Isn’t the sun a glorious thing. Light and warmth make a big difference to our lifestyle and mood. If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know it’s both your skins best friend and worst enemy. Sun damage is the largest contributor to accelerating our skin’s ageing process. Yet, Vitamin D is an essential part of our our bodies needs. This Vitamin D vs Sun damage conundrum is no excuse for allowing your skin to suffer sunburn though. There are a wide range of protective options available so why do people still avoid wearing it? We’ve given our own personal Sunscreen Product Review to help you make safe and informed choices this summer.
So, what’s all the fuss about sunblock and sunscreen?
Here’s it’s basic history. Our ancient ancestors have been protecting their skin from the sun since early civilisations. Using plant extracts and zinc, which are still in use today. During the late 1930’s to 1950’s though, various formula’s were invented to combat sun damage. One of the first successful sunscreens was for WW11 troops. Called Red Vet Pet it was invented by pharmacist Benjamin Green in 1944. It was a red, sticky substance similar to petroleum jelly and was considered very disagreeable to wear.
Since then huge efforts have gone into creating sunscreens that are light, breathable, waterproof, non-greasy and longer-wearing. Now with the ability to use micronized zinc (made into smaller particles) we can say goodbye to the thick zinc sticks for our noses and instead wear it daily without looking white.
There are 2 ways sun protection works.
Either sun protection filters/blocks the ultraviolet (UV) radiation away from your skin (physical sunblock) or they absorb the radiation (chemical sunscreen). We have a great article explaining when you should use each type of sun protection. Both are considered effective and work as long as you follow their directions. All sun protection products are given an SPF rating. This indicates how long it will take for your skin to start to become red compared to not using anything. Please remember that these test are using a lovely thick lather of cream, not just a light sprinkle. There are also easy to miss body bits when applying sun protection, so be careful! I love this article from the Australian Academy of Science, it gives you a broad understanding of what’s going on.
If you’re worried about your past sun damage, don’t forget the importance of Vitamin C. You’ll hear more about Vitamin C over the coming weeks, because it’s so important in our Australian climate. Pigmentation issues are often exasperated by sun exposure also. So, if you’re spending effort healing your skin make sure you’re also protecting it! Please take active steps to protect children’s skin from sun damage also. With such a high incidence of melanoma’s in Australia, we need to take sun damage seriously. Consider downloading the Cancer Council’s SunSmart App to your phone, why take the risk?
Anyway, back to the real reason for this blog… what do our sun protection options feel like? Which do we prefer?
Meg’s Sunscreen Product Review
“Firstly, I have to admit that sunscreen hasn’t always been a part of my routine. You see, I love being tanned. While I know that you can still tan while wearing sunblock, the old me just didn’t believe it. But now, the new, wiser and ageing me will not leave home without it! I’m even paranoid driving in my car without sunblock. Given the fact that almost all the people I see in the clinic have more sun damage on the right side of their face than their left, I think I’m right to be paranoid.
Luckily, most skin care companies now make sunblock much nicer to wear. Long gone are the thick, greasy zincs that were available when I was growing up. SPF is now in our moisturisers and they feel luxurious on and can be worn under makeup without it slipping off half way through the morning.
So what is my favourite? Well I have tried a few, such as Osmosis Protect, Cosmedix Hydrate + and Aspects Hydra Shield. But what I am using now and really enjoying is the Aspect Sun Envirostat Face. I’m using this one at the moment because I took it away with me last week when I was in a hotter climate and was going to be spending time swimming at the beach.
Aspect Sun Envirostat Face is SPF 50, 4 hours water resistant and also a daily moisturiser.
It contains antioxidants and Vitamin E to help fight damage from UV exposure and aloe vera to deeply moisturise. It dries straight away and looks good under makeup. Actually, I think that my makeup goes on a lot better after applying this. The packaging is lovely and easy to use and it has a pleasant smell to it. Also, of course, because we are super fussy about which brands we stock, it contains no toxic chemicals or other hidden nasties. I also used it on my kids while we were away!
I think that over the warmer months I will keep using this one, and go back to using a zinc based sunblock in the cooler months.”
Julie’s Sunscreen Product Review
“I’m an absolute sunblock lover. I wish I had used it in my younger years. Although back then, we weren’t as informed of the dangers and impact the sun can have on your skin as we are today. It was in my early thirties that I began to religiously use it everyday. I was most unkind to my skin before then, but we won’t go into that. You’d be horrified.
I would have far more issues today, if I hadn’t started using a sunblock when I did.
Now, I have been using Aspect Hydra Shield, which I adore, for quite a while, so decided to try something new to review. I chose Societe Prime and Defend. It’s has a physical sunscreen using Zinc, as does Aspect Hydra Shield so I was quite certain I would like it.
It has a ‘tinted moisturiser’ colour to it, which I didn’t expect, a very silky texture and it felt really lovely applying it, but my skin felt a little dry afterwards. After a light-bulb moment later in the day, I realised, it’s classed as an antioxidant moisturiser. So it’s more for problematic, acne prone skin. It just isn’t as hydrating as Aspect Hydra Shield. I should have used a normal moisturiser beforehand. Second time using it, I did exactly the same thing. No moisturiser beforehand, everyone here knows I’m a bit slow on the uptake :). Third time, I applied my normal moisturiser beforehand and Bob’s your uncle, and he is. Hi Uncle Bob! Sooo much better. I’m sure if your skin is more on the oily side, it would be perfect used alone. It really does prime your skin for your makeup application. But if you don’t wear any foundation it wouldn’t matter, you can still take advantage of its pore minimising effect and screening from that big hot thing in the sky.
Overall I quite like Societe Prime and Defend and I have yet to find a Societe product I don’t like.“
Phillipa’s Sunscreen Product Review
“I’ve been through a lot of sunblock over the years. I have very fair and thin skin that burns very easily. Over the years I’ve tried gentle lotions, long lasting creams, spray on’s, pharmacy SPFs and Dr recommended thick zinc creams. You name it and I’ve probably tried it. All were meant to feel nice to wear and non-greasy, I wish! It’s only recently that I’ve found versions of SPF that I’m actually happy to wear every day though. I’m one of those non-fashionista’s wearing ridiculously big hats, loose long sleeved shirts and clothes that cover every inch of skin beyond looking cool. But, with skin that starts to tingle after only 5 minutes in the sun, I’ve learnt to be overly vigilant.
Before having my last child, I absolutely loved Osmosis MD Protect. My skin wasn’t overly dry or oily and this gave my skin added protection. It’s a very thick cream and you need to rub it between your fingers to warm it up so it’ll spread over your skin evenly. For all that it’s a thick cream, it actually feels light on once it’s settled. It also has a beautiful luxe bottle. Because you only need a small amount it actually lasts a long time. You can mix it into your moisturiser if you want added protection. That way you can use the same moisturiser morning and night but add extra SPF in the morning.
Do you prefer to combine your moisturiser and sun protection?
Since having my last child, I’ve been feeling more dehydrated though. Be it from breastfeeding, lack of sleep or the glorious ageing process, take your pick. I’ve started to love a bit of moisture in the morning, anyway. With this in mind I’ve been using Aspect Dr Hydra Shield. To be honest, it’s as much because the cost per quantity is pretty good and it feels great on. The Osmosis packaging is more luxe, but Hydra Shield is simply a lovely product. It’s creamy but not as thick and smells light and fresh. If I start to use too much, I exfoliate my face and go back to using just a dab.
During the height of summer I’ll normally have an Envirostat On The Go also for going to the beach with the kids. As it’s a chemical sunblock you can’t wash it off in the water. But I save this for those special water days. Because even the dry-touch feel isn’t as nice as the zinc options for everyday wear.
Don’t let makeup stand in the way…
I also carry a Sunforgettable Brush in my purse. Can you tell I’m paranoid about the sun? I love this because it’s so easy to apply on-the-go and over makeup (which also contains SPF, of course). I just swish it in circular motions over my face, decolletage and arms. It’s not really meant as your only source of SPF but rather as a top-up. As such it’s simply brilliant! Plus, if you really, really, really don’t like creams on your skin then guess what – it’s just powder. As such it’s light and dry. PS – I reviewed the Aspect Sun CC Cream not too long ago – so check it out if you’re curious for another Sunscreen Product Review.”
We hope you have appreciated hearing our “real life” feedback on these products. If there is a product you have enjoyed, please leave your feedback. Your favourite cleanser, serum or moisturiser? Write a review on the website and you’ll even receive an extra 300 points. Simply locate the product (in this case the sun protection we’ve just reviewed), click the Reviews tab and leave your rating and review. We believe in finding products that are scientifically proven to improve your skin’s health without using nasty ingredients that we are better off avoiding.
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