As Beauty Editor of US Vogue, Daisy Garnett tried a lot of products – as she revealed in last Sunday’s issue of Stella magazine. But she says, “testing all those face creams taught me that the only way to keep your skin young-looking is to apply sunscreen every single day (ageing-looking skin is basically just sun-damaged skin).” I never used to do this. I always applied cream whilst sat out for a long time in the park or on a beach or around a pool (sadly, this doesn’t happen quite as much as I’d like it these days), but just for walking around in the daytime, not so much. Not anymore. Despite the fact that I love a tan, I am now a firm convert to applying sunscreen every day. Following some concern over a mole (thankfully ok) and the realisation that I am getting on a bit, I have become a sunscreen aficionado. Of course, some of you may think that I am crazy for not having always done this, but better late than never, eh? Anyway, with my new found addiction to cream, I discovered some questions. For instance, is it ok to mix your morning moisturiser with sunscreen or is that dodgy? Do you really need a different cream for your face? etc. And so, I turned to Dr Tom Mammone, Executive Director of Skin Physiology and Pharmacology at Clinique for help (by the way, this isn’t a sponsored post, I just think their products are fab). Obviously, wearing sunscreen is important for all kinds of health reasons, but it will also help your skin stay younger for longer – and these days, I’m all about that, so here are my top sunscreen questions answered…
Is it really important to use a different sunscreen on your face than on your body? If so, why?
The skin on your face and body have different needs and, depending on the time of the year (and your behaviour), are exposed to the sun for different periods of time. But the differences do not end here – in many cases people like to combine their daily facial sun protection with other benefits – for example to diminish fine lines and wrinkles or protect against other environmental aggressors.
Some of the most important factors for a sun care body product would be:
- Ease of application and use for the entire body (ability to apply it without getting sand all over yourself at the beach, spreads well, does not melt too easily, etc)
- Allergy Free
For a face product with SPF it is a bit more complex:
- Is it comfortable to wear every day?
- Has it been blended for my skin type (oily, dry, combo)
- Will it clog my pores or cause blemishes?
- Does it layer well with my makeup? Does it “disappear” on my skin without a white film?
- Does it have added benefits like moisturisation, wrinkle repair, other protectors, etc…
- Easy to use/spread
- Allergy Free
How long is the average sunscreen’s shelf life? Why is it important to be aware of the lifespan?
Clinique tests all of our products rigorously and adheres to all regulatory standards in the countries where our products are sold. Clinique Sun products are formulated for stability and integrity, but sun products are often exposed to extreme conditions (i.e. on a blanket at the beach). Therefore, it is my recommendation to buy a fresh bottle of sunscreen for each season.
Some sunscreens are SPF30, others are SPF50. Will the majority of people be ok with a lower SPF or is a high SPF really essential?
Many dermatologists have found that people often do not apply their sunscreens often enough or liberally enough and therefore have begun advocating the use of higher SPFs. Application is extremely important when using sunscreen. It must be applied evenly to give uniform coverage on the skin. Applying sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure gives it time to settle as evenly as possible on the surface of the skin.
While in many cases SPF 15-30 is adequate, there are certain situations where it really can benefit to increase this level. As you probably already know, the SPF level really pertains to the amount of time a person can spend in the sun without burning – based on their skin type. People who do not apply their sunscreens often enough or liberally enough should consider a higher SPF.
Is it ok to mix your sunscreen into your moisturiser in the morning or does it need to be applied on its own?
Make sure the formulation is appropriate for your activities. For examples, moisturisers mixed with sun screen are great for daily incidental exposure. For prolonged exposure such as spending time at the beach, sailing or skiing, use sunscreen alone.
Should you wear sunscreen in the winter in a gloomy country like the UK or is it ok just to keep it for spring/summer?
Sun protection is necessary all year round and even in the winter and on a cloudy day. UVB, or “burning rays” are strongest in the summer and weakest in the winter; consequently, one sees fewer sunburns in the winter (notable exceptions are sun-burned skiers). However, UVA, or “aging rays” are strong all year round. Therefore, the skin is as equally susceptible to photo-aging and increased skin cancer risks in the winter and on a cloudy day. It’s advisable at wear a sun screen every day.
On a final note – my dermatologist re-iterated that whilst it is important to wear sunscreen, it’s also important to get enough Vitamin D. She said that twenty minutes without cream on your body in the morning is enough – and to stay out of the sun between 11-3.