Skin care is vital all year round, but especially when the sun starts peeping through! Renowned British dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe who practises in both London and Los Angeles has over thirty years experience advising his patients on the best sun protection and is always my first port of call on anything to do with sun and skin.
What is the difference between UVA and UVB?
“UVA rays are the main cause of ageing while UVB rays burn the skin”, explains Dr Lowe , “But both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancers, so you must choose a suncream with both. The SPF number on the bottle only refers to protection against UVB rays and has nothing to do with UVA protection, which means a product with an SPF 30 may not contain any ingredients that defend against UVA rays. So check your suncream has UVA protection written on the bottle also. ”
Which SPF to choose?
After making sure the cream you are going to use contains both UVA and UVB protection, most dermatologists agree a SPF 30 with good UVA is sufficient. Dr Lowe suggests, “SPF 50 is overkill unless you are a redhead (skin type 1), also a higher SPF may expose the skin to unnecessary chemicals.” Dr Lowe advises re-applying a lower factor SPF (20 or 30) very regularly throughout the day, especially after swimming or towelling off. In strong summer sun, those with skin type II (the most common in the UK) will burn after 10 minutes without any sunscreen! Yikes!
Hip & Healthy’s go-to sunscreens?
The following are all a joy to use. They have perfect consistencies and don’t feel heavy or greasy on the skin yet still offer the best protection.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Lotion for body SPF 30 +UVA, 100 ml, £16.50
I used to stockpile this in France before it was available here. A winner because it is so light you cannot feel it on the skin and is excellent for sensitive skin too. I have never ever burned using this product.
Garnier Ambre Solaire Light and Silky Protection Lotion SPF30 + UVA, 200 ml, £13.50
A well priced suncream with excellent research and technology behind it. You cannot go wrong with any of this range. The light fragrance may not be everybody’s cup of tea though.
Nivea Sun Protect and Refresh Lotion SPF30 + UVA, 200ml £15
This product is lovely to use and also comes in spray form for easy application. Very trustworthy technology again and is a favourite amongst dermatologists.
Clinique SPF 30 Body Cream with UVA, 150 ml, £19.50
This luxurious sun cream literally melts into the skin! As well as being cooling on application, it’s also good for sensitive skin.
The Organic Pharmacy SPF30 +UVA, 100 ml £36.95
Free from artificial preservatives, colourants, fragrances and petrochemicals of any kind; this is a 100% mineral sunscreen infused with nourishing shea butter and soothing aloe.
words by Lucia Ferrari