Not only astonishingly wearable, the latest SPFs multi task as wrinkle fighters, pollution repellers and blemish blurrers, writes Rosie Green

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According to Clinique’s Guiding Dermatologist Dr David Orentreich, the sun is responsible for as much as 80% of skin ageing. A fact, if we’re honest, we kind of knew, and one that has been proven in this week’s news . So why don’t we all use sunscreen everyday?

One word: texture. Gloopy, sticky, suffocating. About as appealing as coating your face in Cookeen. Well, NOT ANYMORE. Like Posh’s wardrobe and mobile phones, they’ve had a gigantic overhaul. Thanks to million-dollar investment, UV shield systems now contain NASA level wizardry that makes them more efficacious than ever. Not only that, but “Patented revolutionary technology has made zinc oxide transparent,” says Mr Paul Banwell, leading UK plastic surgeon and sun expert, which mean sunscreen is “much more appealing” as products look invisible and feel lightweight.

MORE GLOSS: The best sun cream for sensitive skin

In other news, there’s been a breakthrough on blotchiness.  Scientists have now identified the existence of long UVA rays (penetrating deeper than standard UVA). These rays are thought to be “responsible for over 90% of skin reactions” says Soltan sun care expert and scientist Clare O'Connor, so Boots and Garnier have counteracted them with face-friendly filters, meaning less burning, breakouts and blotchiness.  You’re welcome…

The sunscreen basics

  • Your sunscreen needs to promise UVA and UVB protection; as Banwell says, “The sun’s rays consist of UVA (ageing), UVB (burning/skin cancer) and UVC (inconsequential).”
  • Replace SPFs every year. Unless it’s been exposed to heat ( the glove box), in which case buy new right away.
  • Apply lotion before sun exposure. “The UV filtering ingredients in chemical sunscreens take time to be absorbed,” says Banwell. “Allow thirty minutes before you go outside for it to sink in properly.”
  • Wear SPF every day. Even cloudy ones. UVA can penetrate cloud and glass.
  • Your moisturiser/foundation with SPF within it isn’t enough for anything beyond a short walk to the shops. For prolonged exposure you need a stand-alone product.

About face: new generation SPFs to protect, perfect, and prettify

Supercharged shields

Elemis Liquid Layer Sunblock SPF 30 , £26, is a miraculous polymeric spheres/titanium dioxide combo that provides weightless protection that endures swimming, sweating and rain. Lancôme UV Expert GN-Shield SPF 50 PA +++ , £32, repels not only the sun’s rays but 30% of carbonic pollution. And scientists at Chanel’s research labs have created dual action UV Essentiels SPF 50+, 30+, 20+,  from £38. Their sunscreen/anti-pollution formula keeps out external aggressors, whilst actives work deep within the skin to protect precious complexion stem cells.

Zonal defenders

Previously vulnerable areas got missed due to gunky formulas or clunky applicators, but the nose, ears, eyes and cheeks are especially susceptible to sun damage. Try Shiseido Expert Sun Ageing Protection Cream SPF 30 , £28.50, which has a new SuperVeil-UV360 complex that promises to spread evenly over every skin contour. And Sisley SPF 30 Super Stick Solaire , £67.50 and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Targeted Sun Defense Stick SPF 50 , £15, are great for layering on additional coverage.

Advanced anti-agers

Astalift’s Day Protector SPF 35 , £39, contains their powerful antioxidant Astaxanthin (1000x more potent than industry standard CO Q10) to target wrinkles, sagging and age spots. Estée Lauder Daywear Advanced Multi-Protection UV Defense SPF 50 , £33, cleverly recycles its antioxidants to deliver all day free radical damage protection, while Clinique’s SPF40 Face Cream , £17, encapsulates its powerful antioxidants in protein shells to allow for targeted delivery.


Origins A Perfect World SPF 35 UV Face Protector with White Tea , £20, uses mineral pigments of silica and mica to add radiance and blur blemishes, whilst SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense  SPF 50, £35,  and Garnier Ambre Solaire BB Cream SPF 50 , £7.99, are subtly tinted for extra coverage.

Body guards: miraculous multitaskers


Nivea SUN Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Mist, SPF 20, 30 and 50,  from £8.49, contains refreshing menthol.


Boots Soltan Kids Once Waterplay Spray SPF 30, 50,  from £8.49, now offers six hours’ sun protection (or three hours in the water).


Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Advanced Protection Spray, SPF 50,  from £7.49, has a reinforced filter system that shields against known irritant long UVA and is free from fragrances, parabens and artificial colours.

H20 Loving

Boffins at Piz Buin labs have created Wet Skin Transparent Sun Spray, SPF 15, 30,  from £8.98, that can be sprayed straight onto wet skin for instant protection.