If there’s one product that everyone should be using every day, it’s an SPF. It’s cosmetic dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting’s number one tool for slowing down the ageing process - and for just reason. Not only does it prevent future premature ageing, but it can also improve existing wrinkles, pigmentation and texture. Yep, you read that right. Dr Sam recently took to her Instagram page to explain how:
“The rationale is simple. Skin is designed to help protect us from the dangers of UV. But that takes up resources, that could be otherwise better invested. So when we apply sunscreen properly as little as once a day as we go about our working lives, the protection it affords us allows those resources to be allocated to the business of repair and regeneration. That means less wrinkles and pigment. And the younger you start this habit, the greater the capacity there is for this to happen.”
With benefits as far-reaching as these, you’d think we’d all be slathering on the stuff by the bottle. Surprisingly though, few of us actually do. The results of a survey of over a 1000 members of Dr Sam’s Skincare Club Facebook group, revealed that less than half use it every day, with factors such as unclear instructions, confusion about how much to apply in order to achieve the level of protection promised, fear of breakouts, looking greasy and a white cast the most common sunblock barriers.
They’re objections that Dr Sam hears from her patients every day, so to put a stop to them, she set about developing an SPF that removed these mental blocks. The result is Dr Sam’s Flawless Daily Sunscreen, £29, the third and final addition to her Perfected Basics range, targeted to those who are blemish-prone and concerned about the first signs of ageing. Much like the cleanser and moisturiser that came before it, it’s set to challenge notions about yet another skincare staple.
What makes it different from other SPFs?
Unlike traditional sunscreens, it contains five per cent niacinamide , an ingredient that not only boasts anti-acne and anti-inflammatory benefits, but also prevents hyperpigmentation and supports barrier function. This latter point makes it particularly useful if you’re using topical retinoids , as it increases tolerance to them. “Think of it as a serum in a sunscreen,” says Dr Sam.
That being said though, it is a sunscreen first and foremost, and it takes that role seriously by way of broad-spectrum SPF50 protection. As well as 11.8 per cent zinc oxide, it also contains seven per cent octinoxate. Now, while octinoxate is legal on UK shores, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s soon to be banned in Hawaii due to its impact on coral reefs. Those with sensitive skin or an allergy to chemical filters may also want to tread lightly to begin with too, and patch test first. It is fragrance-free though, which provides welcome peace of mind for those troubled by that. Dr Sam does tell us that there is an all-mineral SPF in the pipeline though, so watch this space!
Its pump bottle keeps things nice and mess-free, and also protects the integrity of its formula too. What really sets it apart though, is its easy-to-follow instructions that ensure that there’s zero ambiguity about how much you need to get the full level of protection - three pumps for face (“I know!” Dr Sam quips at the back of the bottle, having already anticipated people’s shock) after moisturiser but before makeup, three pumps for neck after moisturiser. “The terms ‘apply generously’ or ‘apply liberally’ are just too vague when it comes to such an important step in your routine,” she says.
Take extra steps if you’re out and about. “I think of this daily anti-ageing behaviour as distinct from outdoorsy avoiding-sunburn behaviour,” Dr Sam said on Instagram. “Remember that you must of course reapply SPF/seek shade/cover up if you're actually in direct sunlight.”
It’s like a moisturiser thanks to hydrating sodium hyaluronate, squalane and shea butter - great if you have dry skin or hate the chalky feel that many daily SPFs can have. It takes a couple of minutes to sink in (mainly because you’re using quite a lot!), but when it does, it leaves skin dewy and nicely primed for makeup - oh, and without the obvious white cast that a lot of other SPFs we've tried in the past leave behind. Patience is the secret here when it comes to application - glide rather than rub it on, and don't rush it, building it up gradually instead of just piling it on.
Making sun care refreshingly simple, it helps take the fear factor out of your SPF if you’re blemish-prone. Plus, as a bonus, it makes your skin feel really bouncy and plumped up afterwards too. A third instalment worth waiting for, we’re already looking forward to the reveal of the next member of the Flawless family.
Dr Sam’s Flawless Daily Sunscreen is £29, available at drsambunting.com and to purchase at Dr Sam Bunting + Associates, 41 Harley Street, London W1G 8QH.
Read more: Why your skincare and makeup is pilling (and how to stop it)