Wednesday 21 March 2018

Sun sense - the top five sun protection products

Ignore the sun protection and your skin will pay the price, says our expert, who has the panellists' five favourites for everyday use

Clarins Mission Perfection Yeux SPF 15
Clarins Mission Perfection Yeux SPF 15
Vichy Slow Age SPF 25
La Roche-Posay Invisible Fresh Mist SPF 50
Image Skincare Prevention+ SPF 30+
Skinceuticals Mineral Eye UV Defense SPF 30

Sarah Caden

Last week, we featured home-peeling products that eat away dead skin cells and leave you with smoother, brighter new skin.

To be all shiny and new is lovely, but what we ignore is that this skin is sensitive, to the sun in particular. I know, you want to insert an eye-rolling emoji, because the Irish attitude remains that the sun is there to bake under. We react like sulky teenagers to sun-protection advice and restrict its use to holidays. Day-to-day, we're slapdash with the SPF, and our delicate Celtic skin pays the price. Sulkiness aside, part of the reason we resist using a daily SPF is that it's greasy and sticky. So we sought out products with high protection and a high comfort level, too. They're sun protection with bonuses - working hard, without making you too aware that they are there.

Best Overall

Vichy Slow Age SPF 25, €30, available nationwide

Vichy Slow Age SPF 25

This is protection contained in a moisturiser that has a greater dose of UVA and UVB protection than most. In fact, the moisturising is the support act, and anyone with dry skin will need a serum or a face oil for that boost. High in an antioxidant probiotic ingredient, which also has skin-soothing effects, it's a hard-hitter that doesn't feel like heavy weather. "It's funny how sun-protection products leave your face white, as if to hammer the message home," one panellist said. "But there is no whiteness from this and no greasy finish."

Best Total Care

Image Skincare Prevention+ SPF 30+, €40.50, for stockists, see

Image Skincare Prevention+ SPF 30+

This is a double-jobber that moisturises well and has great broad-spectrum sun protection. 'Broad-spectrum' means that you are protected from UVA and UVB rays; the former age you, the latter burn you. The UVAs are evil - you can't see what they're doing until you are leather later in life. This also has a healthy dose of antioxidant vitamin C, which claims to help bolster the skin against sun damage. "No oily frying-pan - it's virtuous moisturiser that doesn't make you feel like it's hard work being good," a panellist said.

Best Sun Spray

La Roche-Posay Invisible Fresh Mist SPF 50, €14, pharmacies nationwide

La Roche-Posay Invisible Fresh Mist SPF 50

One to keep on your desk, to grab on days - which may occur more often than you admit - when the SPF-step just didn't happen. It is, as described, a fine mist that goes on imperceptibly and can be sprayed over make-up without messing with it. The protection is good, but for regular daily exposure, not 10 hours on a sun lounger in Spain. "I don't like layers of product on my face and find sun cream sort of disgusting," said a panellist. "This is a discovery for day-to-day use."

Best Bright Eyes

Clarins Mission Perfection Yeux SPF 15, €42, Clarins counters nationwide

Clarins Mission Perfection Yeux SPF 15

There's not a lot can be done for dark spots and wrinkles around the eyes once they form, but a bit of sun protection can go some way to stop them from forming. Or forming too soon, at least. It's tricky to find SPF that is gentle enough for this sensitive skin, so for daily use, look for one that is designed for around the eyes. "This product has several things going for it," one panellist said. "The eye cream, the protection, the brush applicator and the radiance-boosting tint that might replace my Touche Eclat."

Best Matte Mate

Skinceuticals Mineral Eye UV Defense SPF 30, €31, for stockists, see

Skinceuticals Mineral Eye UV Defense SPF 30

We're fans of the original Sheer Mineral UV Defense (€43), a broad-spectrum fluid for the face with top-notch protection, no white tint, no greasiness and a light tint. This is a great product for similar reasons. The sun filters are mineral rather than chemical, which makes it suitable for really sensitive eye-area skin. "You can use this from eyelid up to brow and it makes a decent primer for eyeshadow," one panellist said. "The tint is a bonus, covering dark circles or spots."


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