Belfast Telegraph

Sun factor: 5 top tips for picking the right SPF

Paddy McGurgan is one of NI's best-known beauty experts and every week he tells you everything you need to know about the latest make-up techniques

By Paddy McGurgan

I recently did a poll on social media to find out which aspect of make-up people find the most confusing. The resounding reply was, do I need SPF?

Before I delve into this, what exactly is SPF, or sun protection factor? It measures protection from UVB and UVA rays, the kind of radiation that can cause sunburn, damage skin and, in more severe cases, lead to skin cancer.

A recent study measured exactly how much protection you can achieve with your SPF. It found that SPF15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF50 blocks 98% of UVB rays.

As we approach warmer weather and the thought of sunshine, it really is so important to add SPF into your beauty routine.

Sun damage is not only bad for your health but increases the signs of ageing and creates wrinkles, fine lines, sunspots and discolouration in the skin.

Here are a few products which add SPF into your make-up bag, with little to no hassle.

The first SPF-rich product I always carry in my kit is the Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Protect Lotion SPF30 (£15). Vitamin C is such an important nutrient. We all need it for regeneration of cells and to add brightness and hydration to the skin.

This moisturiser is for anyone with dull or tired skin, and has a UVA and UVB protection of SPF30. It is a very nourishing product. It is not thick or emollient and it melts seamlessly into the skin.

This is perfect for me when I am applying a quick moisturiser on a client and want to apply make-up straight after because thick creams often deter and prolong the application of make-up afterwards.

One of the easiest ways to add SPF to your beauty routine is to incorporate it into your foundation. There are so many different types of SPF-rich foundations, but one of my favourites is the Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow Nourishing Fusion SPF30 (£40). It enhances the complexion with a fresh radiance thanks to a surprisingly light texture coupled with a perfecting buildable coverage.

Maestro Glow contains no water and instead the formula has a high concentration of oils in a formula which leaves skin feeling comfortable all day, without having an oily effect on the skin.

A lightweight alternative to a foundation is a BB cream, which adds minimal coverage and maximum hydration to the skin. My all-time favourite BB cream is from a skincare range called Embryolisse (£26). It is a complexion embellisher that blurs pores and fine lines, and conceals imperfections with its mattifying, light-reflecting mineral powders and colour-changing pigments.

A potent moisturiser thanks to its hyaluronic acid, it plumps and smooths your skin, and is also a protective treatment against free radicals and UV rays that effectively combats ageing.

Long gone are the days when SPF could only be contained in your foundation or moisturiser. BareMinerals has now created an SPF15 cream eyeshadow (BB 5-in-1 Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow, £19). This is a glide-on creamy colour that lasts up to 12 hours. The mineral pigments blend on effortlessly for seamless coverage and rich, full-bodied colour that flatters all complexions.

Next up, one part of any beauty routine that can often be forgotten about is the lips. A range of SPF-infused lip products is available, such as Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm (£3.99, Boots). This gives intense care and eight-hour hydration, and is nourishing for baby soft lips. Its clinically tested formula has SPF 20 to leave lips feeling soft, conditioned and cared for.

My top tips for picking the right SPF:

1. Tailor product to your skin type and tone.

2. Do not overprotect. Studies show that 15 minutes per day of direct sunlight is needed for Vitamin D renewal in the skin and body.

3. Read the label. It is important to opt for as few chemicals as possible.

4. One chemical to avoid is titanium dioxide. It is effective at blocking the sun's rays, but it can be harmful if absorbed by the skin.

4. The sun is always out. Even though you may not lounging by the pool in Marbella, the sun is always present so keep your SPF on.

5. Cover all exposed skin. It is a general rule that you should fill a shot glass with the amount of SPF product you are using, especially lotions, moisturisers and foundations.

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