SPF has luckily evolved in recent years
Let’s be honest: suncare has a boring rep. Most beauty products feel like a treat, whether it’s a zingy new lipstick on a rainy day, or a nail polish that just looked so damn pretty in the bottle. But who ever got excited about buying a bottle of SPF30?
“Sun cream isn’t the sexiest,” admits Dr Susan Mayou, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic. “Unfortunately, we are stuck with it. An SPF pill or injection simply isn’t likely. It’s been an area of research, but there are too many concerns over side effects, including an increased risk of melanoma skin cancer, the very thing suncare should protect against.”
This summer, though, suncare brands are going all-out to change our perceptions of SPF and make it more desirable. Here are the innovations we’re turning on to…
1. New anti-ageing hero SPFs
If there’s one way suncare is going to win us over, it’s by ramping up the anti-ageing and instant skin-boosting benefits.
“SPF is the best ‘anti-wrinkle cream’ there is. And anti-ageing is a much bigger sell for women than skin cancer, until melanoma affects them or somebody they know,” says Dr Mayou.
2. For brighter eyes: M&S Ultrasun Eye SPF 30
Your undereyes need protection too
We rarely put enough SPF onto the undereye area (unsurprising if you’ve ever got stingy suncream in your eyes, but still a mistake).
“Sun damage not only causes wrinkles, it also leads to darkness under the eyes,” says Dr Mayou.
Ultrasun Eye Formula SPF30, £18, doesn’t just block dark rings from forming, it also has an instant brightening undereye effect.
3. For fighting pigmentation: Bioderma Photoderm SPF 50
Avoid those uneven patches
For many of us, sunshine triggers uneven patches, known as melasma. Bioderma Photoderm M SPF50, £13, is the first sunblock specifically designed to suppress this, using pigmentation-inhibiting ingredients such as licorice. It also has a tint to optically smooth skin tone instantly.
4. For a broader shield on budget: Solero Facial Anti-Aging Sun Cream SPF 30
Facial sun cream with an anti-ageing bonus
Designer face creams have gone big on blocking infra-red light, which makes up a third of the sun’s damaging, ageing rays and isn’t shielded by standard UVA/B filters.
The Lloyds Pharmacy Solero range has just become the first budget infra-red protector, and includes this dedicated wrinkle smoothing Anti-Ageing Facial Sun Cream SPF30, £7.
10 high street suncreams to protect your skin
Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror
Triple protection suncare
You’re used to checking what sort of UVA and UVB protection your suncare offers. But did you know that Infrared-A (IR-A) rays make up a third of the sun’s damaging effects?
These rays penetrate deep into skin tissue and can lead to a loss of elasticity which causes wrinkles.
Now some UK high street brands offer protection from Infrared-A rays. TrySuperdrug’s Solait Enhanced Sun Lotion, £8.99 , and LloydsPharmacy Solero range , from £7.
No rub water face mists
Massaging in sunscreen over a face full of make-up can mess up your look. Recognising this, there are a new breed of water-based SPF mists on the market – no rubbing in required.
They’re also great for outdoor sports and you never get your hands dirty.
Never miss a bit
The latest sun sprays even work upside down so it’s never been easier to cover all those nooks and crannies and hard to reach areas on your own. Try M&S Sun Smart Moisture Protect Mist , £8.40.
If you prefer sun protection with a simple swipe try the new Nivea Sun Roll-On, £4.99, from Superdrug .
Protect…but don’t stay pale
Although we want to protect our skin, some of us also want to get a golden glow. Lots of suncare companies are coming up with products that not only protect our skin but also contain ‘tan-enhancing complexes’ that help support the skin’s natural tanning process.
Piz Buin Tan Intensifier In Sun Spray, £11 from Boots , contains a complex called Melitan, while M&S Sun Smart Moisture Portect Nourishing Dry Oil, £8.40 , contains Tanxcel.
Green People’s Sun Lotion with natural tan accelerator, (£13.50,www.greenpeople.co.uk ) contains Inositol, a naturally occurring nutrient from the fruits of the carob tree, which stimulates the formation of the tanning pigment melanin.
Trials showed that the speed of tanning increased by 25% and the intensity of suntan increased by more than 28%.
Works on wet skin
Who wants to spend an age towelling dry after a dip in the pool before applying sunscreen? The trouble is, normal sun protection doesn’t adhere well to damp skin, meaning there will be gaps in protection.
But some of the latest formulas are especially designed to be used on wet skin.
Try Calypso Dry Oil Wet Skin, £3.95 from Wilkinsons and pharmacies, and Garnier Ambre Solaire Wet Skin, £4.95 . Both are sprays that work just as well on wet skin as they do on dry.
You can even shower on your suncare with The Sunblock (£8.95 from uklush.com). This solid sunscreen melts at body temperature, sticks to wet skin and protects you after you’ve dried off.
Quick sinking sunscreens
When you’re feeling hot and bothered, the last thing you need is a heavy-duty suncream.
Step forward the latest ‘barely-there’ formulations, designed to be moisturising but lightweight and discreet – and they sink in quickly.
We particularly like Piz Buin In Sun Ultra Light Sun Spray, £8.50 , and Soltan Dry Touch Suncare Lotion, £6, – both from Boots.
Shine is not fine
When you have oily skin, applying conventional sun protection can just add to the shine. You end up trowelling on powder to take off the sheen and looking caked, over-heated and too made-up.
We like Eau Thermale Avène SPF50+ Very High Protection Emulsion (£12 from Boots) which also has antibacterial properties.
It’s such a simple (but clever) idea that we wonder why all sunscreens aren’t adding chilling, refreshing ingredients – such as menthol – to their formulas to help make applying your sunscreen a really cool thing to do.
Try Piz Buin’s Protect & Cool Refreshing Sun Mousse (£8.49, Superdrug) and Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Sun Spray (£9, nationwide) to really help you chill out.