Unravelling the mystery of sun protection lotions

Take care of your skin this summer.
Take care of your skin this summer.
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THOSE dire warnings about the hidden dangers in all that lovely sunshine are clearly getting through.

Almost nine out of 10 people say they are more aware of the sun’s potential for harm than they were 10 years ago, according to a new survey by Garnier Ambre Solaire.

And there’s good reason to be cautious if you want to invest in your looks and well-being.

“Harsh UVA and UVB rays can wreak havoc on all skin types, making it essential for you to give your skin the best defences against harmful rays,” warns skincare expert Liz Earle.

While it’s good news that sun awareness has surged, it also means that beauty shelves are now stacked with even more varieties of sun protection potions – and consumers can be left confused by information overload.

So if you’re feeling flustered by SPFs and all those formulations, here’s some expert advice about sunbathing safely with beauty in mind.

Q: What are the basics I need to look for on my suncare bottle?

A: “You need a suncare product that offers balanced, broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) and photostable protection,” advises Dr Nathalie Issachar.

“Everyone’s skin is different and reacts differently in the sun. It’s important you choose an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) that is suitable for your skin type and sun destination.

“For example, if you have light hair, are fair with slightly freckly skin, you will be more sensitive to the sun and require a product with a very high SPF such as 50-plus.”

Q: Does daily sun protection overload and aggravate the skin?

A: “No, as long as you choose wisely,” says dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe.

“Check labels for benzophenone, oxybenzone and PABAs, as these ingredients can cause sensitivity in some skin types.

“If you have sensitive skin, you may be less likely to react to other sunscreen ingredients.

“Steer clear of the more greasy, ‘heavy’ sunscreens, which can cause or worsen acne.”

Q: How can I accelerate my golden glow but still stay protected?

A: “Look for a product to help stimulate the natural melanin production,” says Sally Lewis, head of product development at St Tropez.

“As self-tan experts, we’re aware that our customers love a healthy, glowing tan year-round.

“Our new SPF sun protection comes in three different factors and contains an innovative ingredient called Melanobronze to deliver a safe, healthy and natural tan and shield the skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays.”

Q: What kind of product should I look for to suit sensitive skin?

A: “If you have sensitive skin, use a cream-based product,” suggests make-up artist Bobbi Brown.

“Avoid sunscreens with tretinoin (Retin-A, Stieva-A, Retisol-A, Rejuva-A, Renova, Vitamin A acid), which dries the skin.

“Look for a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic sunscreen if you have any allergies to skin products.”