Facial sunscreen is an absolute essential part of a redhead’s beauty regime. I loathe wearing thick greasy suncreams – especially as I have to reapply them so often – so it’s really important to have a nice and light cream with a high SPF.
The SPF (Sun protection factor) shows how well a sunscreen protects you from UVB rays, the harmful rays that cause burning. You also need to look at the UVA rating of a sunscreen too, as these are the rays that cause unseen skin damage, ageing and wrinkles.
What SPF should I use on my face as a redhead with pale skin and freckles?
Experts suggest wearing a minimum of SPF 15. Redheads with fair skin who burn easily and rarely or never tan are at higher risk of skin cancer, so you should wear a minimum SPF of 30 in the summer, with high UVA protection. There are really high SPFs available – up to SPF110 – but some dermatologists say anything over SPF45 won’t make much difference. An SPF110 sunscreen only blocks less than 1% more UV radiation than an SPF55. But there’s no harm in having a higher SPF – for my face I never use less than SPF40 all year round, and for my body I always use SPF50.
Can I just use a moisturiser or foundation with an SPF?
It’s always a bonus if you use a product with suncreen in it, but these are often too low for bright sunshine (e.g. SPF 15) and won’t offer protection for the whole day. Experts say you should reapply sunscreen at least every two hours (more if you’re in the sun, sweating etc) so even if I’m wearing products with an SPF I always wear a separate sunscreen and top it up during the day.
What’s the difference between chemical and barrier / mineral sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into your skin and absorb UV radiation (which is why you should apply these sunscreens well before you go out into the sun) whereas barrier sunblocks made from zinc or titanium oxide sit on your skin and reflect the rays so they work instantly.
Mineral sunscreen is better for sensitive skin and kinder to the environment than chemical sunscreens, and zinc and titanium oxide don’t break down when exposed to the sun, unlike some chemicals in chemical sunscreens. The downside is that mineral sunscreens can make you look ghostly white and feel less pleasant on your skin. I’ve tried Liz Earle Mineral Sun Cream SPF20 and hated how it just sat on top of my skin and made me look ghostly white. RoC Minesol SPF 40 is a better option if you want to use a mineral sunscreen but I much prefer chemical sunscreens.
Protect your face and body
Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your hair parting, backs of your hands and on your neck and decolletage as these areas are exposed to the sun lots too. Stave off those wrinkles!
Best daily face sunscreen for redheads:
Clinique Super City Block SPF40, £16
I love City Block and have been wearing it for years. It comes in a 40ml tube, perfect for popping in your handbag so you can reapply during the day, and you don’t need much so it lasts for ages. Unlike traditional gloopy white sunscreens it’s got a light tint so it feels like a tinted moisturiser, and it protects against UVA and UVB.
The main reason I love it is because it’s such a nice consistency that I don’t feel like I’m applying sunscreen and that I can wear it alone or under my usual makeup.The downsides are that it makes your face look a little greasy when you first apply it but I find this goes quickly. If you’re wearing moisturiser underneath let it sink in first before applying City Block.
Best face sunscreen for on holiday for redheads:
Vichy Capital Soleil Mattifying Face Fluid Dry Touch SPF 50 (combination to oily) £12.35
This is another great sunscreen. I’ve suggested this one for holidays because it’s got a higher SPF, the downside is it’s much thicker when you first put it on.
Leave it a moment and your skin will mattify and won’t feel greasy at all! I’ve never found this in shops so I always buy it online. It protects against UVA and UVB.
Which sunscreens do you use, and what SPF? Any recommendations for other redheads?