The list of things to pack before a holiday can often feel never-ending, but one item that is always a suitcase essential no matter what the destination, is sun cream. After all, we all know how important it is to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. However, with so many different sun creams on the shelf, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. Besides, what does it all mean? What’s the difference between UVA and UVB? How do you know which SPF to go for?
To help take one thing off the to-do list before your holiday, we’ve compiled a list of the top suncare products for Summer 2019, as well as answering some of those questions you’ve always had about sun protection. Read on for everything you need to know to protect your skin on your holiday.
How to choose the best sun cream for your holiday
It’s important to choose a sun cream that contains both UVA and UVB protection, so look for formulas that state this, or state that they are ‘broad spectrum’. We’d also recommend that you go for SPF 15 as an absolute minimum to give yourself the best protection, but for children and those with fair skin, an SPF of 30 and upwards is your best bet.
Otherwise, the best sun cream for you depends on a few different factors – what skin type you have, what kind of holiday you’re going on (is it seven days of high-intensity activity or will you not be moving from your deckchair?) and what consistency of sun cream you prefer – you can choose from sprays, gels, oils and, of course, the traditional sun cream. If you’re going somewhere very hot, waterproof sun cream is ideal as you can stay protected even when you’re sweating.
What’s the difference between UVA and UVB?
In a nutshell, UVA and UVB are the main causes of skin damage. The sunlight that reaches us on earth is made up of UVA and UVB rays, which are different, but both extremely powerful. UVA rays make up a huge 95% of this radiation, so they penetrate deep down into the thickest layer of the skin and cause skin damage and premature ageing, whereas UVB rays are shorter, meaning they burn only the superficial layers of your skin – leading to – you guessed it – burnt, red skin.
What factor should my sun cream be?
Again, it depends on a few different factors. The best option for the elderly, children, and anyone with very fair or freckly skin is to wear Factor 50. However, even if you don’t really burn, if you’re going to be spending a lot of time exposed to intense heat whilst on holiday, then a maximum protection sun cream is advised too.
Lower factors do still offer good protection though, as long as you follow the instructions that come with your sun cream. SPF 15 offers 93% of UVB protection, rising to 97% for SPF 30 and 98% for SPF 50, so you can still relax in the knowledge that your skin is protected. Remember, it’s still possible to tan with sun cream on – but a tan should never come at the price of damaging your skin, and whilst people with darker skin may not burn as easily, skin damage from UV rays can occur in people of every skin tone.
Should I use a different sun cream on my face?
It depends. Some people with sensitive skin find that they break out or have a bad reaction when they use sun cream on their face, thanks to some of the ingredients in traditional formulas. If that’s the case, look out for oil-free, water-based products, and avoid anything that contains irritants such as perfumes, dyes or preservatives.
Remember to still choose a sun cream with UVA and UVB protection, and if you’re going to be in the water or be very active, then a waterproof sun cream will keep you protected even when you’re sweating!
What else should I know?
In terms of how much sun cream you should apply to your body, a good rule of thumb is to apply one teaspoon per body part that will be exposed in the sun, for example, one teaspoon per leg and one teaspoon per arm.
Remember to always apply sun cream 30 minutes before you go out into the sun to give it time to work properly, and don’t forget to apply your sun cream every two hours.
Which is the best sun cream?
We’ve put together a list of our favourite sun creams to suit every kind of holiday and every skin type. Read on to discover which one you’ll be taking on your holiday this summer.
P20 Once A Day Sun Protection
Good for: high-activity holidays, family holidays
Constantly reapplying sun cream can be a hassle when you’re trying to explore a new destination or play some games on the beach with the kids. If you’re looking after children it can be difficult to keep up with who needs their sun cream reapplying, and when!
For 10 hours of sun protection from just one application, P20 Once A Day Sun Protection is the perfect companion on a family holiday. It’s water resistant too, so no need to worry about having to reapply after a swim in the pool or a dip in the sea. With a unique, alcohol-based formula, P20 absorbs quickly and is perfect for use on the face and scalp as it won’t leave you with that sticky feeling. Its lightweight, transparent formula offers UVA and UVB protection so you’re protected from both burning and the skin damage that can happen if you’re out in the sun without sun protection. P20 is also colour and paraben-free with no added fragrance or preservatives, so it’s perfect for children or those with sensitive skin. Available in Factor 15, 20, 30 and 50, it’s a great choice for the whole family.
Biotherm Lait Solaire SPF 30
Good for: sensitive skin, beauty lovers
Lots of people have had bad experiences of sticky, hard-to-blend sun creams that never seem to absorb properly.
Lait Solaire is different. Its silky, moisturising texture feels like you’re using your favourite body cream rather than a sunscreen, and it has a gorgeous citrus scent that is sure to get you in the holiday mood. It doesn’t just feel good, either - Lait Solaire is blended with Vitamin E to neutralise free radicals, and contains Life Plankton™ to soothe the skin and stimulate its natural defences. Meanwhile, a photostable broad-spectrum filter absorbs UVA and UVB. So not only does it feel great on your skin, but it also gives you the full spectrum of protection, so you can enjoy the sun without the worry.
Ultrasun Family SPF 30 Sun Cream
Good for: sensitive skin, children
With limited space in the suitcase when you’re holidaying with children, why not opt for Ultrasun Family, which is suitable for all, even those with extra-sensitive skin.
With its special formula that is oil, perfume and emulsifier-free, it’s suitable for all skin types, and is particularly good for anyone who struggles with prickly heat or heat rash whilst in the sun. If that sounds like you, rest assured this sun cream will help prevent those uncomfortable sun reactions and leave you to make the most of your holiday in the sun. With a high sun protection factor of 30, it gives full protection for all.
Lancaster Sun Beauty Velvet Milk SPF 30
Good for: those looking to tan without sacrificing sun protection
Most people like to return home from a holiday with a golden tan, but is it a contradiction to be tanned and use sun cream? Not at all - Lancaster’s Sun Beauty Velvet Milk will help you maintain a lasting tan long after you’ve returned home. The special formula contains a Tan Activator Complex that will help that radiant tan last, but it also offers optimum, ultra-broad-spectrum protection, so you can enjoy the rays on your skin without the worry.
For added protection, the sun cream also contains exclusive Full Light Technology, which targets 100% of sun rays to ensure that your skin is protected from damage, whilst the velvety lotion helps to maintain firmness and elasticity. Plus, if you want to take a dip in the sea, you can, because Sun Beauty Velvet Milk is totally water-resistant.
P20 Once A Day Sun Protection Continuous Spray SPF 30
Good for: swimmers
If you’re not a fan of the feel of a traditional sun cream, or find them frustrating to use when trying to protect those difficult-to-reach areas, then pick up a spray sunscreen like P20’s new sun protection spray. The spray contains the classic once-a-day formula that gives you 10 hours of sun protection from just one application, but in a multi-angle spray bottle which makes ensuring you’re protected from the sun a doddle.
If you enjoy swimming, then this is a great pick for you, too. P20 is water resistant even after frequent swimming, so you can enjoy being in the water all day without the worry of having to reapply your sun cream. The spray is ideal for children, those with sensitive skin, and use on the face and scalp, as it contains no colour, fragrance, parabens or other preservatives.
Lancaster Sun Sensitive Delicate Comforting Cream SPF50+
Good for: those requiring extra protection
For some people, being in the sun is more likely to bring on heat rash than a golden tan. If you’re susceptible to sun-induced skin reactions, then opt for a sun cream that gives you maximum protection whilst being specially formulated for those with very sensitive skin.
Lancaster’s Sun Sensitive Delicate Comforting Cream offers all this and more. With a high SPF of 50+, you know you’re fully protected from UVA and UVB filters, whilst full light technology also provides unique protection against Infrared and Visible Light rays, which can be responsible for sun-induced skin reactions. That’s not all – this sun cream contains a Sensiboost complex to give sun-sensitive skin even more protection, as it reinforces the skin’s natural resistance and reduces skin redness and irritation. All this means you can join your friends and family in enjoying the sunshine, with the assurance that your skin will stay looking healthy and smooth.
Did you know you can Click & Collect your sun cream and sun protection products? It couldn’t be easier. Just choose your favourite sun care products, add them to your basket and pick up before you fly. Plus, you can now beat the high street by getting 10% off your shopping when you buy direct with London Stansted Airport.