably breaking many rules on the ’when is too late to say ’happy new year’’ here… but oh well; rules are there to be broken right haha? So HAPPY NEW YEAR! To start the year off well (albeit a month and a quite a few days late…) I thought i’d write a post on arguably the most important step in ANYONE’S skin care routine- SPF (sometimes known as- sunscreen/sun protection). Also to remind you that you are sadly not exempt from using it in winter ’because it’s cloudy, wet & cold’… sorry!
So, let’s gooo…
As some of you may already know I have actually already written a blog post on SPF before (‘Sun Protection Factor’ which goes into other points of this rather broad topic, if you fancy a read) but here we are again, because well, SPF is prettyyyy important all year round if you’d like slightly less lined skin & slightly less dark spots when you grow old gracefully. So to prevent this; wear an SPF all year round people as the rays are still well and truly there, even on a cloudy day! Simple as that, end of (sort of…). So let me tell you why…
“Sunburn can happen even on a cloudy day. According to Cancer Research UK, 90% of the sun’s rays can still get through light clouds. You’re also less likely to be sun aware & therefore take less preventative measures on cloudy days, so the likelihood of getting sunburnt is significantly higher”Black Skin, Dija Ayodele.
So first of all let me start off by saying that; it really doesn’t matter how young or how ’lived in’ (I hate the term ’mature/aged skin’) your skin is because it really is never ever too late to start and stop further damage. You know the saying – ‘prevention is always better than a cure’, and the same goes for a daily application of a broad spectrum (AKA one that protects you from UVA & UVB rays) SPF! So please, please make it a part of yours, your partners, your son/daughters, your grandparents, your neighbours ect. etc. skincare routine! (Boys I’m talking to you too, you’re not exempt…). Also, even if it’s the only thing you put on your face (ideally alongside a cleanser & moisturiser, but I won’t judge if this isn’t the case haha…) then so be it & make it a decent SPF that you apply every morning to your skin to prevent those lines, brown spots (hyperpigmentation) and skin cancers when you’re older. If you’re an avid facial acid, retinol or vitamin C user too, then you really, really should be protecting your face daily, no question about it. As did you know you can do more harm than good if you’re not protecting your skin due to the increased sensitisation of using these (pretty amazing) molecules? If not, there you go😉
Also not forgetting your whole body when your body is in the sun, but that’s a whole other story for another day…
So swiftly moving on… Here’s something wintry that you may not have realised… think skiing in lovely lush white snowy mountains. Do you wear SPF up there? If not, let me tell you why you really should… UVB rays are much, much more damaging at high altitudes and because of the snowy white icy conditions, rays bounce back meaning they do twice as much damage (a bit like when you’re in the sea or on water too). Like have you ever got those beautiful sunglass marks around your eyes after a day skiing and wondered why they appeared so quickly/easily? Yep, this is why haha… It’s a bit scary really isn’t it? So pack that SPF if you’re heading to the slopes any time soon!
Another thing I wanted to mention too is a point about darker/black skins… you lucky things do actually tend to have (roughly) a natural SPF of 13 (compared to a much paler, caucasian skin which has not a lot) which protects you a little bit. HOWEVER, surrounding this there is a bit of misconception; as a minimum of SPF30+ is recommended for daily use for everyone! So that means that despite controversy, sadly no one is exempt from the lovely old sun & the not so lovely UVA/UVB rays completely, sorry! So make sure you protect that skin every day of the year. Saying that, I know that’s much easier said than done when it comes finding a good SPF that doesn’t look ‘chalky/ashy’ on some skin tones (I get it & in Dija Ayodele’s book ’Black Skin’ which I’m currently reading (*highly recommend by the way*), she talks about the sobering realisation that up until about the last decade, all clinical sunscreen trials were tested on caucasian skins only, meaning that darker skins were primarily disregarded. This is truly shocking & disgusting, but things are getting better and thankfully moving with the times, slowly but surely thank goodness) so please don’t let that put you off finding a decent daily product as there are some pretty amazing products out there now that will work perfectly, just maybe ask to try before you buy to make sure you get it right and don’t waste your money. Alsoo… when choosing a product you might be best looking for a more serum/moisturiser/gel (clear/gel/jelly/light fluid cream type appearance) type SPF product thats more ‘liquidy’ and/or one that is ’chemical based’ as opposed to ’physical’ (avoid zinc oxide if you can as its known for leaving a ’white cast’ on the skin) and that should sit much better! (See below for my recommendations). So if anyone ever says to you that SPF isn’t needed on your skin, think again and quite frankly, tell them to do their research before they speak…
Oh and then we have another little misconception… Blue light! Did you know that blue light from your phone/a screen can be slightly ageing too? I know its quite scary isn’t it. Albeit it’s not quite as bad as sitting in the sun all day with no protection, but considering how many times we all check our phones a day, stare at a computer etc. everyday (we’re all as bad as each other, let’s face it…) it is believed to cause some ageing, inflammation & discolouration if no sun protection is used, over time. So here’s another reason to protect yourself daily! (if you’d like some more in-depth info on blue light, check out this article on the Paulas Choice website… https://www.paulaschoice.co.uk/is-blue-light-damaging-your-skin)
So have I convinced you to go and hit the sunscreen isle in Boots yet, even if it is winter…?
If so, here are my favourites of which I use daily on my own skin & on my clients… (and for whatever your budget is as it really doesn’t even have to break the bank!):
- REN Clean screen mineral SPF30 £33 – This is a little on the pricey side I know, but this is my personal favourite and one I use everyday! Here’s why… It doesn’t break my fussy skin out in blemishes, it’s mattifying without being drying, it sits lovely under makeup & it has added ’antioxidant benefits’ (of some description haha). It’s lush! Suitable for all skin types/tones, but potentially a little ashy on darker skins due to in inclusion of Zinc oxide.
- La Roche Posay anthelios range £various – Now this brand of course had to be mentioned didn’t it! I’ve left this one as an umbrella for all of their facial sunscreen products as i’ve tried a couple and have never been disappointed. Plus they are pretty amazing for the price! They do products for all skin types and ones which are non-comedogenic (look for this is you’re blemish prone!) and ones which are more ’anti-ageing’ or Matte. So go for whichever floats your skins boat! One good one to point out though is the ‘Anti shine SPF50’; this is particularly good for oilier skins & male skins who like a simple, matte SPF facial product. They all vary in skin type & skin tone suitability (product dependant), so it may be worth a try before you buy/a bit of research if you are worried about ashiness as I haven’t personally tried and tested all of them on myself or on darker skin tones.
- TempleSpa Life defence moisturiser £40 – Ok so this is the priciest one on the list I know, but it’s pretty lovely and i’d say- very much worth the money if its within your budget. Not only is this a 2-in-1 moisturiser & SPF (kill 2 birds with 1 stone type situation here) it offers an amazing SPF30 (which is quite rare for a 2-in-1 product). I use this on lots of my clients at the end of my facials and it’s lovely. It does leave the skin more ’dewy’ though, so if you’re a matte/breakout prone girl/guy, maybe swerve this one, but if you love to GLOW this could be your multi-tasking bestie… Great for most skin types, but probably best for a more dry/combination skin type & perfect on every skin tone due to its sheer moisturiser properties. It also smells very, very nice!
As we’re here lets add a body SPF recommendation shall we? (it would be rude not to wouldn’t it really…)
- Aldi Lacura hydrating sun spray (brown bottle) £2.49 (roughly…) – Ok I had to mention this… its bloody beautiful for the price, bravo Aldi! However, not so bravo to the fact it now looks like it’s no longer available… but I thought i’d leave this here as it may be due to the fact it is February and there’s hope it could return in the summer (completely & utterly contradicting this blog post title, but anyway, you know how intermittent Aldi products can be haha). So if it does return to our local Aldi shelves, then keep your eyes peeled! It came in a variety of SPF factors (15, 30 & 50 i believe) and had an amazing ’UVA 5 star rating’ (which FYI should be 4 or more, so 5 is pretty damn good and this is the little circle symbol with stars in on the bottle of every sun cream bottle, in case you didn’t know). It also smells amazing & soo summery, so if it does return- snap up a bottle or 2. I’d highly recommend!
(None of the brands above are sponsored nor have I been asked to promote, however I do earn a little bit of commission on TempleSpa products purchased through the above TempleSpa link due to being a consultant with them & because it’s my chosen in-salon facial brand. The reason for this is because I use and love on my own skin & clients everyday and not for money reasons!)
So there we have my top 3 (or 4 if we’re counting the bargain, discontinued Aldi body one haha). They’re not cheap most I know, BUT if you’re reading this and fancy some new skin care, my advice to you wold be- spend your money on a decent SPF (& serums/oils if we’re talking where we should spend our money) as opposed to cleansers & moisturisers because a cleanser will be a cleanser & a moisturiser will be a moisturiser at the end of the day. Whereas SPF (& serums/oils) are the really, really hardworking ones. Caroline Hirons, the queen of skincare also agrees on this (i say agree like shes agreeing with me here, but actually we all know its the other way around…). However if you’re like me and love spending money you don’t have on good skin care, then feel free to do whatever the hell you like when it comes to buying all nice products. Whatever floats ya boat. Just look after that skin of yours as you only get one shot at it!
Also i’ve only mentioned 4 brands above here I know, but there are sooo many out there now, so if my recommendations aren’t for you- shop around! I’ve heard amazing things about Heliocare, Dermalogica, Supergoop!, The Body Shop, Murad, Tropic etc. too. The list goes onnnnnn…
So I hope that’s given you some food for thought and reminded you that SPF isn’t just strictly for summer use, it really is an all year rounder if you’re wanting to keep your skin oh-so fresh. Also to point out again that it really is never, ever too late to start! So go on, treat yourself… Actually while the weather is like this, its the perfect time to do your research i’d say. Just don’t blow away on your way to Boots😉
Take care all!
Lots of love, Ella x