Those three-letters SPF
This is an indication of how long one can stay in the sun without burning, compared with the time it takes skin to burn with no protection whatsoever. SPF 15 means you can stay outside in the sun 15 times longer. So obviously the higher the SPF, the better. Speak to any skin specialist and SPF 15 is not enough to shield you from UVA rays so layer up your suncare over your skincare with added benefits.
How much is enough?
I often get asked how much suncare you should use on yourself and your children. I'm the queen of suncare; I'll wear it come rain or shine wherever I may be. Most people, however, are a little stingy with their application because they have this warped idea that suncare doesn't just protect skin but stops you getting a tan altogether. This isn't correct: you can still tan while earing a high factor sunblock. As a guideline, use one teaspoon each for the neck, face, hands and feet, two tablespoons for your upper body (both sides) at least a tablespoon for your legs and the same for your arms too.
The power punch
Suncare with added extras such as vitamins, green tea, grape seed extract or lycopene from tomatoes, claims to limit sun damage, particularly on the face. Although these may be a little more on the pricey side, anyone over the age of 30 should track them down to keep sunspots and melanin from forming on the skin.
Sprays vs creams vs oils
Suncare has increasingly developed over the past five to 10 years with different formulations being readily available as either sprays, creams or oils. Choosing the right type of skincare comes down to personal preference and is dictated very much by your holiday destination and your lifestyle. Sporty types should opt for waterproof formulas that protect from both UVA and UVB. And re-applying is a must.
The price tag
It is often the case that suncare, being an expensive essential for everyone, is offered on discounted on the high street. Although it is tempting not to have to shlep your suncare in your suitcase and buy the other side, it's often safer to buy products in the UK as they are highly regulated.
Sun cream that lingers in the heat, half-used and needing a good shake to come out of the bottle, needs to be ditched. On the back of products is the icon of a jar, upon which will be a number, generally three, six or 12, with an "M" next to it. That indicates how many months after opening you should bin your product.
Written in the stars
Star ratings indicate how well a suncream protects us against UVA and UVB rays. The simplest way to understand this is UVA ages while UVB burns. UVA rays are not picked up on and measured with SPF. The total number of stars is five, while the minimum of four is the ideal choice.