Ruth Griffin: Safe bets for fun in the sun
Super skin protection for sun-kissed, fun-filled holidays
Now that I'm in my 40s, I'm in a new holiday niche. Gone are the wild, fun-filled breaks of my 20s, and the often exhausting getaways with a very young child of my 30s.
Now, I look at my parents' generation and see them enjoying sophisticated couples' soujourns that appeal to me. No matter what type of holiday you're planning, proper suncare is a must-pack. What's universally needed are high-quality, multi-use, unisex products that are cleverly packaged (so that they take up minimal case space and there are absolutely no spillages!). Look for broad-spectrum suncare that includes UVA, UVB and IR (infrared) protection. Increasing numbers of products now also have 'visible rays' protection, for light emitted from electronic devices. We all want to pack light - but pack right - for our holidays, so here I've curated some of the best-performing suncare products for whichever stage of holiday evolution you're at.
If using a lot of SPF on your holidays leaves your skin feeling dry, ‘tight’ and under-nourished, try this hydrating option: Lancaster Sun Beauty Velvet Touch SPF Cream with UVA, UVB and IR protection, €18, department stores nationwide
TREAT VS CHEAT
Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body
Instant bronzer for tanned, highlighted, dewy-looking limbs. From Brown Thomas, BT2 and Arnotts
Rosie for Autograph Amazing Radiance Body Glow
This option from actual supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is wallet-friendly and more natural-looking. From Marks & Spencer
Ask the expert
Anna Gunning is a registered nurse and the founder and clinical director of The Laser and Skin Clinic. With outlets now in Mullingar, Athlone and Baggot Street, Dublin, it claimed Best Clinic Group in the UK and Ireland at the 2016 Aesthetics Awards; laserandskin.ie
What do people need to know about sun protection?
The majority of people are only aware of UVB rays, as they lead to burning, but protecting the skin against UVA rays is just as important. UVA rays are the same strength daily - regardless of the weather or time of year or country - and can even penetrate glass, so wherever you are, it's difficult to avoid them.
What's the biggest suncare myth?
Don't be tricked into thinking an SPF in your make-up or moisturiser is protecting you - unfortunately, it's not enough. It might protect you from burning for the first 30 minutes after application but not against ageing, so invest in a sunscreen with a small amount of moisturiser, as opposed to a moisturiser with a small amount of SPF.
What can I do to protect against ageing rays?
Using an antioxidant serum under your sunscreen will act like a double defence to mop up free radicals in your skin from the constant bombardment caused by pollution and radiation. The key ingredient is vitamin C (listed as ascorbic acid), a potent antioxidant that's effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dullness and uneven skin tone.
Do I need a face-specific product?
Facial skin is generally more sensitive to irritation than body skin. Avoid using body products on your face, especially the dry-touch sprays. These contain a lot of alcohol, which is very drying and irritating for facial skin. SkinCeuticals has a great product called Mineral Eye UV Defense SPF30, which will give you all the protection you need in the delicate eye area.
What's your SPF hero product?
I really love the GloTherapeutics Oil Free SPF40+, €37. I have very oily skin so I find the oil-free formula suits my skin type and doesn't block my pores. It's also broad-spectrum, lightweight and sits perfectly under my make-up. Most importantly, the quality is fantastic, as it contains 7.5pc zinc oxide for superior protection. I'm also loving the new Obagi Sun Shield Tints, €70, available in two shades (warm and cool) with state-of-the-art infrared defence.
Should we leave our skin SPF-free for a portion of the day?
No sunscreen can block 100pc of the sun's rays. Scientists estimate that a high-quality sunscreen - for example, one that contains zinc oxide/titanium dioxide - can block out approximately 50pc of rays, so don't panic: you're still getting your daily dose of vitamin D.
What type of sun protection do you recommend for use by pregnant women?
I'd advise choosing a physical sunscreen that is chemical-free. I recommend Obagi Physical UV Block SPF 32, €80, which contains 18.5pc zinc oxide. It's non-irritating and can be used on any and all skin types.
All products mentioned above are available at skinshop.ie
Family beach holiday
The parent on a family beach holiday doesn’t have the time, or space in their suitcase, for lots of grooming goodies. They need multi-tasking, one-stop-shop beauty products that are quick to apply and as hard-working as they are (holidays with kids can be exhausting!). With children in the sun, they need a high-performance, broad-spectrum SPF that crucially is easily applied — i.e. a fluid, light sunscreen that absorbs very quickly.
● This Works In Transit Camera Close-Up, €39.50
The whole ln Transit line was created specifically for travellers — its products are multi-tasking, hard-working and entirely natural. This product is a mask, moisturiser, eye cream and primer in one. Mum-of-four Victoria Beckham is a huge fan, so it must be working! Available from pharmacies nationwide
● This Works In Transit No Traces, €23
I love these rose and mint water cleansing pads. Forget about lugging around your cleanser, toner and cotton pads on holidays with you — just slip this one little gem into your suitcase for face cleansing that definitely will not spill all over your packed case. Gentle enough to use on little ones also, as they are 100pc natural. Gorgeous and not drying at all. Much better than wipes! From pharmacies nationwide
● Bioderma Photoderm Max 50+ Aquafluide Pocket for Sensitive Skin, €9
This is very water-resistant and has a fluid texture so it’s very easily absorbed — perfect for kids especially and adults too. From pharmacies nationwide
ANNA GUNNING SAYS
"On a beach holiday we tend to have a lot more skin on show, which means you need a good body suncreen as well as a facial one. Although excellent, physical sunscreens are not water-resistant so a good choice would be to go for a combination sunscreen (physical and chemical) that is SPF 50+."
Ruth's top picks: Suncare for every type of holiday
Mature city break
The sophisticated older traveller has kids that have flown the nest. Now they’re looking to do the same with some grown-up travel — just themselves, at last! They pack smart and light, sharing grooming products while travelling to save on space, and opting for products that are high-end but packaged smartly.
● Trish McEvoy Power of Makeup Planner Collection Travel Size, from €55
This set was created by make-up maestro Trish specifically to streamline her cosmetics while she was travelling. You’ll be surprised by the amount of goodies you can jam-pack into this little Tardis of a wash and make-up bag — every single make-up item you will need on a city break will fit. And the small sizes of the products mean you can bring it on board your flight, to reduce squash/spill scenarios.
From Harvey Nichols
● L’Occitane L’Homme Travel Set, €24
With shower gel, soap and shaving cream, this is a travel set technically for men, but I think it’s absolutely fine for women to use too — and it smells amazing! From Debenhams, pharmacies and L’Occitane stores nationwide
● La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo, €310
This has both a day cream with SPF 25 (gorgeous under make-up — no ghostly white residue) and night cream in one tube. It’s expensive, but for your money you get a nifty lock button on the bottle to stop any precious lotion spilling in your case. From department stores nationwide
● P20 Continuous Spray, €30
If you can’t bear to share your beloved La Prairie (and I don’t blame you!), this product is a really great unisex option. It’s fragrance-free, colour-free and leaves no residue at all. From pharmacies nationwide
ANNA GUNNING SAYS
"Regardless of whether you're on land or in water, a water-resistant sunscreen is a must for athletes to combat sweat. There's no such thing as 'waterproof' or 'sweatproof' sunscreen - these terms were actually banned by the FDA because they are misleading to consumers. Water-resistant sunscreens will last 40-80 minutes, as indicated on the bottle. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you're sweating a lot."
The sports-mad person isn’t all that keen on lazily lounging around the pool or beach all day — they are hiking, swimming and always active on their travels. Nonetheless, they are still out in the sun all day and need a high-performance SPF that is easy to reapply, as well as products that will soothe tired legs and sore muscles in the evening.
● Thalgo Adventurer Travel Kit, €49.50
With moisturiser and concentrated serum to hydrate skin that’s working hard in hot weather, a marine facial mist to cool skin down after a workout, and leg gel for exhausted muscles, this little beauty is a godsend for anyone on a sports or adventure holiday. From pharmacies, outlets and spas nationwide and thalgo.ie
● Image Skincare Prevention Plus Sport Sunscreen Spray SPF 50, €47.40
Creams and lotions can be a pain to apply, especially when sweating constantly! This spray is a doddle to reapply for athletes and doesn’t require a tonne of massaging in. Be vigilant about spray SPFs, though: it can be easy to miss sections of your skin. See renaissance-skincare.com/image for stockists
● Aveda Sun Care Hair Veil, €28.50
Your hair and scalp need protecting from the sun, too. If you can’t bear to wear a sweaty hat while doing sport in the sun, please remember to put your sun cream on your scalp or to spray this product onto hair and scalp. As well as SPF, it keeps hair colour from fading and drying out. From department stores nationwide
ANNA GUNNING SAYS
"There's no difference between sunscreens for men and women, provided it's not a tinted formula. Ladies usually apply make-up over sunscreen so we're not concerned so much with the finish. Men tend to prefer SPFs that don't leave a white residue and don't irritate the skin after shaving."