Sun smart: your essential skincare edit for summer
Sun's nearly out for the summer, so that means lots of us are getting ready to pack our bags and head for (hopefully) sunnier climes.
Whether you're going to the beach somewhere hot or planning a staycation, most of us will be looking forward to casting off the winter woollies and spending lots more time outdoors. So sunscreen is a vital element of our packing.
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Gone are the days when we headed off on our hols without a sunscreen in sight and proudly sported blistering, lobster-red skin in the delusion that we may end up with a Brazilian babe mahogany tan! Indeed, my own mother used to smear me in coconut oil whenever the sun appeared to "help me get brown as a berry" for the summer. In her defence, it was the 1980s and totally acceptable to baste your children like deliciously scented little sausages in the sun.
Luckily, we are all more informed and more aware of sun safety in 2019. There is now a huge array of sun products from which to choose. To help you decide which product best suits your needs, I've streamlined some of the newest options on the skincare market and picked some of my favourites.
Looking for a luxe after-sun cream? Check out this beaut. It's packed full of lipid concentrates and hyaluronic acid and it will plump and smooth thirsty skin. Vichy Ideal Soleil After Sun Milk, € 17.95 from pharmacies nationwide.
TWIST AND POUT
If you want to protect your pout from too much sun this summer, slick on some of this gorgeous tinted lip balm. It contains SPF 30 but without the Casper the Ghost, chalky, white-lip finish.
Shiseido UV Lip Colour Splash Lip Balm, €27. Available at pharmacies and department stores nationwide.
This ultra-rich coconut body butter will drench even the tightest, driest skin in a silky soft veil. Smooth on after a long day at the beach or pool to give parched skin deep hydration. Can be used on face or body.
DETAILS: Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Body Butter, €6.50, from pharmacies and supermarkets nationwide.
This non-toxic moisturiser from the multi award-winning organic child's skincare line will soothe and rehydrate little ones' skin. A brilliant option for all kids, even those ones with sensitive and eczema-prone skin.
DETAILS: Childs Farm After Sun Lotion, €6.50 from Boots nationwide.
For a cooling salve for sunburned skin, try the age-old skin solution of aloe vera. The soothing succulent plant is the main ingredient in this refreshing after-sun from Nivea.
DETAILS: Nivea Sun After Sun Spray, €7.99 from pharmacies nationwide.
Six of the best sunscreens
Best for pale and sensitive skin
The vast majority of Irish people have Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1 - a fancy way of saying most of us have pale, porcelain and sensitive skin. That means that using a high SPF on holidays is a must. This long-lasting, water-resistant cream is ideal for hypersensitive, pale skin that needs an iron-clad defence against UV rays. Avène Very High Protection Spray 50+ and SPF 30+, €23.50 from pharmacies nationwide.
Best for the whole family
UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing longer-term skin damage (and premature ageing). The UVA star rating system shows how much protection a product has, with five stars being the highest level. This beaut has the top rating and won't break the budget - so perfect for big families that will need to use a lot of sunscreen. Also suitable for sensitive, sun-intolerant skin. Lacura Extra Sensitive Sun Lotion, €3.50 from Aldi stores nationwide.
If streaky, chalky sunscreens that take an age to rub in drive you crackers on holiday, try this non-streaky version. Apply generously and notice how it soaks right in after just a few strokes. Cien Invisible Sun Spray SPF 30, €4.99 from Lidl stores nationwide.
Some of the chemicals present in certain sunscreens - oxybenzone and octinoxate are the main culprits - break down coral and disrupt the development of fish and marine life. A whopping 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen lotion ends up in oceans each year. So, if you're looking for a marine life- and coral-safe SPF, check out this gem. The Green People Organic Scent Free Lotion, €25 from health stores nationwide.
Best for under makeup
Some facial sunscreens can leave your face looking a little ghostly, but not this one. Try this little wonder when your face is in need of some sun protection and a dash of glow. I'm always on the lookout for beauty multi-taskers and this gem is a three-in-one - SPF 30, a primer packed with lots of juicy hyaluronic acid, and a strobing illuminator. Can be worn alone or under makeup. Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Beauty Base, €24.99 from sculptedbyaimee.com, Cloud 10 Beauty, and pharmacies nationwide.
Best for sun intolerance
Studies have shown that a third of women suffer from sun intolerance (the sun gives them irritated skin, redness, sunburn and rashes). That's why Lancaster, an expert in SPF for decades, has created a specific line for sun intolerance. Formulated with fewer ingredients than other ranges, it minimises the risk of skin allergies and irritation. Lancaster Sun Sensitive Softening Body Milk SPF 50, €41, and SPF 30, €31. From Arnotts and Brown Thomas nationwide.