March 13, 2011

Back to Basics: All you need to know about Face Sunscreens & Sunscreen Tips

Posted by roseannetangrs in Basics for Beginners | Tutorial | Uncategorized

Hey Everyone,

We all love a sunny day. Not a cloud in the sky, it’s bright, it’s beautiful and it’s the perfect weather for picnics, walks in the parks or a cheery day in the city. Little do we know that if we don’t have protect our skin from these wonderful rays, it could lead to a multitude of harmful consequences. Today, I’m going to assume that you know nothing about sunscreens for the face or face sunscreens or even spf and combine all you should know about sunscreen in a post – including sunscreen tips, why sunscreen is so important and common sunscreen definitions. I’ll then show you the face sunscreens I have and use on a daily basis. Let’s get started!

WARNING: This is quite a scientific post because sunscreen is well scientific. If science is not your thing, I’ll try my best to explain it to you.

Why is sunscreen so important?

Obviously the reason why we wear sunscreen is to protect our skin, but you’re probably wondering from what? Sunscreen protects your skin from:

1. Skin Cancer

2. Pigementation and Melanoma

3. Wrinkles and pre-mature aging

However, as you’ve probably noticed, we don’t burn equally. Dermatologists identify with six types, from very vulnerable to burning to skin that doesn’t burn much at all. 1-4 skin types burn easiest. This is because of the melanin, brown pigment, available in the skin. People with hot country origins tend to have a higher tolerance for the sun. Genetically, they produce more melanin instead of burning which makes them tan. People who are most vulnerable to the sun tend to turn red and have sunburns instead of getting tan. Nonetheless, despite what skin type you have, you should always, always wear sunscreen to protect yourself from skin cancer, skin diseases and wrinkles.

Common Sunscreen Terms:

SPF:

SPF refers to Sun Protection Factor which is a measure of sunscreen effectiveness. In fact, the SPF represents the amount of UV radiation you would need to cause the skin to burn with the sunscreen on, than without it. To summarise, the higher the SPF, the more protection you’ll have. However, you’ll have to be careful. Although a product may say that it has an SPF of say 30, it also depends on how much of the product you apply. If you apply less of the product than you should, it can dramatically decrease the SPF value. SPF is also an imperfect measure of sun radiation as most conventional sunscreens might block UVB rays, but not UVA rays which can cause cancerous spots. IF you look out for zinc oxide, avobenzone, and ecamsule on the ingredients list, you’ll be able to be protected from UVA rays. Titanium dioxide, a common ingredient in sunscreens, may only protect you from a limited range of UVA rays.

UVA:

UV-A is a type of ultraviolet ray from sunlight that can cause invisible damage to your skin. This is the killer that leads to skin cancer and much more damage. You need to find sunscreens that give you the maximum amount of UVA protection. They penetrate much more deeply into the skin, where the collagen and elastic tissue is. They destroy the collagen and elastic tissues. They go through clouds, window glass and everything.

UVB

Ultraviolet B is another ultraviolet ray caused by the sun. You need to protect yourself from UVB rays as well. It is the burning rays from the sun.

PA (like PA+++ on some sunscreens) – for Asian products, no system in the US to identify UVA protection. May have adopted this Jap system to identify how protected you are from UVA.

PA is the effective measure of how well the sunscreen can block UVA rays. PA+++ is the highest, PA+ is alright for daily activities but if you’re staying in the sun for long hours, go for PA++ and above.

Basically you need a sunscreen with a high SPF factor to protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays to protect your skin from getting skin cancer, melanoma and pre-mature wrinkles. “Broadspectrum” sunscreens protect you from UVB AND UVA rays.

So, the higher the SPF, the better? Not necessarily.

Although you should get a high spf, you shouldn’t get an inappropriately high spf if that makes sense. You are talking about lots of chemicals here that can cause skin irritation if there is too high an spf, so even though high protection is good, don’t be excessive and choose SPF 100 if you live in London (known for cloudy weather right?) Opt for an SPF 15 -30 instead. Also depending on your skin color.

Sunscreen vs. Sunblock

They’re actually different. Regardless though, they both protect you from the sun. They work differently and are made of different chemicals. Sunblock reflects light from the skin so the UV rays bounce off while Sunscreen absorbs these rays. They both give you the same level of sun protection. Sunscreen needs to be applied 20-30 mins before you go outdoors because it needs to be absorbed while Sunblock works immediately.

But enough of this scientific gibberish, let’s get on to the facial sunscreens I use daily and a few mini reviews.

#1 Physiogel AI Sun Cream (SPF 25)

Physiogel is sold in Guardian and Watsons stores in Singapore but I wouldn’t know where else to get it. Physiogel gave me this sunscreen.  This one in particular is “special” because it has Tinsorb which is a broad spectrum UV protector and lasts longer than the usual ingredients of other conventional sunscreens. This one also contains PEA to relieve sunburns so it’s good that it repairs while it protects as well. PEA has antioxidant properties which shoo away free radicals.

What do I think about this one?

It has a very white and thick consistency but it doesn’t do badly in the blending department. I was scared that it would leave sort of a semi-white overcast because of how thick it is but I didn’t find it too alarming.

I like how it doesn’t look and feel oily like most sunscreens can get. It has a very matte finish but it doesn’t make your skin super smooth. I use it underneath my makeup and I feel like I have to put a face primer on before I put my foundation on because it’s not slick enough for my makeup to apply smoothly. Nonetheless, it’s a good product. If smooth faces are your thing though, I reckon you should opt for another sun cream. This would be great for dry skin because of it’s consistency. Oily skin users are welcome to use this as well because of the semi-matte, non-slick finish. Its’ also waterproof which is a plus.

#2. Mario Badescu Suncare (SPF 30)

I bought this one I did a huge haul about half a year ago and I thought I should invest in a good sunscreen since I’ll be using it everyday. On the label, this sunscreen says it will protect you from UVA and UVB rays while being able to moisturise with Aloe and improve blood circulation with Eucalyptus.

What do I think?

Don’t worry about the blue tint, it really doesn’t do much at all and as you can see, it blends into a nice finish. This is much lighter and much more of an everyday sunscreen than the Physiogel. It has a smooth consistency and blends in very lightly and is sheer and glowing for those who prefer more of a glow than a matte finish. I did like this one but I felt that sometimes it may make my skin more oily than I want it too since I do have oily skin. Thus, it really depends on your skin type.

See the glow?

#3 Leaders Clinic Medieu Sensitive Sun Cream

This is my number one all time favourite suncream. Not only can it protect you from the sun with SPF 50 rating and PA+++ protection from UVA rays, it acts as a brilliant makeup base as well. Leaders Clinic was nice enough to give this to me. The SPF 50 may be a little high, but I find it comfortable even though it has such a high rating.

What do I think of it?

I absolutely love that this is tinted, offering sheer coverage, that color corrects most blemishes. It’s easily applied and very smooth to blend and applies on the face really nice. But…

you should look forward to my next post for an in-depth review of my favourite sunscreen!

Review Posted! Click here for the Sensitive Sun Cream Review:

Top Sunscreen Pick: Leader’s Clinic Sensitive Sun Cream SPF 50+/PA+++ Review

Sunscreen Tips and Tricks

1. Apply Sunscreen before everything else: Sunscreen works most effectively in direct contact with the skin. When layered over foundation or over moisturiser, it won’t work as well than if it was applied first.

2. Apply Enough Sunscreen: Usually folks don’t apply enough sunscreen. For your face, you should actually be apply equivalent to 1-2 tsp of sunscreen for full protection. I found DermTV.Com to be a very good source of information. They’ll show you how much to apply.

 

3. Re-apply your Sunscreen: Re-apply your sunscreen every 3-4 hours and after every activity to gain full use of the stuff. If you have makeup on, you would have already applied your sunscreen first underneath your makeup so reapplication is not necessary in this sense.

4. Don’t forget hard to reach areas: Sometimes the places most prone to sun damage are areas often forgotten. Don’t forget the tips of your ears, the back of your neck and legs, the bridge of your ears. Take careful precaution of places that extrude as the sun is more likely to hit those places first.

5. Sunscreen can cause white over-cast in flash photography: If you’re going out for a party at night and know that flash photography is in the agenda, skip your sunscreen and opt for no spf in your foundation so you won’t look like a ghost in most pictures.

6. Always wear sunscreen, even in shady days: UVA and UVB rays are invisible. That means they’ll attack when no one’s looking. Better to be prepared. If you can see your hands in front of you, that means you need sunscreen.

7. Makeup with SPF does work. You will still get protection from your foundation with SPF but you have to make sure that that is the first thing you apply. If you need to use products over it though, it’s always better to apply a separate sunscreen instead and then your foundation overtop.

8. Your sunscreen should be strong enough, feel good to apply, and goes well with your skin type: Strong meaning it has broad spectrum or UVA protection as well as UVB. SPF 15-30 is the best range but you would have to reapply if you don’t normally use makeup. You don’t want your sunscreen to make you breakout. Make sure it’s water based or oil free and doesn’t clog your pores.

9. Chemical free sunscreens are good: They contain zinc and titanium but they don’t contain carbon. A normal sunscreen is absorbed by the skin while a chemical free sunscreen coats the skin. They are more effective in blocking UVA rays so the rays bounce off it. They are also less irritating so if you have sensitive skin, chemical free sunscreens would be a good bet.

I like the number 9, so I’ll stop here. And there you have it! A guide to sunscreen. Look forward to my favourite sunscreen review in my next post!

Do you wear sunscreen on a daily basis?

Love,
Roseanne

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