As someone (and a beauty editor at that) who has naturally shiny, often greasy-looking skin, it’s fair to say that I have a very turbulent relationship with SPF. I know that I need to wear it every day, and I do, but finding a formula that works for me has been seriously tough. You see, the thing is, the majority of sun cream leaves a white, greasy sheen on the skin, even long after they have been applied, which isn’t a good look for the oily skinned among us.
In fact, it’s this shiny finish that puts so many of us off wearing SPF at all. During a recent conversation with a close group of friends, the topic of daily SPF application cropped up. “SPF just ruins my makeup, but since we’re not going out right now, I’m taking a break from it,” one said. It was at this point that I realised, actually, most people really don’t get the importance of SPF at all. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but rain or shine, indoors or outdoors, you should be wearing SPF every single day, even if your skin is oily. Not convinced? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
The sun produces UVA and UVB rays, both of which can be damaging in their own ways. The way that I like to remember which one is which is that UVA rays are the Ageing rays and UVB rays are the Burning rays. While UVB rays can’t penetrate glass or windows, UVA rays can, meaning that your skin is still susceptible to ageing sun damage, even if you’re inside.
“Sun cream is the best and cheapest anti-ageing product,” says DSusan Mayou, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic. “It has been clinically proven to slow down the effects of ageing on the skin.”
One of the most common arguments against wearing SPF daily is that especially right now, we need all of the vitamin D that we can get. And it’s true. SPF does also block our bodies’ ability to produce vitamin D from UVB rays (so this does require going outside). However, Mayou has a simple solution. “Around 10 to 15 minutes is adequate time to reap the benefits of vitamin D without protection, as long as the time chosen for exposure provides no risk of burning or tanning. This risk is dependent upon the time of day and skin type,” she says.
So yes, sadly, we should all be wearing SPF every day if we want to protect our skin against premature ageing and irreparable damage. And I mean proper sun cream, not just products that contain SPF. While an SPF 30 tinted moisturiser or SPF 50 face cream might be better than nothing, the amount of sun protection you’re applying simply isn’t enough.
“Moisturiser or cosmetics with SPF are better than those without but not as good at protecting against UV rays as a sun cream. It’s like tea with sugar versus the sugar alone,” warns Mayou. “Ensure all areas exposed to the sun are covered, and don’t forget the ears, neck and décolletage. Also, ensure you are applying right up to the hairline.”
Another top tip? Although it’s crucial to protect your face in these times, there are other areas that may require more attention than usual. “With current frequent hand washing, it’s important to remember the backs of the hands. Leave some sun cream next to the sink so you don’t forget to reapply,” says Dr Mayou.
So taking all of this into account, now really isn’t the time to be forgoing daily suncream application, especially as we fast approach summer. And as sun cream formulas get better and better as the years go by, there really is a formula out there that will work for you. Keep scrolling to shop the best lightweight, matte-finish sun creams for oily skin.