Sorry, but that ‘sunscreen leaves my face sweaty’ excuse isn’t going to cut it anymore. The best facial sunscreens for this summer are so good, you can apply them with abandon and still look sans greasy.
Need further convincing? If unwanted wrinkles are your concern, a little more motivation for wearing facial sunscreen may be that dermatologists rate it as the best anti-ageing product you can buy.
Why? Because only 20 per cent of the way you age is down to genetics. The rest is the result of environmental damage from the sun and pollution.
‘Suncream not only prevents future ageing but improves existing wrinkles and skin pigmentation,’ explains dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting. ‘This is because when you free skin up from the distraction of needing to protect itself from UV rays, it gets down to the business of repair.’
How To Apply Facial Sunscreen
- Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside. The recommended amount is ½ teaspoon for your face but if you’re not sure how much that actually is, spread a layer you can see over areas of your skin that will be exposed to daylight.
- Sunscreen is always the final step in your daytime skincare routine. ‘Nothing should go over the top. Any skin care product you apply over a sunscreen dilutes and reduces its effectiveness,’ warns Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop and founder of Paula’s Choice skincare.
- Reapply every two hours. Sunscreen delivered via a gossamer fine mist such as Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF50 is recommended over make-up as it also doubles up as a setting spray.
Do You Also Need A Moisturiser For Under Your Sunscreen?
Probably not as the best facial sunscreens have proven anti-ageing and hydrating formulas.
But do apply an antioxidant serum like Skinceuticals C E Ferulic before sunscreen. ‘Antioxidants help further shield skin from environmental factors that slowly chip away at its youthful appearance,’ says Begoun.
This is especially true if your serum contains multiple antioxidants as they target different free radicals and work synergistically. So the more you have on at one time, the stronger your defence.
Do I Need To Wear Sunscreen Even If I’m Staying Indoors?
Yes, you should wear some sort of SPF every day.
In the summer months, the best facial sunscreens are broad spectrum to protect against both UVA (ageing rays) and UVB (burning rays).
‘UVB is blocked by glass, but UVA rays travel through it, deep into your skin,’ says dermatologist Dr Hiva Fassihi. ‘So if you’re sitting by the window or in the car, your skin is still at risk of sun damage.’
You’ll also want your facial sunscreen to be at least SPF 30 as this is clinically proven to be a sufficient amount of protection to reduce the adverse effects of sunlight.
In the cooler months, it’s acceptable to use one of the best SPF moisturisers instead of two separate products.
Mineral Or Chemical?
Another consideration is a mineral or chemical sunscreen. Both are equally effective, it’s simply a matter of preference.
Also known as ‘physical’ sunscreen, mineral versions contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. By definition, any mineral sunscreen is going to avoid riling sensitive skin.
‘Mineral sunscreen sits on the surface of the skin and deflects the sun’s rays,’ says dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams. ‘An added bonus is that you can go out straight after applying it.’
Chemical sunscreens – more accurately called ‘synthetic’ sunscreens – absorb into the top layers of skin, where they work in two ways. They scatter and deflect the sun’s harmful rays, and convert UV rays into heat in order to ‘deactivate’ them. (Sounds scary but you won’t feel a thing!).
Common synthetic sunscreen ingredients include octisalate and avobenzone.
The Best Facial Suncreams You’ll Actually Look Forward to Using
Weightless, scentless and utterly undetectable – exactly what you want from a facial sunscreen. Plus it doubles up as a primer and deflects UV rays without suffocating your pores. Your face has never been so safe.
It boasts antioxidant vitamin E but also forms a shine-free film to prevent pollutants from entering pores. A city-skin saviour.
The broad spectrum SPF50 protects against future sun damage while a powerful duo of tranexamic acid and niacinamide helps to fade the pigmentation you already have. All you need to know is that you will end up with better-looking skin than you started out with.
It’s made with high-tech filters as well as aloe vera and sesame oil, which also deliver on hydration.
For a mineral sunscreen to not leave behind a sweaty or chalky finish is nothing short of a miracle. If that weren't appealing enough, REN has also made sure its sun cream plays nicely with oily skin (thanks to mattifying rice starch) and is fully recyclable.
The tint makes it ideal for days when you feel like skipping foundation while the lack of alcohol, silicone and fragrance makes even sensitive skin purr with delight.
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide deliver on UV protection, while polymers form an invisible film over your skin to prevent pollution entering your pores. Incredibly lightweight, this feels more like a tinted moisturiser than a sunscreen.