It’s finally springtime! The celebration of nature, flowers, birds and the first rays of sunshine on the terrace…
And, yes, today, I’ve decided to be a killjoy and talk about daily UV protection! I believe that the best way to preserve the youthfulness of your skin is to protect it every day, all year round.
To get straight to the point, I just want you to take a look at these two pictures:
These 2 stunning ladies have always protected their skin from the sun; they even say that this is their best beauty secret.
Here in Dubai, there are a lot of girls with very fair skin that get completely sun-burned to look tanned, but end up just looking orange and old as a result even though they’re still very young. No, really, sorry, but it’s true, so I’ll say it loud and clear:
Abusing the sun is a direct ticket to look old and wrinkled!
I’m not against having a sun tan, it’s true that it gives a healthy glow to the skin, but it can be done in a progressive way. Especially if you protect your skin well, tanning will be much more durable than if you go from sunburn to sunburn. There are protective products and anti-ageing prevention can start by reducing sunburn scenarios.
In Dubai, the spring really looks more like summer (for people from Europe) with its bright sunshine and its 30 degrees. So I started to protect my skin against UV rays and have been for over a month now. I have been using some clever products that do not give me the impression of using those good old thick sunscreen creams (you know, the ones which leave you with a white and greasy mask on your skin).
A quick reminder about UVA, UVB, SPF etc:
UVA: They can go into the deeper layers of the skin. UVA are responsible for wrinkles, lack of firmness, caused by the breakdown of collagen in the skin. They are also responsible for skin cancer. They are dangerous all day AND they pass through the windows.
UVB: These only penetrate the superficial layers of the skin. They cause tanning, sunburn, and of course skin cancer. They can accelerate the ageing of the skin. They are dangerous during intense sunlight hours between noon and 4 pm. They are blocked by windows.
SPF: Sun Protective Factor. SPF is used to block UVB (the higher the SPF is higher, the better). About the number, it is a multiplier of the time it will take you “to get sunburn”. For example, with an SPF 50 product, it will take you 50 times longer to get sunburn than without sunscreen. It also depends on the place, the brightness of the sun and the time, conditions may vary. In the Caribbean at noon in full sun, I think everyone would burn in less than 50 minutes.
You must apply sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure to the sun to take full advantage of its protection and efficiency which generally lasts about 2 hours.
PA: The PA blocks UVA. The index is noted with PA +, which ranges from 1 to 3 +, and you can sometimes find “*” instead of “+”.
More recently, brands have started to use the “PA” indicator. A few years ago, UVA was considered harmless, but now, you’ll find more and more products with a PA+++ protection.
Generally, products that protect against UVA will have a circled UVA sign on the packaging or the level of PA protection.
Phototypes/ Skin types: This classification depends on both the skin colour and sun sensitivity. Skin types vary from 0 (albinos, who do not tan at all) to 6 (black skin, which can also get sunburnt, just so you know).
Personally, I’m a phototype 3 but the fair type (I’m a light brunette, with fair eyes), which is almost like a phototype 2, but I still can have a fair tan.
Is it necessary to use UV daily skin care protection all year round?
Do I need to say more… ? I think this picture illustrates rather well the ravages of abusing the sun.
Well, more precisely, it is the choice of SPF which will matter. Skin like mine with a fair phototype will need daily protection all year round, but the SPF will vary with the intensity of the UV/sunlight.
In winter, my make-up (which contains an SPF 15 or 20) is enough for me, but once the first suns rays appear (and especially here, where the sun is bright), I need a higher SPF. Here, I’m using a SPF 50.
Ideally, I always try to avoid exposure to direct sunlight during the day, but hey, sometimes you have no choice. And in the shadow, you may still have some UV rays that manage to get past, the nasty little things!
So I have added a sunscreen to my usual care routine.
What products should I use for a good daily UV protection?
Sun protection products have improved a lot in recent years, especially their texture.
You can now find very light and transparent textures, goodbye to the old thick, greasy and white formulas!
2 products have caught my attention when I started looking for a good daily UV protection, and both have UV bases, which means you apply them after the moisturiser and before make-up.
I made this choice even though UV moisturisers exist (like this Kiehl’s product everyone is raving about). Moisturisers containing important UV filters, are often thicker, and I like to keep my own daytime moisturiser. Even if I have to add another product, it does not bother me at all.
The first product that I liked, thanks to its very chic packaging, is one from CHANEL.
This really is a pure protection product. It has a SPF 50 (the highest protection), an anti-UVA protection (PA +++), but also contains anti-oxidants and anti-pollution ingredients, providing protection against free radicals. It will also prevent dark spots of course.
The UV filters are a mix of mineral and chemical filters.
For me, with this product, we are no longer looking at sun care, it is a true anti-ageing product, for protecting the skin against anything that accelerates the signs of ageing skin. We’re talking prevention here, rather than a product for repairing your damaged skin after the fact.
The texture is perfect: very fluid or liquid and oil-free, you barely feel it on your skin.
The effect is slightly white at first, but it blends very quickly into the skin without a trace.
Remember to shake the bottle before applying it, and personally, I also apply it on the neck, the décolleté, the nape and the ears (those who have had a sunburn on the ears and the nape will know what I mean).
Since this is a CHANEL product, of course it is scented, but it is a very discrete flowery fragrance.
Personally, I would have preferred it without any fragrance, but hey, this is CHANEL, it goes with the image, I guess…
My opinion: it is very nice to use, and I tested it for a walk in the sun for several hours, and I managed to avoid any sunburn (although my friends who had put not any protection were not so lucky ;)) .
Not bad for a sunscreen supposed to protect optimally for only 2 hours!
A lot of people think that applying a high sun protection prevents them from getting a sun tan; this is absolutely not true. It will take more time, but you will have your beautiful tan.
The product comes in a 30 ml bottle and is about 250 AED.
Again, a super protection:
– against UVB rays with SPF 40 (which is still a very high protection)
– against UVA (with a PA +++)
– anti-ageing with anti-oxidants and anti-free radicals.
The difference with the CHANEL product is that it only contains mineral filters, which is great for sensitive skin or people who have allergies to chemical filters.
Clarins product texture is non-greasy (oil-free), very fluid and also has no white after effect either.
The other difference with the CHANEL one is that it is fragrance free, which I personally prefer.
I apply it the same way as the CHANEL product: I shake it, I apply it on my face, neck, décolleté, nape and ears!(very important, the ears, lol)
The bottle is also a 30 ml and costs around 200 AED (a little cheaper than the CHANEL product). Apparently, it comes also with tinted versions.
In summary :
Both products are ultra practical and effective.
If I need extra protection during the day, I can easily take them with me (they are very small ).
The secret to applying some extra product on the skin with some make-up on?
I start with absorbing the excess of oil in my face with blot papers, then I take a little amount of product on the tips of my fingers and gently dab on the most exposed areas (nose, forehead, chin, neck areas…), and voilà!
Okay, I admit, I’m still waiting for someone to invent the miracle product for “touch-up” sun protection during the day without ruining my make-up, like a super light mist, I’d love that! But in the meantime, this “dabbing” technique works quite well. Give it a try smile
And you, are you a fan of UV protection on a daily basis?
Photo credits : CHANEL, Clarins, Julianne Moore, Dita Von Teese and Donatella Versace