Primed & Protected

Shielding your skin from sun damage may not be a new edict, but the latest circumstantial changes have once again underlined its importance.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Shielding your skin from sun damage may not be a new edict, but the latest circumstantial changes have once again underlined its importance. Even if you intend to stay indoors, sunscreen is still a must – and the best way to protect your skin against UV damage is to ace your base!

Sunscreen: Essential Care For Your Skin

Exposure to UV light shows up later in the form of pigmentation, increased skin sensitivity, premature ageing, and in extreme cases, skin cancer. Even if you are indoors most of the time, it is essential that you use sunscreen

UVA and UVB, what’s the difference? 

The sunlight that reaches us comes in two forms of ultraviolet rays. UVB rays have shorter wavelengths and are responsible for the darkening of skin, while UVA rays have longer wavelengths that penetrate deeper into the skin, damaging skin structure and causing premature ageing. They’re able to penetrate through glass.

Suffice to say, even if you’re spending most of your time indoors, you’re still exposing your skin to UVA rays, especially if you’re in a room with natural light.

Should you be concerned about blue light exposure? 

Sunlight is the main source of blue light; it’s what makes the sky appear blue. However, there are also many man-made, indoor sources of blue light, emitted by smartphones, computers, and fluorescent light–devices. Blue light can penetrate deep into the skin to reach the dermis and disrupt collagen production.

However, it’s important to note that blue light is not inherently bad for you. Research has shown that exposure to HEV light can boost mental alertness and elevate your mood. While much has been said about the dangers of blue light exposure from our devices, it is important to note that the amount emitted from these electronic devices are quite small compared to blue light from the sun. And as with most things in our lives, balance is key when ascertaining if blue light is good or bad for you. If you spend long hours in front of your computer or mobile phone screen, it may be wise to consider some form of protection.

How often to reapply sunscreen? 

The effects of UV damage are lasting on the skin and the most effective way to combat this is to wear sunscreen daily, even if you’re indoors.

To safeguard against visible and cellular damage, refine your skincare regimen and regularly apply about one to one and a half-teaspoon sized amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen over the face, plus half a teaspoon more for your neck alone. If you’re in direct exposure to sunlight, then reapply every two hours. The same rule applies if your skin gets wet.

The sunscreens of yesteryears may be thick and difficult to spread. They may even smell odd. These days, sunscreen formulations have been greatly improved to give you dramatically lightweight textures that feel like nothing on the skin.

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If your excuse for not putting on sunscreen is its heavy texture, then you’ll love these spray-on sunscreens that make reapplication a breeze

1. Anessa Perfect UV Spray Sunscreen Aqua Booster SPF 50+ PA++++, $30.90 (60 g), is enhanced with a blend of Bulgarian rose essence, hyaluronic acid, turmeric, and vitamin C. The beauty essence in this formula lends anti-ageing and moisturising benefits to your skin. Using an improved technology, the spray creates an invisible veil of protection against the sun that only gets stronger when it comes into contact with sweat or water.

2. If you’re looking for an all-around mist for head-to-toe use, the DrGL Sun Protection Mist SPF 29 PA++, $88 (80 ml), is your best bet. Spray over the scalp to protect your scalp, and spritz on your face and body for antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits. The unique formula of ubiquinone and rutin protects against blue light exposure and UV rays, and extracts of licorice and arbutin help reduce redness and pigmentation.

3. Composed of a lightweight oil-gel texture, the Biore UV Athlizm Skin Protect Spray SPF 50+ PA++++, $21.90 (90 g), is ideal for Singapore’s climate. Its friction-resistant lasting polymers are said to make it sweat, friction, and water-resistant up to temperatures of 40 deg C and humidity levels of up to 75 percent.

4. 100 percent vegan, The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Face Mist SPF 45 PA++, $35 (60 ml), helps protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays, as well as pollution particles. Enriched with red algae extract and vitamin C, the mist helps brighten the skin’s appearance and acts as an invisible protective film.

5. Formulated with aloe vera and senna extract, Clarins Sun Care Water Mist SPF 50+, $50 (150 ml), protects the skin from sun damage and keeps it moisturised. This high-protection spray is cooling, hydrating, and gives a natural sun-kissed glow that stays invisible throughout the day.

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Power up on your daily base with these multitasking sunscreens that can prime, tint, and brighten the skin

6. Ideal for fair or highly sun-sensitive skin, Sisley Sunleya G.E. Age Minimising Global Sun Care SPF50+, $330 (50 ml), prevents wrinkles, dark spots, and loss of firmness in the skin, while leaving a luminous and even-toned complexion. Enriched with glycerin of plant origin and shea butter, this formula is moisturising and does not leave any white tint on the skin.

7. Smooth and powdery, AHC Natural Perfection Pink Tone Up Sun Milk SPF50+ PA++++, $31.86 (40 ml) , has natural ingredients that brighten the skin for a radiant complexion. Formulated with a pink flower solution extracted from 11 kinds of pink plants, these ingredients reportedly add a pink tone to your complexion for a youthful appearance.

8. The Skin Aqua Tone Up UV Essence SPF50+ PA++++, $27.90 (80 g), is a lavender-tinted sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection. Going above and beyond, it also colour-corrects and brightens dull complexions with its fine strobe pearl particles. Made with ingredients like sodium hyaluronate and fruit extracts, this sunscreen formula helps slow down the impact of skin ageing, and is also said to reduce skin redness. 

9. Perfect for time-strapped ladies, Astalift White Perfect UV Clear Solution 50+ PA ++++, $72 (30 g), works as a makeup base, beauty essence, and sunscreen. It is made with skin-loving ingredients like vitamin C. Pop this into your bag and watch the cap change from white to purple colours when exposed to UVA rays as a reminder to reapply.

10. Estee Lauder Crescent White Full Cycle Brightening UV Protection SPF 50/PA++++, $90 (30 ml) , is fortified with antioxidants that shield the skin from environmental aggressors. The botanical extracts work in line with your skin to help repair skin and brighten dark spots. Wear this alone or as a primer for foundation to go on smoothly.

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 With added defense against blue light damage, these sunscreens offer maximum protection from every day pollutants

11. Besides UVA and UVB rays, the lightweight Fancl Sunguard 50+ Protect UV, $50 (60 ml), reportedly protects the skin against blue light. The lightweight formula doesn’t leave a white cast and is also said to be resistant to water. 

12. Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40, $55 (50 ml) , is a hydrator, broad-spectrum sunscreen, and glowing primer. Suited for those with normal to dry skin, the lightweight formula blocks broad-spectrum UV rays and blue light, while leaving a pearlescent finish for a healthy dose of glow. 

13. A sunscreen developed to suit our contemporary lifestyle, the Cute Press UV Expert Protection City Shield SPF50+ PA++++, $22.90 (30 g), uses an innovative Blue Oleoactif technology to help protect the skin from pollution and blue light from electronic devices. Since it’s water-based, this goes on easily on the skin and leaves a lightweight finish that isn’t greasy.

14. Crystal Tomato Beyond Sun Protection SPF 70+, $78.80 (50 ml), is said to offer 54.1 percent protection against blue light and protects against dark spot formation with PPD 17+. This antioxidant-rich, gentle and hydrating formula goes on like a creamy moisturiser, and leaves no greasy feel after use. It also doesn’t clog pores.

6 Foods You Should Eat To Fight UV Damage 

While your daily dose of sunscreen protects the skin, there’s no harm in topping it off with sun-protecting foods that’ll work from the inside out. Here are some foods that are rich in cell-protecting antioxidants:

Avocado: Packed with vitamin E, this fruit will keep the skin hydrated and prevent photo damage in the long run. 

Dark chocolate: A study found that regular consumption of dark chocolate rich in flavanols offers significant photo-protection and can protect the skin from harmful UV effects.

Almonds: Throw this in your salads or snack on them throughout the day, vitamin E in almonds protects your skin from UV damage and helps it stay moisturised. 

Tofu: Alongside protection of UV radiation, tofu also improves skin thickness, collagen count, and skin elasticity.

Sweet potato: Thanks to its beta-carotene content, these root vegetables have powerful skin-damage-fighting properties. 

Salmon: The omega-3s boost the skin’s immunity to sun damage. Emerging studies show that salmon may help fight cancer.