June 28th 2020
1.3 million of us suffer from acne in the UK, and while the skin condition affects 80 per cent of 13-18 year olds at some point according to the British Skin Foundation, late onset acne occurs in 20 per cent of women (this stat is just 8 per cent for men). Cases are not only on the increase (acne accounts for roughly 3.5 million GP visits a year), but we’re also getting acne later in life, with leading dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams describing the surge in adult acne as an ‘epidemic’.
Acne can become all the more difficult to deal with during the summer months too, with many sufferers reporting that hot weather causes an increase in sebum, and and as a result, spots. Sunscreen has also been blamed for triggering breakouts, but given that wearing it is non-negotiable (especially if you're taking roaccutane for your acne) and that formulations have thankfully improved since the thick, heavy, irritating sunblock of old, the modern crop of SPFs can ward off sun damage while also absorbing excess oil, calming inflammation and knocking back redness. Here’s your ultimate spot-limiting sunscreen line-up
High SPFs needn’t mean pore-clogging coverage any longer, and this mattifying lotion is a case in point. Formulated with just four chemical filters, notably without the often irritating octocrylene, Cleanance Solaire protects skin as well as mopping up oil thanks to added monolaurin, a molecule that targets sebum-producing cells and helps to prevent the spread of acne-causing bacteria. Zinc and silica zap shine, and it slips under foundation nicely without feeling heavy.
Part makeup primer, part veil-like physical sunscreen, this lightly tinted base combines UVA and UVB broad spectrum protection with a soothing blend of antioxidants and moisturizing ingredients. Oil-free and sweat-resistant, it’ll become a firm friend from early morning commute and beyond, and the fact that it flatters skin and evens out skintone on application makes it a welcome change from the whiteout/ grease party so often associated with sunscreens. Whether you live in the city or not, it’s the perfect option for a day in the office or throughout the winter months- for hotter climes, holidays and afternoons in the park, you’ll likely need a higher SPF, which brings us to…
Fusing free-radical fighting antioxidants with a high level of SPF, if both ageing and adult acne are your primary (and often seemingly opposing) skin dilemmas, this smooth, velvety moisturiser will support you on both fronts. Oil-free, fragrance-free and alcohol-free, it’s non-irritating, with vitamin E and green tea extract to add to the calming arsenal. It’s not overly mattifying, but it will quell the sheen slightly if you’re prone to oiliness.
A new non-comedogenic option that hydrates as it shields skin from UVA and UVB rays, this fast-absorbing sunscreen claims to reduce blemishes, visible pores and oiliness, and given that it was developed with the feedback of solely acne-prone testers, the prospects are promising. Ingredients-wise watch out for the filter octocrylene if you’ve had reactions to chemical sunscreens in the past, but otherwise the inclusion of anti-inflammatory niacinamide is a welcome addition, as is the smooth, sheer texture.
If you do have issues with chemical sunscreens, this cult mineral protector will solve a multitude of problems, from midday makeup sweats (the aerated silica technology keeps things shine-free) to uneven skin texture (it has a ‘blurring’ effect). Lightly tinted to prevent a whitewash, it’s suitable for all skintones, along with sensitive skin, and the weightless feel means that layering your skincare won’t make you feel suffocated. Speaking of which, Skinceuticals’ National Head of Training and Education Linda Blahr recommends teaming any sunscreen with an antioxidant serum worn underneath for optimum pollution and Infrared-A radiation protection. Belts and braces if you will. If you can afford to invest, Skinceuticals Phloretin CF gel, £150, provides a daytime hit of potent vitamin C. Try a limited edition Double Defence Kit, £150, to economise on an antioxidant+sunscreen duo that’s suitable for oily and acne prone skins.
On the subject of antioxidants, this water-like mineral-based SPF has them built in by way of vitamin E and green tea extract (a winning anti-inflammatory combination). Sheer and mattifying, although not to Instagram filter levels, it’s another lightly tinted option, but the added lactobionic acid gives it the edge in terms of increasing collagen synthesis and helping to combat the effects of free-radicals over time- it’s a good defence against future fine lines. One word of warning- give it a vigorous shake before application, otherwise you’ll end up with an oily dribble (it’s far from slick once on your face).
If applying fresh cucumbers to your face on a muggy day appeals, this is the next best thing. One of the most “natural” sunscreens in this edit, all ingredients, including the nourishing antioxidant plant extracts, are sustainably sourced, while the mineral formula is gentle enough to suit even very sensitive skins. The finish is incredibly impressive too- matte without being flat or masklike, and the mousse texture sinks into skin beautifully. If you find yourself breaking out with your average sunscreen, this could be a game-changer, and the cucumber scent will revive you on reapplication. Then again, if reapplication is something of a foreign concept, the next sunscreen will come in handy…
It’s recommended that we reapply our sunscreen at least every four hours, but if you wear makeup, you’ll know the struggle of smearing cream over your perfectly set concealer. A spray on option such as this saves the day, providing a refreshing, protective surface layer without the added tackiness or makeup disruption. It is a chemical sunscreen, so be mindful if your skin doesn’t fare well with chemical filters, and it’s best to start off with a conventional sunscreen, using this nifty spritz for top-ups. Otherwise, for speed, convenience and makeup maintenance, it’s genius, plus the mist absorbs three times its weight in oil, preventing t-zone oil overload.
January 13th 2020