Yes you do need to wear sunscreen in winter or on a cloudy day
Most of my clients take absolutely no notice when I tell them to wear sunscreen all year round. They glaze over when I explain that UVA rays are just as strong in the winter and will prematurely age their skin by stealth.
Sunscreen can actually reverse sun damage!
I get it. I really do. Prevention is boring. So imagine my delight when new research proved that sunscreen can actually reverse sun damage, not just prevent it – my clients have no excuse now! There is a catch though. It has to be worn every single day for at least a year. Come rain or shine. My clients are impatient however and want results now.
Are moisturisers obsolete?
There is another catch. Most sunscreens use chemical filters to absorb and neutralise UVA rays before they can damage your skin. To be effective, these chemical sunscreens need to touch the skin; moisturiser would simply dilute them. But clients are reluctant to give up their expensive anti-aging creams and think their skin will wrinkle and sag overnight. They struggle to accept that sunscreens are hydrating in their own right.
‘But my moisturiser has an SPF in it.”
Moisturisers with SPFs aren’t regulated like sunscreens. They rarely contain sufficient UVA protection because it changes the texture of a cream, and beauty brands know that most customers are easily swayed by texture and scent. That high SPF may not be photostable – in other words it will degrade more quickly in sunlight. So it won’t still be working if you nip out on your lunch hour. In reality, only the most advanced sunscreens cover the full range of UVA rays.
Physical vs chemical sunscreens
There is one other option for my sunscreen phobic clients. Physical/mineral sunscreens form a barrier which reflects UVA away from the skin before it can do any damage. So you can apply it on top of your favourite moisturiser. There is a catch however. Physical sunscreens rub off very easily, so be careful when applying make-up on top or touching the skin. I am obsessive: I use a layer of chemical sunscreen, wait 10 mins, then a layer of a physical one to make sure no UVA gets through.
Heliocare 360 mineral fluid sunscreen spf 50
I trust Heliocare and have been using their sunscreens for years. This is a physical/mineral sunscreen and I am very impressed that Heliocare uses such a high percentage of zinc oxide (12% – its the first ingredient on the ingredient list); I always recommend at least 10%. Zinc oxide protects against the whole range of UVA rays. Many companies shy away from this expensive ingredient however, relying more on titanium dioxide, which only protects against short wave UVA rays. It also contains high levels of antioxidants to protect against pollution.
My client K
I have been nagging one of my clients to protect her English rose complexion for ages. She has the trickiest skin, yet ironically is my most low maintenance client. I knew that Heliocare would be perfect for her skin.
Normally make up settles in the thirsty skin between her nostrils and the corner of her lips (nasolabial folds), but not this time. She didn’t even need a primer, let alone a moisturiser. The high level of zinc oxide leaves a white cast, but she loved how it toned down her redness.
Heliocare sunscreens and me
I use it every morning, layering it over my Heliocare XF gel spf 50 which is a chemical sunscreen. Unfortunately the white cast shows up even on my pale skin – if only they would add a tint.