Beauty: Be safe in the sun

Ice cream, smiley faces and sandcastles - life's one big holiday when the sun shines.

Pic: PA Photo/JupiterImages
Pic: PA Photo/JupiterImages

Ice cream, smiley faces and sandcastles - life's one big holiday when the sun shines. But there is one thing you should never take a vacation from when soaking up the rays and that's a good SPF.

More than 90 per cent of women in the UK are aware of sun damage, yet 70 per cent of us don't use the right protection for our skin type, IPSOS research reveals, which leads to those tell-tale sun damage signs.

Without an adequate SPF, or sun protection factor, we're putting ourselves at the mercy of wrinkles, patchy hyperpigmentation, age spots and, at worst, skin cancer.

Worringly, cases of skin cancer are set to treble by 2035 unless behaviour changes, according to The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA).

If you're uncertain about application and confused about which SPF you should be slathering on, then it's time to shed some light.

Our industry experts bust the common myths surrounding suncare, so you can bronze both beautifully and safely.

Fact or fiction?

1) "Organic sunscreens aren't as safe as standard ones" - Fiction

"Organic UV filters can get a bad press because they are sometimes called 'chemical sunscreens' but all cosmetic products are required by law to be safe and sunscreens containing organic UV filters are no exception," says CTPA scientist Dr Chris Flower.

Try: The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection SPF25, £29.31 (www.theorganicpharmacy.com); or Lavera Sun Lip Balm SPF10, £4.80 (01557 870567/www.lavera.co.uk).

2) "Everybody needs SPF15 plus daily to protect against skin cancer" - FACT

"If you have fair skin or have a family history of skin cancer I advise using SPF15 with UVA protection daily, going up to minimum SPF30 in sunny weather," says dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe.

"People with olive or darker skin don't have the same risk of skin cancer so don't need as much protection - an SPF15 is sufficient. But all skin types will age, so using a daily UVA/UVB screen protects against premature wrinkling and pigmentation caused by year-round sun exposure."

TRY: Nivea Invisible Protection Spray SPF20, £13.29 (0845 644 8556); or Hampton Sun Tanning Gel SPF15, £30 (0208 740 2085/www.spacenk.co.uk).

3) "You should always reapply sunscreen after swimming" - FACT

"No product is 100 per cent waterproof and so this is a term no longer used on sunscreens," explains Mike Brown, Boots Suncare Scientific Advisor.

"Every product will eventually need to be reapplied after swimming, some more than others.

"Conventional water-resistant products need to be reapplied immediately after swimming but the new generation of extended wear products are designed to last longer and allow a longer period of time before reapplication."

Try: Boots Soltan Once Spray SPF40, £15.99; or Piz Buin Active Long Lasting Lotion SPF15, £15.99 (Boots/Superdrug).

4) "I only need to wear suncare when it's actually sunny" - Fiction

"Even if exposure is limited to brief outdoor lunches or a 20 minute walk, cumulative exposure is enough to cause the signs of skin ageing," warns Sally Penford, education manager at The International Dermal Institute.

"Even on cloudy or overcast days, UV light can strike skin and cause damage, so simply wearing sunscreen on sunny days isn't enough.

"Look for an SPF moisturiser that can be worn comfortably under make-up to deliver defense against skin ageing UV light."

Try: Bobbi Brown Protective Face Lotion SPF15, £28.38 (www.bobbibrown.co.uk); or Dr Nick Lowe Super Charged SPF15 Day Cream, £16.59 (Boots).

5) "Hair requires protection as well as skin" - Fact

"Sun breaks down the protein structure of the hair and also draws moisture from the hair cells," explains trichologist Philip Kingsley.

"The combination of these roughen the hair's cuticle and gives the impression of drier, coarser and frizzier hair.

"Use a lightweight smoothing emulsion that protects from sun damage whilst providing the hair with the much-needed moisture that it loses during summer, leaving hair shiny and frizz-free."

Try: Innova Sun Active Protective Hair Oil by Indola, £6.99 (01296 314000/www.indola.com); or Philip Kingsley Swimcap, £17 (www.philipkingsley.com).

6) "The sun helps clear up sensitive skin" - Fiction

"A bit of sun can help clear up eczema and psoriasis temporarily but when the skin is very red or inflamed it's not a good idea and can aggravate the condition further," explains Joelle Nonni, product workshop manager of Eau Thermale Avene.

"Use a spray when choosing suncare for the body - it's much easier to apply to the body and doesn't require as much friction on sensitive skin."

Try: eau Thermale Avene SPF50+ Spray for sensitive skin, £15.61 (Boots); or La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Spray SPF50+, £18.50 (0800 055 6822/www.laroche-posay.co.uk).

 
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