With so many options available, selecting the right sunscreen for you can feel like a minefield. Below, we take the hard work out of finding the SPF to suit your unique needs and skin type.
There’s no denying sunscreen is a year-round essential.
While a little bit of sun exposure can be beneficial for boosting happy hormone serotonin levels, support vitamin D production in the body and lift your mood, it can also rapidly increase the risk of long-term health issues, as well as speed up the ageing process. That’s precisely why being sun smart is essential — enjoy being outdoors but avoiding damage at the same time.
Unfortunately, the New Zealand sun is harsh, so prolonged sun exposure should be avoided and frequent re-application of sunscreen is a must to stay protected. Think every two hours or more often if sweating, swimming or towelling.
Sunscreens come in many different textures and formulas, so the one you choose will depend on your skin type and lifestyle. Read on for our hot tips.
Five Benefits Of Sun Exposure
1. The sun increases your serotonin levels which can improve your mood
2. When you are outside in the sunlight, your body produces vitamin D. This keeps your bones strong by helping your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, both of which are key minerals for bone health.
3. The sun can strengthen your immune system. Vitamin D is critical for your immunity. Consistent and safe exposure to the sun will increase your vitamin D levels, therefore increase the strength of your immune system. 10-20 minutes a few days a week is all you need.
4. Sun exposure can improve sleep. Your body creates a hormone called melatonin that is critical to helping you sleep. Because your body starts producing it when it’s dark, you usually start to feel sleepy two hours after the sun sets, which is one of the reasons our bodies naturally stay up later in the summer.
5. Reduction of stress. Melatonin also lowers stress reactivity and being outside will help your body naturally regulate melatonin, which can help reduce your stress level. Additionally, because you're often doing something active when you’re outside (walking, playing, etc.), that extra exercise also helps to reduce stress.
Four Reasons To Be Sun Smart
1. It protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays. It’s vital to use SPF daily, all year round no matter the weather. UVA rays (which are responsible for wrinkles, premature ageing and skin damage) remain constant throughout the year and can penetrate through clouds, fog and even glass so it’s still possible to cause skin damage while indoors or when it’s cloudy.
2. No one sunscreen will give you 100% SPF protection, but products with SPF 30 and SPF 50+ can shield your skin from 96% to 98% of UVB (burning) rays and lower your risk on skin cancer.
3. It prevents premature ageing and helps maintain an even skin tone. Unprotected UV exposure is by far the single most ageing thing we can do to our skin and causes visible negative change. The sun degrades hyaluronic acid and collagen product as well as directly stimulating the melanocyte to produce (mostly uneven) pigment — resulting in hyperpigmentation or sunspots.
4. Sun exposure is cumulative. Human skin is an excellent record keeper and stores every moment of sun exposure to manifest at a later time. Sun damage is cumulative (five mins in the car today and 10 minutes tomorrow all add up).
Which Sunscreen Is Right For You?
Discover our handy guide to help you choose the best facial SPF for you and your family this summer.
For breakout-prone skin, try UV Daily SPF40, $78
Serious UV protection and lightweight hyaluronic acid join forces in this moisturiser/sunscreen hybrid, which hydrates as much as it protects. It can be worn alone or under makeup, and comes as a tinted or untinted formula.
For dry skin, try PCA Sheer Tint SPF45, $90
This formula remains our best-selling SPF and for good reason! This universally-tinted, water-resistant sunscreen provides sheer coverage and antioxidant protection, leaving skin with a beautiful, dewy glow. It’s chemical free so safe for use on people of any age, and it’s reef-safe formula renders it an excellent option for an active lifestyle. Ubiquinone helps fight free radical damage for added UV protection, too.
OR try Aspect Dr Sun Hydrating Face SPF50, $69
This unique formula delivers high sun protection and skin nourishment in one step, helping support skin ageing while dosing up hydration.
For outdoorsy types, try PCA Weightless Protection SPF45, $99
Defend against UV rays with this lightweight, fast-absorbing SPF, which is formulated with caffeine to prevent free radical damage. Ideal for daily use, this sunscreen pairs perfectly with a busy, outdoorsy lifestyle — it’s easy to reapply and offers maximum protection by coupling top quality SPF with antioxidants.
For the whole family, Elta MD UV Pure, $80
Haley’s top pick for SPF for children aged six months and up, or sensitive skin types is Elta MD UV Pure. It’s chemical-free but still active, making it an ideal daily sunscreen. The gentle formula glides on wet or dry skin and rubs in quickly without leaving a white cast. UV Pure is formulated with physical active ingredients, all of which are photo-stable.
For teens, Coola Classic Face SPF30 Cucumber, $59
Give skin an immediate matte finish and fight signs of ageing caused by the sun with this farm-to-face sourced, antioxidant-infused broad spectrum SPF30 mineral sunscreen. The cucumber-scented formula recruits natural reship oil which is rich in free radical-fighting vitamin C. It’s suitable for all skin types and skin tones, including those that are especially sensitive or oily.
For body, Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF50, $59 and Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF50, $52
Here at Mooi, we recommend starting the day with a lotion SPF, then topping up throughout the day with a SPF spray. Start with the Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion — an award-winning classic designed for long, active days in the sun but light enough for daily use. Follow this with a spritz of the ultra-sheer Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray, a water-resistant broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen spray which is excellent to top up your protection throughout the day.