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Get the most from your SPF (without feeling oily)

The most important step in maintaining moisturised summer skin has nothing to do with skin care products, and it is achievable whatever your budget; make sure you drink enough fluids!  For optimum skin health (and yes, it does benefit the rest of your body) you should be aiming to drink two litres of water a day; more if you are in a hot or air-conditioned environment, or engaging in exercise. 

What is SPF?

Whether your skin is oily, dry, or combination, it’s also very important to use an SPF if you are going to be exposed to direct sunlight. Although many people with oily skin tend to stay away from higher SPFs, there are a number of products formulated particularly for oily skin; read the packaging carefully, and if in doubt -- ask.

Apply it little and often.

SPF stands for sun protection factor; it indicates the length of time you can stay in the sun without burning.  Hence if this would normally be 10 minutes, and you apply SPF 15, theoretically you can stay in the sun for 150 minutes without burning.  However, if you are a sun worshipper (yes, we know you’re out there), it isn’t quite that straightforward.  Once skin has started to burn, even slightly, it is hyper sensitised and far more vulnerable.  If you must actually expose your skin, particularly your face, to direct sunlight, use a higher factor and apply it frequently.  Little and often avoids greasiness and sun damage.

Long Periods of Sun Require specific SPF

Most leading skin care brands now produce a variety of moisturisers and colour correcting creams which contain SPF.   If you are using a cc cream or one of the other all-in-one tinted base products, make sure you have adequate sun protection.  The concern from dermatologists regarding cc and other combination creams is that although they contain SPF, they are also heavier due to the pigment.  Therefore people tend not to apply them as lavishly as they would a simple SPF moisturiser.  While this is fine if you are rarely in direct sunlight – for example just between your home and the car on the way to work –  if you are likely to be outside most of the day, or on a sunshine holiday, bear in mind it’s unlikely cc creams will give sufficient protection alone.

As the temperature changes you may find your skin is more sensitive, and adding in an SPF product that doesn’t make your skin greasy may take a little experimentation – don’t be afraid to ask for samples and try things out before you invest in a particular brand.  Try and find a simple routine – that way once you have found products which suit your skin, you’re more likely to stick to it.


Published: Thursday, 26 June 2014

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