Photo: Gallery Stock
1. It’s okay to use a face sunscreen around the eyes.
You shouldn’t skip sunscreen on the eye area, not when the skin there is 10 times thinner and more susceptible to UV damage than that on the rest of the face. But there’s no need to look for an eye cream with SPF either.
Dr Karen Soh, medical director at Prive Clinic, says regular sunscreen on the eye contour is fine – as long as the formula is safe for use on the area and doesn’t sting. “Look for the ones that say hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic – such products are less likely to cause irritation around the eyes and the clogging of pores, which may result in milia seeds or breakouts if too much is used,” she says.
Opting for a waterproof or sweatproof sunscreen will also reduce the likelihood of the product getting into your eyes. But if it does, just rinse it out with water.
Orbis UV Cut Sunscreen On Face Light SPF34/PA+++, $18
It’s oil- and fragrance-free, non-comedogenic and allergy-tested. The light lotion works well for the thinner skin around the eyes.
Chanel UV Essentiel Gel-creme SPF50/PA+++, $87
On top of being non-comedogenic, this is ophthalmologist- and dermatologist-tested. The gel-cream leaves skin feeling fresh and satiny, and is said to boost skin’s natural defence against environmental stress (read this beauty writer’s secret to a stress-free day).
2. Don’t forget scalp protection.
Although it’s partially shielded by your hair, your scalp does require attention, particularly if you’re going to be under harsh sunlight for prolonged periods.
“In certain individuals, the unprotected skin exposed at the parting, hairline or hair-thinning areas is as much at risk as anywhere else on the body,” says Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director at The Sloane Clinic.
You could wear a hat or stay in the shade, but there actually are sunscreens made for the scalp. “You can also apply an oil-free spray-on sunscreen to the hair roots and scalp for protection,” adds Dr Low.
Sunplay Ultra Shield UV Body Mist SPF130/PA++++, $21.90
With super-high sun protection, and vitamins C and E to help counter free-radical damage, this lightweight, non-greasy formula resistant to sweat and water will last throughout the day (here are more ways to sweat-proof your makeup). It is also free of potential irritants like colourants, fragrances and parabens.
Anessa Perfect UV Spray Sunscreen Aqua Booster SPF50+/PA++++, $30.90
Fast-absorbing, non-sticky and with a clear finish, this won’t weigh your hair down or leave visible residue. Bulgarian rose essence, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C provide skincare benefits.
3. An SPF50 sunscreen and a facial moisturiser with SPF50 give the same amount of UV protection.
Dr Benjamin Yim, aesthetics director at Dr Benjamin Yim Clinical Aesthetics & Laser Centre, says that sun protection factor (SPF) is an objective measure of a sunscreen’s ability to protect the skin from ultraviolet damage. So if the indicated SPF is the same, the moisturiser (here’s an award-winning moisturiser for oily skin you need to buy right now) should protect the skin just as well as the sunscreen would.
Erno Laszlo Firmarine Moisturizer SPF30, $165
This anti-ageing face cream has a host of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants that work on giving you supple, hydrated skin. Massage it in using an upward motion and you’ll reportedly feel a tightening sensation. Wait a few minutes before applying makeup.
Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF30+, $49
Combining five sun filter ingredients for full UV protection, this dual-purpose moisturiser also helps prevent premature skin ageing and is sweat-resistant – great for a sporty day out.
4. Use an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and sunscreen.
There are two types of sunscreen: waterproof, mineral-based ones with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, and chemical ones that convert UV rays into less-damaging forms of energy.
According to Dr Soh, an oil-based cleanser will typically remove all waterproof products, including mineral sunscreens. It’s also recommended for chemical sunscreens, which contain alcohol that can dry out the skin – a cleansing oil ensures its thorough removal.
Anessa Essence UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster SPF50+/PA++++, $39.90
Those who don’t fancy using oil cleansers should try this water-resistant but soap-removable sunscreen that washes off easily with a regular cleanser.
5. Applying two layers of sunscreen at once will not give you extra protection.
In fact, Dr Siew Tuck Wah, medical director at Radium Medical Aesthetics, says it may do more harm than good. Not only can it make your face look overly white, the extra sunscreen may also trap heat on the skin’s surface, resulting in pimples, especially if you’re acne-prone. So stick to one layer and the recommended one-quarter teaspoon.
Sunplay Super Block Lotion SPF130/PA++++, $17.20
No need to touch up your sunscreen on an average workday with this water- and sweat-resistant formula offering super-high coverage. The watery texture and sheer finish sit comfortably on skin and won’t interfere with your makeup.
6. Yes, having SPF in your foundation helps too.
Dr Low shares that two factors determine the level of protection you get from your foundation (cushion, liquid, cream or otherwise): the amount applied and the frequency with which it’s reapplied.
A thicker layer protects more than a thinner one, and reapplying it when you perspire or come into contact with water will give you more protection.
For maximum sun protection, either use a foundation with high SPF or use a BB powder with SPF for touch-ups (here’s our best picks for non-oily BB cushions), to ensure you have fresh protection.
Lancome Blanc Expert Cushion High Coverage SPF50+/PA+++, $20 for the case and $55 for a single refill
This gives you a higher coverage compared to regular cushions. Its ultra-light texture delivers a natural-looking finish and makes reapplication a breeze.
ALSO READ: 10 WAYS TO GET GLOWING SKIN ALL OVER
7. It takes a quarter teaspoon of sunscreen to fully protect the face.
This works out to roughly 1.25ml, or about the size of a 20-cent coin. Dr Siew says: “The 20-cent-coin size is a rough gauge. Viscosity varies among sunscreens – some have a more fluid texture than others.” To be really sure, squirt sunscreen onto a quarter-teaspoon measuring spoon, the sort used in baking and/or cooking.
Lancome UV Expert Youth Shield Aqua Gel SPF50/PA++++, $75
You get high protection, hydration and lightweight, comfortable wear rolled into one with this aqueous gel. It also works on minimising oxidative damage caused by UV rays and pollution.
Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening UV Protector SPF50+/PA++++, $92
The vegetable oil used in this sunscreen gives it high skin adherence, and it blends easily without leaving a sticky feel. In addition, its special film-coating technology prevents pollutants and harmful materials from sticking to skin.
Astalift White Perfect UV Clear Solution SPF50+/PA++++, $72
Sidestep the issue of topping up sun protection over makeup by ensuring you have sufficient and lasting coverage underneath it. Sweat- and sebum-resistant, this works as a makeup base and is enriched with vitamin C, the antioxidant astaxanthin and whitening actives.
8. Sunscreen only disappears when it gets washed off.
If you were wondering if sunscreen melts away when your skin gets oily or when you sweat, the answer is: it doesn’t. “The oil on the face usually does not form a thick enough barrier to prevent sunscreen from penetrating into the skin,” says Dr Yim. The only time your sunscreen gets washed off is when you go swimming – in which case, reapply after two hours if you’re going to continue to be in the sun.
Shiseido Perfect UV Protector Hydrofresh SPF50+/PA++++, $60
This is specifically designed for a very hot and humid climate: the more you perspire, the more this light, water-based gel formula reacts with sweat and moisture to form a stronger protective veil.
Don’t forget these areas
They are just as susceptible (if not more) to UV damage as the skin on the face, due to their frequent exposure to direct sunlight (here’s a scary fact about UV radiation in Singapore you need to know).
Photo: Seasons Gallery
LIPS – use a balm with SPF.
EARS – apply sunscreen over and behind them.
NECK AND DECOLLETAGE – the back of the neck is prone to sunburn too.
BACK OF THE HANDS – they’re not protected by a thick layer of skin, like your palms are.
UNDERARMS – especially the folds.
CALVES AND BACK OF THE KNEES – try a spray sunscreen for these hard-to-reach areas.
TOP OF THE FEET – those flip-flops provide zero sun cover.
UNDER SWIMSUIT STRAPS – the straps move when you move, so apply sunscreen in the buff if possible.
This story was originally published in the June 2017 issue of Her World magazine.