Dewy, dry, oily, combination, acne prone, sensitive…there’s a whole spectrum of skin-types out there. Some of us are pretty clueless about our type, while others are well aware. But when it comes to wearing sunscreen, knowing your skin-type is essential. You don’t want to end up drying your skin out, aggravating your acne, or, even worse – giving yourself a rash.
So, even if you think you have normal skin, pause before you pull a bottle off the shelf. Consider our sunscreen guide and have a think about the best type of sunscreen for you.
Is your skin prone to breakouts or rashes? Flake or dry out easily? Does it go red at the slightest irritation? If that’s you, you probably have sensitive skin. So taking sunscreen advice is a must.
Keep your eyes peeled for hypoallergenic, low irritant sunscreens. Ideally, you’d choose a high-SPF (sun protection factor) broad-spectrum sunscreen labelled SPF30 or higher. But you may need to sample a variety before you land on one, or even try an allergy patch test to determine what you need.
If you have dry skin (think constant flakes and peeling), it’s best to go for a hydrating sunscreen. Just look for the sunscreens with moisturising components. Because using this as your daily sunscreen won’t just protect your skin, it’ll replenish it. Is a moisturising sunscreen not enough? You can always use an additional moisturiser underneath your sunscreen. Apply your moisturiser first and wait until it has been absorbed completely (5-10 minutes), this will avoid possible pilling of the sunscreen.
Oily skin is a blessing and a curse. It preserves the skin and leads to less wrinkles, but it can clog the pores and cause acne. The key is to try to balance the amount of oil with your natural moisture. Wearing sunscreen can play a part in this.
If you have oily skin, the last thing you want to do is add more oil. But, infuriatingly, lots of daily sunscreens can be very oily – it’s what gives people that classic sunscreen-shine. So make sure to choose a “non-comedogenic” sunscreen with a lighter base.
The safest type of sunscreen
But whatever sunscreen for everyday use you end up selecting, it’s important that it’s safe. The BAD (British Association of Dermatologists) recommends using a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB. That means using sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or above to protect against UVB, and a sunscreen with four or five Boots stars or an EU standard mark to protect against UVA. And if you’re a swimmer, then it’s probably wise to grab a water-resistant sunscreen (just reapply after you’ve towelled down).
How else can I protect myself?
Wearing sunscreen isn’t the only way to be smart about sun protection. Avoid being outside between 11am and 3pm when the sun’s at its strongest. But if you have to, wear clothes, a broad-rimmed hat and sunglasses and seek shade. Keep that skin out of the suns full gaze. And most importantly, never use sun beds. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has classified them as carcinogenic.