Is it important to use an SPF every day or are we all fooled to belief it is important? Read more to find out what SPF actually means. I also review 2 sunscreens: the Ultra Light Daily UV defense SPF 50 by Kiehl's and the Sun Protection Face Cream SPF 50 by Rituals.
I'm sorry to let you down, but it IS very important to use products with an SPF (sun protection factor) every single day. It prevents you from getting burned, ageing more rapidly and as we all know, UV plays a huge role in skin cancer.
The sun's radiation contains UVB and UVA. The first one causes our skin to burn and the last one causes our skin to age. We get pigmentation spots, wrinkles etc... more than we should because we can eliminate a great deal of this by applying sunscreen.
I can already hear you say: "What? It is winter, applying SPF isn't necassary now." Well, sorry to disappoint you again, but once you step out your door, you are affected by UV radiation and you should try to protect yourself from it. Here in Belgium, the sun is actually closer in winter than in the summer, unfortunately it doesn't come to say 'hello' very often during these winter months.
I must admit, applying sunscreen isn't something I have been doing for a long time - so sorry skin - but I'm sure it will make a difference in 20 years, and it is never too late to start protecting your biggest organ!
You hear a lot of people talking about chemical and physical SPF. I wondered what was the difference so I looked it up for you guys ;).
These are ingredients that absorb radiation. It needs to sink in before it works. These kinds of ingredients can cause irritation more quickly than a physical sunscreen would do. Otocrylene, methoxydibenzoyelmethane, Bis-ethyl-hexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine etc,... are chemical sunscreen ingredients. Here is a site with all of the ingredients that you can find in sunscreen.
Physical sunscreen (also called sunblock)
These are ingredients that reflect radiation. The most commonly known are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These tend to leave a white tint on your skin, so this will cause more flashback in photography. From the moment you put this on your skin, this will work immediately. Both the sunscreen from Kiehl's and from Rituals contains titanium dioxide (most sunscreens do).
What about the rating of SPF, what does this actually mean?
This is actually a ratio between getting burned when being protected and getting burnt not being protected. So theoretically it means that if you get burnt after 10 minutes without a sunscreen, an SPF of 15 would elongate that process by 15x10 (so 150 minutes). However, people's skins differ in such a great way that this can only be used as a reference. UV radiation also differs from day to day so dermatologists advise to apply sunscreen at least every hour or every two hours. Not that handy if you have make up all over your SPF ;). The application also has a lot to do with the amount of protection. You don't need to slather the sunscreen over your face, but an even application with enough product is key. So do we need the highest SPF we can find? Well, it depends on your skin (if you get burnt more rapidly, a higher SPF is right for you). It is not because you apply a SPF of 50 that you will be safe all day, this is not the case. Some people only need an SPF of 30 to be protected, but reapplying is still very important.
FYI: SPF of 15 means that 1/15 of the UVB rays get through to your skin (93 procent gets blocked). SPF of 30 blocks about 97 procent and SPF 50 blocks 98 procent.
Keep in mind that the SPF factor is only calculated by the amount of UVB it absorbs/reflects. It also absorbs/reflects UVA (the nasty anti ageaing radiation), but this is not calculated as such.
Review time! I bought two sun protecting creams, one from Kiehl's, the other one from Rituals.
Both of them also have tocopherol in it which is vitamin E. It has been proven that adding this actually makes the sunscreen 'work' even better than with the sunscreen ingredients alone. I wrote a whole blogpost on vitamin E and its benefits, read it here.
Lets talk about the Kiehl's one first. I absolutely frickin' adore this one. It is light weight on the skin and it is oil free (haleluja) so it dries down quite matte. It does not have a strong scent since it is fragrance free. The only thing that really hurts me is the pricetag: €43. Sometimes there's a sale at bijenkorf.nl for those of you who are from the Netherlands or from Belgium, they give a 20 procent off of almost the whole site (so maybe then it's OK to splurge on this one :p).
Make up applies beautifully on top of it, but remember, don't wear this when you're running the red carpet (because of the flash back).
The Rituals one is also very good but it is more oily than the Kiehl's one. I think I will use this more in the summer when I have nothing else on my face. This sunscreen will set you back €16 (which is almost 3 times cheaper than the Kiehl's one). It does have a heavy fragrance so this is the reason why I'm not as big of a fan of it.
Little tip I got from the Kiehl's lady: apply sunscreen at the back of your hands. Your face and your hands are the two thing the most exposed to the sun, so they will get more pigmentation spots later in your life. Just a little tip to avoid this from happening ;).
Hope you found this post helpful,
Lots of love