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Six of the best sunscreens for your face

SPF is not just for holidays, says beauty writer Louise McSharry

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Don't be stingy when it comes to applying facial sunblock

Don't be stingy when it comes to applying facial sunblock

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

Avéne Intense Protect SPF 50+

Avéne Intense Protect SPF 50+

Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 30

Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 30

Vichy Capital Soleil UV-AFew Daily SPF 50+

Vichy Capital Soleil UV-AFew Daily SPF 50+

Penney’s PS… Pro Natural Luminous Serum Foundation

Penney’s PS… Pro Natural Luminous Serum Foundation

Garnier Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist (SPF 50+)

Garnier Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist (SPF 50+)

The Ordinary Serum Foundation

The Ordinary Serum Foundation

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Don't be stingy when it comes to applying facial sunblock

Now that the sun has finally decided to grace us with its presence, we’re all thinking about sun cream. Well, all of us except those men who insist they’ll be grand every single year, only to get burned to a crisp within an hour of seeing the sun and then moan about their sunburn for days on end.

Some of us, however, are thinking about sun protection all year round. Some of us could be accused of being obsessed with sun protection. Some of us are skincare fanatics, and frankly, we’re right.

The sun is the number one cause of premature skin ageing. UVA rays penetrate our skin and break down our precious collagen, leading to a lack of firmness and elasticity, wrinkles and, potentially, skin cancer. UVB rays damage our skin’s uppermost layers, leading to issues like hyperpigmentation and skin cancer. You can be rubbing the world’s most expensive skin creams on your face all day every day, but if one of them hasn’t got a decent SPF, you might as well chuck them down the sink.

So what is a decent SPF? Firstly, it should be “broad spectrum”, meaning it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Secondly, it should be at least factor 30. The factor is an indication of how much extra protection you’re getting if the product is used correctly. If you use factor 30 correctly, it should take you 30 times longer to suffer the adverse effects of the sun than if you were wearing nothing. I always wear factor 50, because why wouldn’t you want 50 times the protection if you can have it?

“Lashing it on” is another key element. Unlike many skincare products, SPF must be applied liberally for it to work properly. The Irish Cancer Society recommends at least half a teaspoon for the face, or a full teaspoon for the face and neck. And we should be doing our necks.

If using SPF correctly — that means every single day, rain or shine (those rays cut right through clouds and windows) — you’re going to go through a lot of it. For that reason, I don’t think it should be something you spend loads of money on. There’s just no need.

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La Roche-Posay Anthelios

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

La Roche-Posay Anthelios

(1) La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios sun-protection range
(from €11 at boots.ie) is popular with people of all skin types. The products are effective, reasonably priced, and great for those with sensitive skin. Whenever someone tells me that they’re struggling to find an SPF they don’t react to, I recommend this and I’ve yet to hear a complaint about it.

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Avéne Intense Protect SPF 50+

Avéne Intense Protect SPF 50+

Avéne Intense Protect SPF 50+

(2) Avéne’s Intense Protect SPF 50+ (€22.50 at dunvillepharmacy.com) is also a great choice for sensitive skin as, like most of the brand’s products, it’s super gentle. If you’d like a little something extra with your sun protection, the La Roche-Posay range recently introduced Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+ (€25.95 at molloyspharmacy.com), which includes active ingredients to fight the signs of ageing.

Video of the Day

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Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 30

Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 30

Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 30

(3) Supergoop! Glow Screen SPF 30 (€17.30 at cultbeauty.com) offers a dewy, luminous glow as well as hyaluronic acid, peptides and niacinamide for added benefits. (4) Vichy’s new Capital Soleil UV-Age Daily SPF 50+ (€22 at mccabespharmacy.com) is light, leaves no white cast and is rich in peptides and niacinamide, meaning it works against hyperpigmentation and strengthens the skin’s barrier.

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Vichy Capital Soleil UV-AFew Daily SPF 50+

Vichy Capital Soleil UV-AFew Daily SPF 50+

Vichy Capital Soleil UV-AFew Daily SPF 50+

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Garnier Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist (SPF 50+)

Garnier Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist (SPF 50+)

Garnier Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist (SPF 50+)

Like all sun protection, facial SPF needs to be applied properly for true protection. SPF is broken down by sun exposure, so if you’re not exposed to too much light, then what you apply in the morning should be sufficient. If you’re outside all day, however, reapply every few hours. For makeup wearers, a spray, like (5) Garnier Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist (SPF 50+) (€9 at boots.ie) is great for this. Otherwise, you can dab your usual SPF over your makeup using a beauty sponge, which should cause minimal damage. SPF it’s not just for holidays!

Something old…

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The Ordinary Serum Foundation

The Ordinary Serum Foundation

The Ordinary Serum Foundation

Thanks to the trend for glowing skin, serum foundations have been popping up all over the place over the last several years, and The Ordinary was one of the first to hop into the category. The brand, known best for skincare, introduced its Serum Foundation (€6.70 at cloud10beauty.com) four years ago (I’ll admit, it’s not that old), and knocked it out of the park. This product offers sheer but effective coverage in 21 shades, using special technology to prevent it sinking into fine lines. I
love it.

... Something new (ish)

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Penney’s PS… Pro Natural Luminous Serum Foundation

Penney’s PS… Pro Natural Luminous Serum Foundation

Penney’s PS… Pro Natural Luminous Serum Foundation

Penney’s PS… Pro Natural Luminous Serum Foundation (€7) launched in 20 shades towards the end of 2020. It performs brilliantly for the price. The coverage is light and dewy, and longevity is decent for a formula of this nature. I find myself reaching for it regularly.

Lost in translation

Microneedling, or dermarolling, is the practice of puncturing the skin with tiny needles in order to stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines. It can also improve the general texture of the skin, minimising the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation. This practice is best performed by an expert, although home microneedling kits are growing in popularity.


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