I know it has been a while and I promised more blog posts this year but…..Anyway, I am back now and today I will be talking about something a lot of people neglect in their routine….Sun Protection.
I have been guilty of this in the past myself many years ago before I got into proper skincare, I was walking round a departmental store in London and decided to go to one of the counters to get a skin consultation and product recommendations. The woman asked a lot of questions, what I do, where I live etc. She then asked..’what sunscreen do you use’? And I replied ‘none’…..she looked at me in horror and said …’and you live in West Africa’???? LOLLLL! Needless to say after that day I had to look into wearing sunscreen.Most people in this part of the world feel they don’t need sunscreen especially my melanin sisters…..you actually do! Rainy or dry season, fall, summer or winter. Studies have shown that only a small percentage of women who know they should be wearing sunscreen actually do and of this percentage only a small number reapply after two hours if they are outdoors
Sunscreen is by far the most important factor in preventing premature ageing and preserving overall skin health. Don’t get me wrong, the sun is beneficial is many ways as it is an excellent source of Vitamin D, UV rays also help to suppress the overreaction of the immune system (which is beneficial to patients with psoriasis) but an over-exposure will lead to problems.Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures sun protection from UVB rays which cause sunburn but it does not protect from UVA rays which are even more dangerous as it has more influence on collagen and elastin (skin”protein”). Some moisturisers and make up contain SPF but I would rather wear a separate SPF which is moisturizing if I want to reduce the layering or steps in my skincare routine. Besides to get the protection you need from your makeup with SPF, you would need 7 layers!!!!You are advised to wear a minimum of SPF 15 but I would rather go up to 30 as my minimum given where I live. Note that a higher SPF does not mean significantly higher protection (I once used SPF 100 in Dubai….smh).
Most people give the white cast excuse as the main reason for not wearing a sunscreen which is problem with sunscreen for women of colour as a result of the physical filters – titanium oxide and zinc oxide but there is the option of chemical sunscreens which do not leave any white cast. The chemical sunscreens are formulated with oxybenzone, avobenzone,octisalate,octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. here is a list of 9 sunscreen products that I can assure you will not leave you looking like Casper! (apologies for picture quality, some are my old instagram posts)
- The Bodyshop Multi Protection Essence SPF 50 – This what I will call a city SPF as I do not think it is effective enough for Lagos sun. A few people even told me they got darker using it. I would wear it during winter in London.
- Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50 – a Japanese brand.Available on Amazon. Super light and non-drying despite being a chemical sunscreen. It takes ages to get shipped to you though. Always buy the one in the plain sky blue bottle not the ombre blue bottle.
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid SPF 70 – a trusted brand. Also a chemical sunscreen. Wears beautifully under make up.
- 4 . Neostrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF 50 – a physical sunscreen. Tinted upon application but disappears into the skin. Trick is to apply in sections and wait a while before applying make up. Great post procedure. 5. Eucerin Oil Control Sun Gel Creme SPF 50 – another great brand. Available only at Boots that I know of. A chemical sunscreen and also great under make up. I can’t really speak about the oil control as my skin isn’t oily .6.Earth’s Recipe Waterful Sungel SPF 50 – a korean brand. Super hydrating and protecting too. Gives me a glow whenever I wear it.7. Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 (untinted) – great for acne prone skin. Has the added benefit of lactic acid, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. 8. Heliocare Advanced Gel SPF 50. Loved by dermatologists. Really good post peels and laser treatments.
9. Laroche Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk – dries matte, perfect for oily and acne prone skin.
For body, as this is neglected in terms of sun protection, I use the Image Skincare Prevention+ Daily Ultra Sheer Spray SPF 45+ on the go. It is permanently in my handbag and Palmers Eventone Suncare Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50. Be sure you don’t use sunscreen meant for the body only for your face as it may clog your pores and cause breakouts.
Sun protection rules I live by
. Always wear at least SPF 30 daily, apply 15 minutes before going in the sun (as the last step of your skincare routine) and reapply every 2 hours if you are outdoors. Use a teaspoonful for face and neck
. Wear sunglasses when in the sun (not reflectors…they are trendy I know but bad for your skin), if possible a hat or an umbrella…let them laugh, at least you won’t look like a raisin in a few years
. Wear protective clothing….. long sleeved tops ….(I know the weather is hot but….)
. Stay out of the sun as much between 10am and 4pm…though the sun is still waxing strong at 5pm some days
. Always buy sunscreen with UVA/UVB or broad spectrum protection and one that contains zinc oxide.
What sunscreens have you tried and how has it helped. Let me know in the comments.
Till next time…