My skin is so pale and sensitive, that, when younger, I used to wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit to avoid getting burnt to a crisp and looking like a tomato. Actually, let me re-phrase that; in most cases, I was made wear the t-shirt. But, it worked. Pale and interesting I stayed, not a red mark in sight. But I couldn’t keep hiding under t-shirts forever; eventually, my ghostly-limbs had to feel some legit sun and suncream was required.
I used to begrudgingly apply it only while on the occasional sun holiday thanks to the non-subtle messaging on TV and in magazines. But every dermatologist I’ve seen since I was 18 has said the same thing: wearing a dose of daily SPF is the only thing that will keep your skin from looking like an old, leather handbag. Yes, even in Ireland, where we get two sun-filled days a year – it must be worn every single day while indoors (UV won’t let a silly thing like a window stop it from hitting you with its rays) and even when it’s cloudy (ditto, UV and clouds).
It seems like a stretch because it’s not that fun to apply, they always used to make you feel like you’d covered your skin in greasy oil and you can’t see results right off the bat. But not even your favourite super, duper anti-age serum will protect you from the long-term damaging effects of UV without an SPF. They are working beneath the skin’s layers to prevent lasting damage. And thankfully, the new formula variations have evolved into textures that are both lightweight and airy.
Here’s our pick of four of the best on the market:
Skinceuticals Sheer Physical Uv Defense SPF 50, €41
This one is a favourite of IMAGE.i.e., Editor Ellie Balfe who swears by the entire Skinceuticals range. Once applied, let it settle into the skin for a few moments and makeup with glide on smoothly after. As well as protecting the skin, this one also boosts its natural radiance and uses mineral filters to provide high broad-spectrum UV protection.
La Roche Posey Anthelois SPF 50+ Ultra Light Invisible Face Mist, €20
I’ve always loved La Roche for SPFs, as they are so light and easy-to-apply, yet they don’t cause my acne-prone skin to break out. I wear this one under and over makeup, and it’s so easy to re-apply, and it’s none-greasy. It’s also new to the range, an addition to the already popular fluid on the market. Some are hesitant about a spray in terms of total protection, but this works just as well, and it’s handy to have on the go.
Available at pharmacies nationwide
Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense SPF 50, €39
Doubling up as both a moisturiser and an SPF 50 sunscreen, Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense is a perfect two-in-one for those with sensitive skin thanks to its Oil-free, fragrance-free formula.
Clarins’ Sunscreen Multi-Protection Broad-Spectrum SPF 50, €38
If I’m in the intense sun, I always opt for Clarins’ multi protection sunscreen—with broad-spectrum SPF 50 as shields skin from harmful UV rays, pollution, and free radicals and protects skin from the appearance of dark spots fine lines. The sheer, ultra-lightweight texture forms an invisible yet powerful film with a matte finish, so this is ideal for under your makeup.