From dry to oily, to anti-ageing and acne sufferers, we've found the perfect sunscreens to slather on your face whatever your skin type...
We all know our skincare maths by now. Sun + sunscreen = healthy, juicy skin sans damage. Sun - sunscreen = big, fat burn and, later on in life, pigmentation and a smattering of extra wrinkles.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have learned your lesson the hard way through painful burns and long-lasting marks on areas that were skipped by accident - in my case, a band across my nose that now becomes a blob of brown if I try to catch a tan, and a once particularly pink bum cheek that still carries extra freckles as a result.
Yet despite knowing the dangers of the sun - and that it’s a leading cause of premature ageing and of skin cancer, lots of us still neglect to apply it daily, even when the sun is out and the risk of burning is at an all-time high.
In part, I suspect this is in no small part because until recent years, suncreams were sticky, gloopy, occlusive affairs that left skin looking pale and greasy. They came in big, white bottles that mum used to whip out after a swim and that meant feeling uncomfortable for a good hour.
No more: now, suncreams come in a huge variety of formulas that double up as moisturising SPFs for those with dry skin, or act as primers if you need a foundation fix on top. Hell, there are ever transparent, blur-effect sunscreens now that’ll make wrinkles look less visible while also protecting your skin. Need a moisturiser with an SPF? This quiz has your sorted.
The key thing to look for when finding a sunscreen? That it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. As dermatologist Rebecca Bennett at Johnson & Johnson explains, 'UVB rays are 'burning' rays, the ones which will quickly make your skin red and sore if you are not protected, but you should also be aware of UVA rays - 'ageing' rays which penetrate deeper into the skin and are the ones most responsible for wrinkling and ageing.
In terms of which factor you should opt for, take guidance from Dr Rabia Malik, who advises: 'SPF 50 on beach holidays, and a minimum of SPF 30 daily in the city. I usually recommend a mineral-based one.' She adds two cautions: 'do remember that above SPF 30, the benefit is incrementally very small, so make sure you buy an SPF that covers off UVA and UVB damage, and reapply at intervals of approximately every two hours to maintain optimum protection.'
Leading skincare expert and Harley Street Derma-Surgeon Dr Luca Russo concurs, adding that 'you must make sure you apply enough sunscreen - you need around 2mg per each square centimetre of skin, and you must reapply. At the beach, remember that there is a double reflection off the water, increasing the chances of skin damage, so take extra precautions.'
We’ve rounded up all the best here for you. And remember: apply every morning to cleansed skin, ideally on top of a serum. You may just become so keen on one that you may be inclined to keep using it throughout the winter. Don’t resist: your skin will thank you for it.
1. Cover FX Clear Cover Invisible Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, £36
2. Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield, £56
3. Estee Lauder Clear Difference BB Crème Spf 35, £31.15
Best for: acne-sufferers
If you suffer from acne, SPF can be a nightmare: applying layer upon layer of skincare can exacerbate acne and if your skin is oily, suncream plus foundation can be overwhelming. Step in this BB creme, which protects, provides coverage, and helps to reduce oiliness.
Available at Amazon | £31.15
4. Sisley Facial Sun Care Youth Protector SPF50, £89.50
Best For: ageing concerns
Alongside UVA and UVB filters, this also contains Vitamin E Acetate and Edelweiss extract to help protect from environmental stress and to fortify cells. Think of it as a skin warrior in a bottle, protecting and strengthening as you wear.
Available at allbeauty | £89.50
7. Ultrasun Face Very High Spf 50 Anti Ageing Formula, £24
8. The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sun Cream, £38.95
9. Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection SPF50 Primer, £74.50
10. Lancer Skincare Sheer Fluid Sun Shield SPF 30, £45.00
Best For: A-list glow
This is the one that Victoria Beckham swears by. So much so that she even previously tweeted: "Don't forget your sun screen London, it's HOT today! X vb", attaching a photo of the product. No wonder she's a fan: it's lightweight, though moisturises well and leaves skin dewy.
Available at Space NK | £45.00
11. Perricone MD Photo Plasma SPF 30 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser, £53.10
Best for: everyone
Perricone MD Photo Plasma SPF 30 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser, £59 from John Lewis
This mineral sunscreen contains powerful antioxidants and brightening ingredients to protect and smooth skin during wear. Best of all? The texture: think whipped cream that melts onto the skin.
Available at allbeauty | £53.10
12. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Invisible Fresh Mist SPF 50, £10.50
Best for: topping up
The most annoying thing about suncream? It needs topping up. This is especially irritating if you wear foundation. The answer? A spray-on mist that tops up protection but won’t move your make-up or cover you in a white film. This one does the job.
Available at lookfantastic | £10.50
13. Bobbi Brown SPF 50 Protective Face Base, £33