We know the drill — never step out of the house without first applying sunscreen. Those who fear the sun’s effects will even carry a bottle with them for reapplication throughout the day. But with so many different options, choosing the right sunscreen can be a challenge. We’ve asked for help from skincare experts who can shed light on sun care.
1. SPF slows down redness
As we know, staying under the sun for too long can cause our skin to turn red easily and eventually, suffer from sunburns. That’s where sunscreen comes in. Depending on its sun protection factor (SPF), each sunscreen has the ability to reduce the redness when you’re under the sun.
“If your skin tends to turn red after two minutes of sun exposure, wearing an SPF 10 sunscreen will prolong that time to 20 minutes under the same exposure,” says Dr Chiam, aesthetics doctor of Face, Body & Skin Aesthetics Medical Centre.
2. Go for at least SPF 30
Sunscreen isn’t just for outdoors sports, like swimming or weekend rounds of golf. Dr Wendy Chuah from Dermacare Aesthetic & Laser Clinic advises a minimum of SPF 30 for daily usage and SPF 50 for prolonged periods of sun exposure. But it’s not just about the SPF figure; Dr Chiam reminds us to “ensure that it is broad spectrum, meaning it confers protection against both UVA and UVB rays.” Read your bottles and tubes, and look out for the words “UVA/UVB broad spectrum sun protection”. The PA indication also shows the level of protection against the UVA rays.
3. Apply half a teaspoon of sunscreen
In our rush to leave the house, we may haphazardly apply a small amount of sunscreen. But you may not be putting enough to reap its full benefits. “Recent studies show that most users only derive 20 to 50 per cent of the SPF expected from their products because they do not apply the sunscreen as thickly as it’s done during laboratory testing,” says Dr Chiam. Instead of just a few drops, go for “half a teaspoon,” advises Dr Wendy.
4. Remember to re-apply
Just because we spend most of the day indoors doesn’t mean we don’t need to re-apply sunscreen. Sunscreen protection only lasts for about two hours. “Throughout the day, we may have perspired and rubbed off some sunscreen. In order for us to have sufficient sun protection, it’s best to re-apply it [every two hours]” says Dr Wendy. But if you’re wearing foundation or BB cream, turn to compact foundations, loose powder or brush-on sunscreens with SPF to avoid messing up your makeup.
Do take note however that continually re-applying thick layers of sunscreen, foundations and powders may “exacerbate acne and cause blocked pores,” says Dr Chiam. It’s important to cleanse the skin well at the end of the day.
5. Don’t forget about the rest of your body
Dr Chiam points out that many people forget about other exposed parts of the body, like the décolletage, neck, arms and legs. “These are often neglected and it is not uncommon for people to develop sun damage in these areas,” says Dr Chiam.
6. Use an oil-based cleanser to remove sunscreen
Using a normal face wash at the end of the day to cleanse away your sunscreen may not be good enough. “Most sunscreens contain ingredients like titanium and zinc dioxide that can be hard to remove,” says Dr Chiam. “The best way is to use an oil-based cleanser. It helps to lift these stubborn ingredients and make it easier to wash away with water.”
To ensure that your skin receives full sun protection, the new Sisley Super Soin Solaire Tinted Sun Care SPF 30 combines two mineral solar filters — micronised zinc oxide and ultra-fine titanium dioxide — that will help minimise sunburns and photo-ageing. Available in two shades, porcelain and natural, this water-resistant sunscreen masks flaws and is great for those “no-makeup” makeup days.
Japanese beauty brand Fancl is finally back in Singapore after a hiatus and headlining its latest lineup is its whitening series. The Fancl Sunguard 50+ Protect UV has a three-prong approach to sun protection: Preventing skin darkening; protecting against photo-ageing; and penetrating the skin for deep hydration.