If you observe the skin of children, you hardly see any pigmentation or freckles - they can be out in the sun for hours on and even without much sun protection, they can just appear "flushed" but hardly develop any spots or freckles. Contrast this with an adult's skin under the same conditions and more likely than not, they will almost definitely develop pigmentation and sun spots. Good sun protection discipline should always start early - from the time an infant is 6 months old. The absence of spots on a 15 year old's face without adequate protection does not preclude her from the ravages of sun damage 20 years on. The truth is, sun damage is an insidious process when we are young but can creep up quickly as we age. It is also highly preventable so starting young and being disciplined in sun protection will have you thanking yourself when you are 50.
The cardinal rule in sun protection is efficacy and adequacy. Ask anyone in today's day and age and almost everyone will say they apply a sunscreen - which begs the burning question: why are we not spared of pigmentation problems? It is down to either the sunscreen's efficacy in formulation OR more likely than not, the insufficient amount used. A drop of sunscreen for the entire face will provide some protection (and is probably better than nothing at all) but is definitely insufficient. If you feel your skin cannot take the recommended amount, use a smaller portion but use an oral sunscreen supplement like Heliocare Ultra to increase protection. To enjoy the benefit of the stated protection on the sunscreen, you need to apply generously, to the tune of ideally a 50 cent coin or at least 1/2 teaspoon for the whole face. If one is exposed for extended periods under the sun, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours to ensure protection is preserved.
Physical / Mineral sunscreen or Chemical?
Chemical sunscreens contain chemical compounds that absorb UV rays. These chemical compounds include oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. These chemicals change UV rays into heat, which is released from the skin and scattered.
The trend and preference nowadays is Physical sunscreens as they do not penetrate into skin and cause irritation. Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They sit on top of skin to deflext and scatter damaging UV rays from skin. For this reason of non-penetration, they are better for sensitive skins.
To adhere to this standard, the choice of sunscreen is equally important. We shortlist 4 of our favorite Physical sunscreens which will have you covered for any climate:
Skinceuticals' Physical Fusion Defence UV - SPF50
Highly wearable, ultra sheer with no chemical filters. Boosts protection with a silky smooth slightly tinted texture that glides onto skin and blends into any skin colour. Perfect for daily use and suitable for hot, humid climates especially. Makes using a 50 cent coin size definitely possible.
Crystal Tomato's Beyond Sun Protection
Great all-round protection, backed by 5 years of research and over 30 product iterations. Dry-touch; thicker consistency than Fusion. Excellent for extended sun exposure (swimming, sports etc) or that beach tropical holiday.
Biologique Recherche's Protection U.V
The uniqueness of BR's sunscreen is a synergy of 100% natural non-nanoparticulate mineral filers and plant-based active ingredients, making it effective yet gentle for sensitive skins. Boosting a rich, nourishing and highly moisturising feel, this is an excellent choice for dry and colder climates or menopausal women who experience more pronounced dehydration of skin (will not give that "cakey" finish if skin is dry). Definitely one to bring along for that skiing or wintry holiday.
SunBetter SPF68 Compact Sunscreen
This 100% mineral-active sun protection has a "smart-tone" technology which allows it to blend and adapt into almost any skin tone, based on Fitzpatrick skin type 1-4. With a SPF of 68, it ensures strong protection against UVA, UVB, Infra-red rays and is 80 minutes water resistant. Excellent for re-application of sunscreen throughout the day with the easy compact casing. Gives a light coverage making it a great choice post aesthetic procedures which exhibits some downtime. Light-weight and gives skin a silky finish.