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Skin Notes
Sun cream de-funked
Sun cream myths Image Credit:

Nothing thrills us more than overriding a bit of beauty legend that has been deluding people for centuries. Remember when we all used to believe that if you left your hair long enough it would start cleaning itself? If anyone is bashfully still doing this, it’s nonsense by the way. When hair is left for three or four days the scalp becomes flaky and hair itself lank and dull (Eww).

Anyway no product has more myths than sun cream it seems. Almost everyone has a bit of advice passed down from their mum or mum’s mum or mum’s mum’s mum (and so on) that they swear by. Chances are, most of them are load of twaddle.

Putting you on the straight and narrow here are the most common myths, we’ve corrected (forever with any luck!). Now please pass on the message – we can’t stand seeing any more burnt Brits dotted across every beach in the Med.

‘This has the highest factor so I’m safe’

Well yes this is true to an extent, but there is more to it than that. Dr Susan Mayou, Consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic explains ‘What the number actually indicates is how long you have until you start to burn. For example, SPF15 will mean your have 15 times longer until you start to redden than if you wore nothing (although that’s skin dependant so don’t time it!).’ The SPF doesn’t tell us anything about the level of UV protection, which is arguably more important because those are the pests that cause you to burn.

‘I can go swimming in this, it’s waterproof suncream’

Oh this has got to be a favourite. How many of you have spotted someone on a beach smothering themselves in sun cream just before taking a dip, only to emerge chalky white with red patches? (If you haven’t seen this, then chances are that it’s you we’re all looking at!). The correct term is ‘water-resistant’. When wet, the product, however water resistant, will rub off eventually, so there is never enough agent on the skin to protect it. A water-resistant formula will, as the name suggests, resist the water for longer – but you will still need to re-apply at least every hour. The best we have found are the new ‘wet skin’ sun creams. Lancaster Sun Sport Invisible Mist, £23, or Garnier Ambre Solaire Wet Skin SPF30, £14.29, can be sprayed directly onto wet skin and won’t streak.

‘I don’t need sun cream I’ve got SPF foundation’

Ok, your foundation may claim to contain an SPF, so we understand your confusion, but you should still wear an SPF underneath. Let’s face it, you’d have to trowel on your make-up to achieve the daily broad spectrum SPF30-50. So much for that fresh-faced, natural summer look…

‘This sun cream’s better because it’s more expensive’

This is complete poppycock! 'To claim an SPF50 all sun creams have to be submitted to the same strict regulation tests,’ Dr Mayou explains. ‘So the actual UV filter protection will be the same whether it costs five pounds or fifty pounds.' The extra expense comes from the added skincare benefits you get from the luxury brands. Sunleÿa G.E Age Minimizing Global Sun Care SPF30, £158, is packed with active anti-ageing ingredients and Eve Lom Daily Protection SPF50, £70 is an effective anti-pollutant. But if you don’t want any of the added extras, stick to the cheap stuff, it’ll protect just as well.

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