An SPF product you do not mind using every single day of the year? It does exist. The latest generation of non-sticky daily sunscreens proves that there are lovely textures that suit any skin type.
If you want to give your skin optimal protection from ageing (and worse), you could start living at night, like a vampire, without any smartphones or other screens that emit blue light to be on the safe side. (Critics say the influence of blue light from screens on skin is not yet completely proven. But new, decent research might prove it does lead to pigmentation issues.) Or, a slightly more simple solution: you could just add a daily SPF to your skincare routine and use it every single day of the year to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
Because yes, the sun leads to skin ageing. A good daily sunscreen not only protects from UVB, the rays of the sun that burn your skin, it also offers protection from UVA. In the EU the UVA protection should be at least 1/3 of the UVB protection. Not sure whether your SPF product protects against UVA? If it mentions UVA with a circle around it on the packaging, it does. Or PA followed with 1 to 4 plusses: the more plusses, the higher the protection.
‘Do I really have to use SPF in winter and on cloudy days?’, you may ask yourself. Well, if you want to protect your skin from UVA, yes, you do. UVA is around all year long and causes skin ageing but can also lead to skin cancer. UVB, the rays of the sun that can burn skin, is at its strongest in summer.
“Most people use sun protection seasonly: in summer, at the beach, to protect themselves from UVB (and sun burn),” says dermatologist Thomas Damsin. “But the best anti-ageing care is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that you use every single day of the year, one that protects against UVB, UVA and the visible light of the sun that also leads to skin ageing. Use a high SPF, start at an early age and make sure you protect your skin against the sun from spring onwards. I personally advise to protect your skin every day of the year. Sun protection also includes wearing long sleeves by the way, to expose as little skin as possible.”
A lot of people still think that sunscreens feel sticky and make your skin look white or grayish. But the beauty industry has worked hard these past couple of years to create different textures to suit all skin types, that feel nice on skin, are easy to use and do not feel sticky at all.
The latest sunscreen launches offer protection against UVA, UVB, infrared and/or the visible light of the sun spectrum. (Blue light is part of the visible light.) They feel light on skin and can be perfectly worn under make-up.
A quick reminder: you should apply half a teaspoon of sunscreen on your face to get the full SPF protection of the product. Which is A LOT. (I tested that amount on an Instagram Reels.) If you apply less than half a teaspoon, the SPF protection will not be as high and you will be less protected. Which is why many dermatologists suggest you use as high an SPF as possible.
For (sun) sensitive skin: Lancaster’s Sun Sensitive Oil-Free Milk SPF50 (37 €)
In 2018 Lancaster launched its Sun Sensitive range for (sun) sensitive skin. All products have an high SPF and contain the Sunsicalm Complex with bitter orange blossom, cotton extract and bisabolol that protects, soothes and hydrates skin. Three years later, the brand reformulated the products so they are even more environment and skin friendly and even more minimalistic: they contain 40% less ingredients than the first generation. The holiday fragrance (sunny smells are a Lancaster trademark) does not contain labelled allergens.
This oil-free milk for the face promises an even suntan (another Lancaster trademark) while giving optimal protection from the harmful rays of the sun. Lancaster’s sunscreens always protect against UVA, UVB, infrared and daily light.
This light milk is easy to apply and makes skin feel comfortable and soft. It reminds me of the tinted BB cream of the range I used three years ago. (Apart from the fact it is not tinted of course.)
You prefer to go fragrance-free? I tested the Sun Sensitive sun milk for children on a sunny afternoon. Handy spray, liquid texture that spreads easily and does not feel greasy. And it can be used on body and face.
For mixed and oily skin: Bioderma’s Photoderm Cover Touch SPF50+ (20,91 €)
A lot of people with mixed or oily skin find it hard to find a sunscreen for the face that does not make their face feel even oilier and/or does not clog their pores. My cousin, who suffers from adult acne, tested Bioderma’s sunscreens for oily skin in the past for me and liked them a lot. The newbie in the range is this tinted sunscreen. It has a high SPF50+ that protects against UV and visible light and promises to mattify skin for 8 hours.
The Fluidactiv complex has to work on imperfections. Mineral powders keep skin matte and give high coverage, which is handy to cover up any redness. The sun filters are 100% mineral, which is nice if you do not tolerate synthetic filters. Without the Fluidactiv complex I think this would be a nice product for sensitive skin.
Good to know: the formula is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.
For urban skin:
Clarins’ UV Plus Anti-Pollution SPF50 (58 €)
Clarins was one of the first European brands to launch a daily protection against UV and pollution. It strongly believes you have to protect your skin every single day against all forms of pollution.
“Different sorts of pollution like pollen and photo pollution (the combination of UV and air pollution) lead to oxidative stress and skin inflammation,” says Marie-Hélène Lair, the Responsable Innovation Director of the brand. “They also weaken the skin barrier. All that results in uneven, dehydrated, dull skin.”
The reformulated UV Plus Anti-Pollution protects against UVA, UVB, pollution, pollen and blue light. Its hydrating formula has a light gel texture that is easy to use. Hydrating and anti-ageing plant extracts have to counter the effects of sun and pollution. Good to know: there is also a version with pink pigment that makes skin immediately look more glowy.
La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Age Correct SPF50 (22,50 €)
This is another fine example of an urban sunscreen. Its oil-free formula feels lightweight, hydrates and helps protect skin against the sun (UV and infrared) and pollution. A mix of glycerin, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, phe-resorcinol and thermal water promises to keep the skin barrier strong and to diminish wrinkles and pigmentation spots.
This cream is easy and quick to massage into skin and makes my skin feel soft and smooth. It does take while though before I no longer ‘feel’ it when I touch my face but it does not feel sticky.
Good to know: the formula is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. I know, those are not legally controlled labels but they can be handy if you have (acne) sensitive skin and are looking for a suitable skincare product.
Vichy’s Capital Soleil UV-Age Daily SPF50+ (19,95 €)
This urban sunscreen not only offers high UVB-protection with its SPF50+, it also has a very high UVA-protection, higher than the Clarins and La Roche-Posay products. (It has a PA++++.)
The patented Netlock technology makes sure the sunscreen filters stay put on skin in a strong, even, thin and invisible layer. The formula reads almost like an anti-ageing serum: peptides have to tackle wrinkles, niacinamide fights against dark spots, probiotics and thermal water promise to keep the skin microbiome and skin barrier healthy.
This is my personal favourite of the new sunscreen launches: it is quite affordable, has a nice texture and offers the highest UVA protection. Which I think is important as UVA is here all year round and penetrates windows and clouds. Its serum-like formula is a lot more fluid than the other products, which in my opinion means you feel it even less on skin.
On the other hand, there is a chance you will not apply enough of it as it is so easy to spread around on skin, so you will be not as well protected. (Just apply enough!) If, like me, you like La Roche-Posay’s shaka sunscreen, you will also like this one. (You also have to shake it before use.)
Good to know: its formula is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.
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