The decision as to what strength SPF protection you require depends on your skin type and how long you are going to be in the sun. All people with varying skin types should apply a sunscreen daily but fair skinned people in particular, who are going to be in the sun for longer than usual should use a higher factor sunscreen.
Make sure your sunscreen covers both UVA and UVB radiation i.e. broad spectrum – these can be a bit more expensive but they are worth it.
European companies spend vast amounts of money on research and development when it comes to sunscreens and we generally recommend products such as Vichy, Bioderma and Heliocare.
All SPF factors in sunscreens are worked out in perfect laboratory conditions but unfortunately life is not a perfect laboratory condition! Rather err on the side of using a higher factor than a lower factor if you are not sure what to use.
The only side effect of a higher factor is that there are more chemical sunscreens found in the higher factors that could cause an allergy to the sunscreen. However, you have to weigh up the risks vs the benefits and it would be better to risk an allergy than to risk skin cancer.
In summer in South Africa, a sunscreen with a SPF15 protection should be used as part of your daily routine but if you are planning on lying in the sun, playing sport or hiking you should use a higher factor.
Modern day moisturisers contain a SPF protection but you do need to apply a layer of sunscreen over your moisturiser if you are going to be outdoors for any length of time.
If you are a teenager with an oily skin, always choose an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturiser.
Remember if you are swimming or boating, the reflection from the water is greater and you can burn more easily. Wearing a hat will not help to protect you and you will would need to choose a sunscreen with a higher factor such as SPF50+ – if you are using a lower factor always remember to reapply when you feel yourself burning.
Small amounts of UVB are beneficial in that they produce Vitamin D in your skin. However, you still need to be responsible about how much sun exposure you require for it to be beneficial, without the negative side-effects.
A good suggestion for people who cannot tolerate the sun: mix a little self-tan in with your moisturiser or body lotion every second day. In this way you can build up a light tan that remains constant throughout the summer.
See the Product section and read about the PH Formula B.O.D.Y Lotion.