The latest stories, straight to your inbox

The latest stories, straight to your inbox

Be inspired every day with Living North

Subscribe today and get every issue delivered direct to your door
Subscribe Now
Be inspired every day with Living North
Model with cream on cheekbone Dreamstime
Health and beauty
March 2024
Reading time 4 Minutes

It's the most essential must-do part of your beauty routine every day of the year

Using an SPF on your face can help prevent ageing, pigmentation and UV sun damage which can occur even when it's cloudy. And there are now good SPFs formulated for everything from super dry and sensitive skin to skin prone to oily breakouts, and we've found the best ones to get you started.

SPFs range from 15 to 50, so what should you choose? To some degree it may depend on your skin type, but as a general rule experts suggest those that stay mainly indoors with minimal exposure can use an SPF15 (although be aware UVA rays can pass through glass). Regular daily use of SPF 30 is fine, but for anyone who is outside for more than an hour it is preferable to go for SPF 50. And don’t think once the sun has started to drop you don’t need a sunscreen. If the sun is still shining, you still need protection.

And remember, sunscreen still won’t prevent you from tanning as it can’t protect your skin from 100 percent of UVA radiation. Applying SPF 30+ protects you from 97 percent of UV rays, and SPF 50+ from 98 percent. Yes, there really is only a one percent difference! This means that some rays will still reach your skin so it will not prevent tanning completely.

model rubbing cream on to cheekbone

Using an SPF on your face can help prevent ageing, pigmentation and UV sun damage which can occur even when it’s cloudy. And don’t be put off by your skin type as there are now good SPFs formulated for everything from super dry and sensitive skin to skin prone to oily breakouts. You just need to know where to look.

Sunscreen was first produced in the 1930s, but we’ve come a long way since then, and so has our understanding of the damage that the sun can cause to our skin. UV light is now known to cause both ageing and cancer, but both are preventable as studies show that regular daily use of SPF can reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by up to 40 percent, and will lower your risk of melanoma by 50 percent. Look for a broad spectrum SPF which will protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

The face has the thinnest skin and is also the part of your body that is most often exposed to the sun, which is why it’s so important to use a broad spectrum sunscreen formulated specifically for that area.

The damage to our skin is caused by the radiation hitting our cells and causing mutations in their makeup, or DNA. UVB causes sunburn and skin cancer whilst UVA penetrates deeper into the skin and causes photoaging: wrinkles, pigmentation, fine lines and a faster breakdown of collagen, so it’s really important to protect against both.
‘The risk of skin damage is a year-round concern,’ says Consultant Dermatologist Dr Hiva Fassihi. ‘It’s really important to use a sunscreen every day, even in winter, because ultraviolet, which is an invisible radiation, is present all year round. Because we know ultraviolet can cause problems with skin cancer and skin ageing, it’s really important to incorporate sunscreen use into your daily regime so it becomes routine.’

The Best Ones to Get You Started

The Best All Rounder
If you want to take the lazy gal’s approach to SPF, Supreme is your MVP: Moisturiser, Very-Good-Sun-Protection and Primer. A hydrating, high SPF formula with a clean scent, Supreme is perfect for normal to dry skin, or anyone who doesn’t know which SPF is right for them. Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF 50, £34 Ultraviolette

The Best Beauty SPF
With advanced Full Light Technology that targets 100 percent of the sun spectrum alongside anti-ageing technology, natural-origin sun repair system and glow booster complex this non-sticky and non-greasy formula also prevents and helps to correct wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots. Sun Perfecting Illuminating Cream, £29 Lancaster

Best Over Makeup
Great for on the go, spritz this organic mist over your face for broad spectrum protection without greasiness. Classic Face Mist SPF 50, £32 Coola

Best for Skin Repair
With light-activated DNA repair enzymes, this day cream helps to limit the damage caused by external factors, resulting in healthier-looking, more resilient skin. With an advanced blue light shield, pollution defence, anti-infrared technology and glycation prevention, this formula results in a visibly brighter, youthful-looking complexion. Advanced Day Ultimate Protect SPF 50+, £59 Medik8

Good for Sensitive Skin
This ultra-resistant formula is specifically developed for sensitive skin. High protection and broad spectrum, the fluid formula is water, sweat and sand resistant. Anthelios UV Mune Invisible Fluid SPF 50, £19.90 La Roche-Posay

Best for Blemish-Prone Skin
Non-comedogenic and fragrance free, this sunscreen calms and coddles blemish-prone skin, and with a soft focus, primer-like finish it makes your morning routine an easy one. Flawless Daily Sunscreen SPF 50, £31 Dr Sam’s

Best for City Life
UV light isn’t the only light that causes skin damage and visible signs of ageing. Blue light from excessive screen time can also take its toll but this ultra-light, 100% mineral sunscreen will shield your skin against multiple types of light damage including indoor blue light from screens and outdoor UVA and UVB. City Skin Age Defence SPF 50, £69 Murad

The Best Lightweight SPF
This non-comedogenic SPF should not clog pores (which can be one of the main causes of spots and blemishes). An advanced active tomato stem cell extract and a natural blend of peptides and new generation technology absorb harmful UV waves, fight sunlight-induced inflammation and reduce the skin-ageing effects of UV radiation. Super Healthy Skin Featherlight SPF 50 Sunscreen + Primer, £15 (member’s price) Beauty Pie

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Please read our Cookie policy.