I was just thinking about how much choice we have now when it comes to facial suncreams. When I was in my teens, a very well-preserved Norwegian lady I knew told me off for getting a facial tan by warning that "A tan lasts a week but the damage lasts forever" Admittedly this was years ago before the advent of lasers, retinol creams and peels etc but it stayed with me. I understood (although there was a lot less information available about what the changes actually were) that the UVA rays could potentially damage and age my skin and the UVB could cause skin cancer.
The first time I got excited about SPF was when I went travelling in the US and found that there were a lot more dermatologist brands creating oil-free formulations with high protection aimed at acnegenic skin - it was a revelation! Today it's a lot easier as there are so many textures, finishes and price points to suit everyone. So combine protection with a texture that makes your skin look and feel great.
Here are a few facial creams I like for different skin types....
For a Glowy Complexion - Eve Lom Daily Protection SPF50
If you have dry to combination skin and like a dewy finish, you’ll love this - it’s as far away from the cakey, chalky face SPFs of the ‘bad old days’ as you can get. The light texture disappears into skin without leaving any residue so you can apply make-up straight over the top.
For All-round Protection & Perfection - Murad Essential C Moisture SPF30
Think of this like a moisturiser that does more - it’s got UVA and UVB protection plus skin-brightening vitamin C (good for pigmented skin) and pollution-fighting antioxidants, so if you live or work in the city it’s a great day-to-day option.
For Sun Preparation - Institut Esthederm High Protection Face Cream
This is probably my all-time favourite suncare brand. It's very expensive but their sun intolerance range (the ones in the white bottles) are the only I've found that truly block the sun. They work on the idea of adapting skin to the sun instead of the usual SPF numbering system so require a leap of faith initially. I've used their Photo Reverse (pigmentation prevention) suncream for years. It doesn't have a matte finish but good for hot countries. For normal to dry, extra sensitive skin, their High Protection face cream is a good one for prepping skin and can take you from everyday summer sun at home to the more intense heat without burning. They also do a tanning range (in orange bottles) that enable you to get a safe, age minimizing tan.
For a Matte Finish - Medik8 Physical Sunscreen SPF30
I’ve been using this suncream a lot recently - it’s great for oily or blemish-prone skin as it has a completely matte finish. It’s chemical-free, using only UV-absorbing minerals to keep skin protected and added antioxidants to repair.
For Fair & Sensitive Skin - Avene Very High Protection SPF50
If you’re very fair or have skin that burns easily, try this. It’s quite rich and creamy but sinks in well and is also pretty water resistant, so if you’re off on a beach or pool holiday (or just somewhere hot where you’re likely to get a bit sweaty!) I really recommend it. Available for face and body, take care and remember to reapply after swimming).
For Midday Touch-Ups - Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Sunscreen SPF45
This translucent powder is perfect for touch-ups and if you’re prone to an oily t-zone you can use it to quickly de-grease when you’re on the go. Just remember to use an SPF moisturiser beforehand as it’s tricky to ensure you’ve got absolute full coverage - think of it more like a finishing powder with added protection. There’s also an oil-free SPF30 version with salicylic acid that’s perfect for acne-prone skin.
For a Dry Touch - Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 55
A good drugstore product for anyone who doesn't like thick greasy creams. It contains the patented ingredient helioplex and has a weightless, velvety finish that doesn’t block your pores.
Tell me all your suncream stories, the good, the bad and the ghostly : )
Aisling in Bahrain x