SPF is the holy grail of skincare and finally getting the recognition it deserves with smart formulas that are making it actually enjoyable to use. There’s no denying it’s a Summer staple to avoid walking away from the beach with a lobster red complexion. But did you know that it’s just as important to wear in Winter too?
Wearing sunscreen is about so much more than just preventing sunburn (and dangerous skin cancers!). Even if you’re the type to tan rather than burn, the sun is still causing serious damage and you don’t even need to be in the sun long enough to notice a colour change before it begins to put your cells in a state of stress.
Sun exposure is the number one cause of aging creating pigmentation, sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles and even a loss of volume leading to sagging skin. Of course, a sunburn is going to cause significant damage, but daily exposure adds up bit by bit and is far easier to prevent than it is to reverse.
Ultraviolette Co-Founder, Ava Matthews, is pioneering a whole new sun protection culture making it, dare I say, cool to wear SPF. On a mission to educate and inspire, she shared some hard truths about sunscreen with us.
“SPF is absolutely the most important step in any skincare routine and needs to be worn every day to do its job,” says Ava. “If you’re not protecting your face from the ultimate skin enemy – the sun – daily, then there’s really no point investing in botox, laser, fillers, retinols, chemical exfoliants, or cosmeceuticals.”
“SPF is the foundation of any good skincare routine.”
Adding sunscreen to your routine is a start, but learning how to use it properly is crucial.
Your makeup isn’t enough
“SPF doesn’t count in makeup alone, and SPF15 isn’t a great first line of defence, in Australia you really need SPF30 as a minimum,” says Ava.
Consider how much you’re using as well. There’s a good chance that even if your foundation or CC cream is SPF50+, you’re not slathering enough onto your face to get complete protection.
Reapplication is essential
“You do need to reapply during the day and after sweating when the UV index is over 3. One application doesn’t last all day, so keep some in your bag and top up every few hours particularly if you’ve been in direct sunlight during the warmer months.”
Don’t save it for your beach days
“You really do need to wear it every day. The UV levels in most Australian cities are above harmful levels pretty much most days of the year, and UVA rays penetrate through windows so reach you inside an office or in your car.”
Of course, we wouldn’t be telling you to wear SPF everyday if we didn’t have a bunch of great recommendations that couldn’t be farther from that white, sticky and smelly mess that was once known as sunscreen.
When it comes to the physical vs chemical debate, there are certainly pros and cons for each. However, the most effective sunscreen is going to be the one you actually wear (and reapply) everyday, so focus more on the SPF level and find a consistency you love over anything else.
FOR ALL SKIN TYPES
The product that has grown a cult following. More of a serum than a sunscreen in consistency, this broad-spectrum chemical ‘skinscreen’ is super easy to apply and absorbs into your skin really nicely. It does leave you with healthy looking glow that plays nicely with makeup yet doesn’t feel greasy or sticky. And did I mention it contains my favourite vitamin-C packed ingredient, Kakadu Plum? It’s easy to forget this is actually a sunscreen because it’s so different to any others that exist. Just remember to watch how much you’re applying so you’re getting enough to be properly protected. More is more.
FOR DRY SKIN
Dry or mature skin will really soak up this super hydrating SPF. It has the same consistency as a moisturiser and feels weightless on the skin after tapping it in. Even the driest skin types likely won’t need to use a moisturiser with it and there’s no need to worry about being left with a white cast sitting in fine lines and cracked skin. It has a dewy finish with light reflecting ingredients that create a blurring effect alongside antioxidants that help prevent damage.
There’s nothing you won’t love about this sunscreen. It genuinely feels like applying a moisturiser and lives up to everything it promises, including hydrating your face and acting as a primer while sitting pretty much invisibly on your skin. It has a slight tint meaning you won’t have to deal with a white cast and is broad-spectrum so UVA and UVB rays don’t stand a chance. I’ve used it both with and without a moisturiser underneath and have loved it both ways.
FOR OILY/ACNEIC SKIN
You can no longer use oily skin as an excuse not to put sunscreen on with this beauty from La-Roche Posay. It leaves you with a velvety matte finish that doesn’t feel dry or chalky but rather feels soft and hydrated. It’s been formulated for acne-prone skin and is non-comedogenic so your pores are taken care of. It’s fragrance-free, non-greasy and the slight tint to the formula means you can pat it onto your skin without any whiteness left behind.
FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Physical sunscreen tends to be gentler on sensitive skin as it reflects rather than absorbs a percentage of sun rays. Unlike others, this physical sunscreen is lightweight and absorbs quickly into your skin so you’re not left with any sticky residue. It’s recently been reformulated giving you even better protection as an SPF 50+ and 100% nano-free UV filter. Plus, it’s loaded with antioxidants, anti-pollution and anti-infrared technologies that further prevent signs of ageing. Oily skin will love the semi-matte formula and it’s also free from fragrance which is another check on the sensitive skin wish list.
Photo: Myles Pritchard
MakeUp: Bonnie G Oz Beauty Expert
Hair: Rory Calasse
Model: Peyton Blaine @IMG models