Saturday, 4 June 2011

Cosmetics Contemplations: shielding the sun

Although it doesn't always seem like it, with the weather being up and down like a yoyo, it is indeed now June. And with June comes the knowledge that the end of work (and thus the beginning of summer holidays) is in sight. Whether you are planning on staying in the UK for July and August, or jetting off to warmer climes, it's important to protect your skin. Most people already know this - so the question, perhaps, is how?

There is the hermit option of covering your head with a hat and your shoulders with a loose shirt. And carrying an umbrella. While wearing Factor 50. And only venturing outside at dusk. However, most people are not going to do this - so realistically you have two choices. The first is a suncream or a sunscreening gel. While creams are less oily these days, and thereby less tiresome to put on and wear on the skin, they are probably suited to those of you with drier skin. Gels could be more tolerable if you have oily skin - or, if you plan to work or play in dusty or sandy conditions while the sun is out, they also have the advantage of drying on the skin without leaving a film. You can also go for a spray (but these, I find, while being fun to use, can be as time-consuming as a cream to apply, if not more so) or a stick (for the face or lips).
The second option involves eschewing manmade sunscreens altogether and opting for natural sunscreens which contain minerals such as zinc or titanium. These can come in the form of lotions and potions - a form with which we are all familiar - or powder, which is a nice idea but potentially on the timeconsuming and inconvenient side when it comes to applying it, although they usually come with a built-in brush, puff, or rollerball.

If none of this appeals, there is always a third way: that of making your suncream yourself at home. That way, you know exactly what's gone into it, and could be a prudent choice for those with certain allergies or simply those trying to budget. You'll need to buy some ingredients online, but the satisfaction of making something for yourself, in bulk, and knowing that it's made just for you, could make the whole thing worth it. The required ingredients seem to be a carrier oil (basically any oil from your kitchen cupboard such as olive or sunflower), emulsifying wax, sunblocking agent such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (all available online), and a few drops of essential oils (your choice; usually available from the local hippy shop down the road). There are plenty of recipes available online to help you do this (such as this one).

So with all of the above at your disposal, there's no reason to not protect yourself from the sun. And, more importantly, you should be protecting your skin all year round - the sun can cause your skin to look more aged, cause changes in pigmentation and in blood vessels, and even cause skin cancer, and the UVA and UVB rays that cause these beat down on your skin all year round, not just when you feel it's time to sunbathe.

Two Great Mineral Powder Sunscreens
BareMinerals SPF30 Natural Sunscreen, £21
Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Powder SPF45, £24

Five Great Mineral Sunscreen Lotions
Alba Botanical All Natural Sunscreen SPF18, £5
Loving Naturals Sunscreen Stick SPF30, £6.49
Lavera Baby & Child Suncream SPF20, £10
Green People No Scent Sun Lotion, £16.20
Liz Earle Mineral Sun Cream SPF20, £18.90

Five Great Gel Sunscreens
Dermatone Endurance Dry Gel SPF45, £6
Bullfrog SPF36 Surfer Formula Gel Sunblock, £6
Aloe Gator SPF40 Gel, £7
Aroma Magic Aloe Vera Sunscreen Gel SPF20, £9
Australian Gold SPF30 Plus Spray Gel, £13

Five Great Traditional Suncreams
Boots Essentials Sun Protection Lotion SPF15, £5.10
Nivea Sun Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF6, £10.71
Hawaiian Tropic Sensitive Face Sun Lotion SPF30, £12.25
Piz Buin Allergy Lotion SPF15, £15.31
Biotherm Sun Milk Face SPF50+, £21.75


Serafina said...

Thank you very much for this post, I found it very useful and well written! I'm definitely following your blog now! :)

BiancaP said...

Hi Serafina

Thanks for stopping by! If you click on the 'cosmetics contemplations' tab at the bottom of this article, you may find others that interest you :)