When purchasing SPF the main questions to ask are:
What is the SPF?
Is it a Broad Spectrum product? There are two main concerns from being in the sun: Skin-ageing and skin cancer.
UV Light causes sun burn and sun damage by damaging cellular DNA.
UVA (long-wave) causes the ageing and UVB (short-wave) causes the burning.
Both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have identified UV as a proven human carcinogen. Therefore, there is no such thing as a ‘safe tan’. A tan is a sign of DNA damage. It is the result of a chemical reaction in your body as it tries (and fails) to protect itself from UV light. Brands selling SPF that use the term ‘safe tanning’ are at best misleading and at worst, clueless.
The majority of sun damage is done in the first 20 years of your life. Age spots/pigmentation appearing when you’re older are the fault of those Spanish teen holidays – not just the tan you got in your garden last year. 😉
SPF does not accumulate. If you wear a moisturiser, primer and sunscreen you will only have the highest SPF that you are using, you cannot ‘add them up’.
Pre-cancerous moles are a myth. They are either cancerous or they are not. If in doubt, cut it out. A mole is a benign lesion. Any changes, any – it needs to be checked by an expert and removed.
Acne sufferers: whilst the sun may have a drying effect on your acne; but a lot of SPF products are comedogenic. Use oil-free sunscreens if possible. Avoid mineral oil in sunscreens (and your normal skincare).
Darker skin, whilst not as vulnerable to UV light as lighter skin, still needs to protect itself from UV damage and use SPF. Although darker skins can stay longer in the sun without burning and they do not need the same high factors as a Type 1 person, they should still use SPF.
No sunscreen is waterproof. They can only be listed as ‘water resistant’.
SPF should be repurchased fresh every year. It degrades.
Do not waste your money on a really expensive anti-ageing moisturiser with SPF. SPF is an all-encompassing product that will overtake any active/expensive ingredients in your skincare. Use your expensive skincare and apply a separate SPF on top.
‘SPF 60 is twice as effective as SPF30’. Not true. There is only a 1% difference between SPF30 and SPF50. SPF30 is my most recommended level for that reason. You’re covered, but you have no false sense of security.
SPF is ALWAYS the last product to be applied to your skin.
Apply your SPF 15-20 minutes before you go in the sun.
Apply 2mg per Square CM which equates approximately to one teaspoon for your face and neck, two per chest, two per back, two per arm, two/three per leg depending on your height obviously.