As a youngster I religiously watched E! and I can recall one fresh, faced but in her 40's red headed actress/singer, telling Joan Rivers that her skin care secret was daily SPF. Now the name or occupation of such lady now escapes me nor is it all the important but rather the life lesson I took away is. I can not recall a day in which I haven't applied SPF before make-up application to ensure I don't prematurely age and to prevent skin cancer. If you think I am coming across as a little preachy or holier than thou; keep in mind as a young teen I abused both sun oil and the tanning beds, there is not an ounce of judgement in my body in regards to the sun care.
When you think about it the two areas that are exposed to the elements about 365 days a year are the hands and face, hence why they are the quickest to show signs of ageing and general sun damage. Annoyingly I do find tracking down a good SPF for the face easier said than done. You want a light formulation that is: non-greasy, won't clog the pores, won't irritate sensitised or acne prone skin, doesn't leave you shiny, won't alter any make-up applied on top and offers both UVA and UVB protection. Luckily I have been on the case for over two years and have narrowed down my top 5 choices...
Estee Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant & UV Defense SPF 50 (£30.60) - For the last year or so Estee Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant & UV Defense SPF 50 has been my go to product, I rather like that it is a light, easy to apply lotion that quickly sinks into my skin doesn't alter any make-up applied on top nor is it greasy. A generally worry for most is that daily SPF can lead to blocked pores, blackheads and blemishes - I can safely say that I have been using this for over a year, daily and it has not encouraged my skin to behave any differently. A word of warning - you do have to allow this to fully absorb (a good 10 mins or so) before applying make-up, so this may not be ideal for those in a rush. Another heads up would be to warn you that this is fragranced so if you have extra sensitive skin you may want to avoid. Estee Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant & UV Defense SPF 50has a creamy texture that seems to suit normal to dry skin best but like I have said I use this all the time even when my skin is at it's oiliest and have had no problems. As this is a SPF 50 I even pack this when I am in warmer/sunnier climates than merry ol' Glasgow.
Asda's Anti-Age Facial Sun Crème (£4) - Annoyingly this choice tends to be seasonal i.e my local store only stocks this from around May to late August so I do tend to stock up when I notice it on the shelf Asda's Anti-Age Facial Sun Creme is dermalogically tested but does have a slight scent, it reminds me a little of Sudocreme but not quite as strong. It helps to prevent the appearance of sun induced brown spots, wrinkles and due to the vitamin E and green tea elements you also have extra protection from free radicals. Asda's Anti-Age Facial Sun Crème is moisturising without being overly thick nor is it sticky, I apply it first thing in the morning after my usual moisturiser and allow it to soak in - this takes less than a minute and then I apply my primer/foundation on top. Of course all primers and foundations are different but I don't find my foundation etc to slip or slide on top of this, in-fact I don't find it to affect my foundation one way or the other. If you find yourself burning throughout the day you can also apply this on top of your make-up, it may remove some powder based products but does not leave the skin shiny or greasy. Oh and I should mention it only costs £4 a tube.
Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Defense SPF 45 (£23.40) - If you don't wear make-up frequently and/or are looking to brighten as well as protect the skin you could do a lot worse than Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Defense SPF 45. Now is different and I mean it. It is so light that once applied to the skin you can not see it or feel it. Yes Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Defense SPF 45 does have a slight tint but once on the skin it disappears in colour but helps to brighten the skin. In the past I have experienced break outs which I accredit to SPF usage, large almost cystic under the skin spots which took forever and a day to heal so it is with caution that I approach any new facial product. As this is by Clinique who are renowned for their testing standards and lack of perfume I knew I would be good in hands. Two weeks of continuous use and guess what not a break out in sight! Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Defense SPF 45 is super gentle, quickly absorbed into the skin, is in no way heavy or greasy and best of all it doesn't interfere with the wear of make-up. Regular use can also help fade and prevent future age spots. In a word? Wonderful!
SkinCeuticals Brightening UV Defence (£27) - This is a light cream based product that not only offers protection against UV (UVA/UVB) rays but also a high SPF factor of 30; it lightly moisturises but not so much that those like myself with oily skin need to worry. Over time this helps to even out the skin tone while adding a slight brightening effect with each application. It sinks instantly into the skin and settles to a matte finish which makes it a great starting point in any facial routine including us that wear foundation - oddly I find it helps to prolong any make-up applied on top which was quite the surprise. Out of all the SPF options I have listed today I would deem this to be the heaviest on the skin and the one I tend to use in the Winter months as I find my skin appreciates the texture more. If you have dry skin I would say this is one you would more than appreciate. A little goes a long way and as it has an SPF30 it is also suitable for those sunny days meaning one bottle will suit all weather which is not only a time saver but in the long run money saved too! I know this isn't exactly economically sound of me but I swear by this as a hand cream.
Clarins UV Plus Day Screen Multi-Protection SPF50 (launches on the 8th of March) - I've saved this until last as it has yet to launch but trust me it is worth the wait! This is a light, non-tinted liquid lotion - that is a breeze to apply, quickly absorbed, not at all greasy nor tacky in texture and won't clog the pores. Not to mention it is oil free and will protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays as well as general environmental damage such as pollution and city living. Make-up glides on top of it and does not change in texture or tone should that be a worry. It is also kind to sensitised and blemished complexions - it is neither hydrating nor drying making it suitable for all. As sunscreen does have a tendency to leave us all a little greasy shall we say, this contains anti-shine technology which helps to reduce shine throughout the day and is compatible with all day creams. I like that the packaging is almost basic meaning men will be less than self concious purchasing/using this product. You really can't ask for more. Yes it is pricey but the little 30ml tube will last you a good few months and is worth every penny.
Annoyingly it does seem that most facial SPF options come with a £20+ price tag if you have any other recommendations please do share as this has become a pricey staple product. One that I did not get on with at all is Soap and Glory Sunshield - initially it was great but eventually it became to heavy/oily for my complexion. Such a shame as it is so affordable and accessible too!