SUN, SEA, SURF, AND SUNSCREEN : PART II
If you read last week's post then you're already well-versed in why facial sun protection is essential no matter what the season, today I'm shining the spotlight on body SPFs.
If I could change one thing about my [admittedly short in the bigger picture] life, I would not spend my teen summers lying in the sun in nothing but a bikini and Rimmel Black Out before lathering aftersun over my burns with the wanton whim of a girl who knew so little about sun protection as to presume that a £3 bottle of Boots Soltan Lotion could somehow reverse damage... I'm well aware that I will pay for my moments of teen stupidity in years to come, but I am also glad that I am only 22 and [thanks to the world of beauty blogging] well-versed in the risks and dangers associated with sun exposure enough not to be so foolish in the future. For the past year I've worn facial SPF on a daily basis and I spent the recent heatwave enjoying the sun with numerous bottles of SPF50 to hand [and a new found love of and respect for self-tanning products].
This circumvents the usual pitfalls of SPF in its texture, which is refreshingly light, silky, and cooling. Like a traditional luxury lotion meant to moisturise your skin, it's hydrating and sheer with an unobtrusive citrus scent, and there's almost nothing about it that feels like sunscreen. Light but moist, apply this post-shower and you can forget the body cream and rest assured that skin is protected from both UV rays and environmental damage.
Clarins, a specialist in skincare, is one of few luxury brands offering extensive and excellent sun protection options at fair [if not low] prices. Application ease is guaranteed with a spray formula - and the pressure and consistency here are perfect. The innovative oil-free formula quickly melts into the skin and then vanishes completely, leaving skin with that cool, clean feel that is so light you think it couldn't possibly be working. It's recommended for sports so I wear this whenever I run, no matter how sunny it is [80% of UV rays break through cloud cover]. Well-versed SPF users will be aware that no SPF is truly waterproof, but this is designed to last for as long as possible, so is a great option if you're planning on being in and out of the pool.
Aēsop know how to do skincare so it was no surprise that their latest [and highly seasonally appropriate] launch bore the SPF factor. Aside from broad-spectrum SPF50 protection, this covers all the necessary body care requirements - moisturising Vitamin E and softening sweet almond oil accompanied by the dreamy aroma of lemon, lavender, and spearmint. Application is every bit as gratifying and indulgent as you would anticipate from an Aēsop launch, proving that SPF truly can bear the luxe factor.
With a peculiar grey-tinge and a dry and chalky texture, this doesn't exactly 'glide on effortlessly' [and admittedly requires some elbow grease to blend in]. However, it serves the purpose of being completely utterly shine/grease/residue free; if you hate the feeling of sunscreen on your skin, this is the answer. The oddly specific SPF18 is really too low a factor for summer sun exposure but will serve when limbs are exposed during the cooler months. Once it's absorbed you won't even feel like you're wearing anything, but for a delectably sweet coconut aroma - as everyone knows, doing good and smelling good are a winning combo.
The beauty industry's obsession with oil has finally found its way into your suncare regime. This broad spectrum formula is spiked with Vitamin E to impart both limbs and hair with a healthy sheen, and soothing plant extracts - from aloe vera to Nyamplung oil - which protect against the drying effects of sun, salt, and chlorine. Scent-wise, it's tropical, fruity, and fancy, just like a body oil should be, and the texture is light and breathable. It sprays on easily and stays put, leaving skin feeling refreshed, smooth, and radiant for the day ahead. When used on the hair, it impacts a nourishing sheen, and unless applied over-zealously doesn't result in greasiness or unwanted buildup.
busting the jargon
- SPF is an acronym for 'sun protection factor' and refers to protection from UVB rays only. UVA rays are indicated by a separate 'star' rating.
- VB rays are the cause of sunburn and redness, they damage skin cells on the periphery of the epidermis and are capable of causing skin cancer.
- VA rays penetrate deep within the skin and generate free radicals, the cause of irreversible skin damage and 'ageing' [wrinkling, sagging, and leathering]. These count for 95% of the radiation reaching the skin's surface.
- PF15 is the very lowest rating recommended by the NHS [The British Association of Dermatologists recommends no less than SPF30].
- oughly, SPF15 keeps out 93% of UVB rays and SPF50 keeps out 98%.'Star' ratings range from 1 to 5. The lowest recommended is 4 [ defined on most products as medium or high.
- For more details see this incredibly helpful cheat sheet.
What's your favourite body SPF?