I like to think of SPFs as a condom for the skin – protection from what you don’t want to happen. In this case, skin damage and potential melanoma. “About 90% of ageing comes from UVA – or ultra violet light – and it’s everywhere, even penetrating glass,” says the legendary London aesthetician Pamela Marshall, co-founder of Mortar and Milk. “When the rays get into your dermal layers, this causes inflammation to the cells and the damage comes out visibly on the skin in later life.” The list includes hyperpigmentation, age spots, liver spots, freckles, loss of skin tone rough, uneven skin texture, broken capillaries and more. “I equate it to crumbling like a cookie.”
An American-born Queenager, Pamela grew up in California and started wearing SPF when she was 17. “My mother died when I was 8 and I remember reading an article in Vogue about it and thought ‘this is something my mom would have told me to do’. I’m ageing, there’s no doubt about it, but my skin is ageing really, really well and the main reason is that I’ve protected it to the hilt.” And if you, my fellow Queenagers, want a tan, I will do self-tan in the upcoming weeks… But only if you promise me you will wear SPF Every. Single. Day.
Here are five of my favourite SPFs
1. The best for a panacea of skin-types
Avene is one of my favourite brands. Not just because the French spa was my first press trip twenty years ago and we got really drunk (to this day we giggle about thumping the table passionately talking about the death of Princess Diana). But more because the products helped soothe my father’s psoriasis and the waters of Avene are so effective that the French healthcare system prescribes trips there to cure skin disorders. And I am genuinely excited about the new Avene Very High Protection Cleanance SPF50+ Sun Cream collection which focuses on preventing blue light damages that can penetrate the skin deeper than UVA.
Their clinical study found a 95% reduction and 72% reduction in hyperpigmentation caused by blue bight damage with this range and they are made for a variety of needs – from dry and dehydrated skin to oily and acne-prone. The ones that stand out for me are the duo of Ultra Broad Spectrum Facial Suncare SPF50+ Collection Tinted Creams (one for dry, sensitive skin with eight-hour hydration and another tinted cream for oily blemish-prone skin). Perfect for the beach in er, Golders Green.
Avene Very High Protection Cleanance SPF50+ Sun Cream £17.50, boots.com
2. The best from a leading London aesthetician
Mortar and Milk co-founder Pamela Marshall says, “Exuviance Sheer Refining Fluid is what I wear every single day because it has the fantastic protection of SPF 40 but also gives my skin a wonderful glow – I recommended it to all my clients. It’s also a brand that can be used by women of colour whereas some SPFs can leave a chalky residue. Also, it was made specifically for acne-prone skin, which means that I can give it to anyone and not worry about them breaking out. I bloody love it.”
Exuviance Sheer Refining Fluid £46, mortarandmilk.com
3. The best for on the go
Australians know a thing or two about the damage the sun can cause and has the strictest regulatory standards in the world. But Australian television reporter Samantha Brett found that hanging around outside to do live interviews was damaging her skin because she couldn’t reapply her sun protection without taking her makeup off. So, she came up with Naked Sundays SPF 50 + Hydrating Glow Mist which launched here in May and can be spritzed on during the day. It seems so obvious, but then so do the best ideas (although my Big Toe Delight Cream TM never took off, soz investors). My fellow beauty person Lucia Ferrari (@luciaferraribeauty) raved about it to me, telling me Naked Sundays’ spray refreshes her face and also acts as a setting spray for make-up so SPF felt less like a chore and more a pleasure. Also, one that blokes might use more often because it’s easy to apply.
Naked Sundays SPF 50+ Hydrating Glow Mist £34, beautybay.com
4. The best for sensitive skin
I do love Dr Hauschka’s products, and the Tinted Face SPF Sun Cream SPF 30 is fantastic as it uses minerals as sun protection, bouncing back the sun’s rays – sort of like Wonder Woman and her bracelets of submission. The range is made on biodynamic principles that are so holier than thou they make organic farming look as pure as Pizza Hut. The products work so gently, are so effective, and smell divine – I actually use this quite often in lieu of foundation.
Dr Hauschka Tinted Face SPF Sun Cream SPF 30 £34, drhauschka.co.uk
5. The best for preventing dark-spots
Garnier Ambre Solaire is my go-to grab at Gatwick – or was until the horrors mean I won’t be going further than Golder’s Green this summer. But whether you are in Godalming or Grenada, take a look at the Garnier Super UV SPF range – you need SPF daily, remember. I’m keen on the Garnier Ambre Solaire Anti-Dark Spots & Anti-Pollution Super UV SPF 50+ which is a lightweight liquid made with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E which, so it not only adds moisture to the skin, it helps to prevent dark spots and pollution damage. Nine out of ten people who tested it said it was easy to add into their daily routine so now you have no excuse. And to add, our wonderful Circe who does a raft of things at Noon is a big fan of the bestselling Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Hydrating Face Sun Cream Mist SPF 50. Handbag sized too making it easy to reapply several times a day, plus both products are very affordable and effective. I’m saving your skin, folks, saving your skin…
Garnier Ambre Solaire Anti-Dark Spots & Anti-Pollution Super UV SPF 50+ £8, boots.com
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