Your guide to SPFs and Sunscreens - Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of SPF’s and sunscreens! For those of you that read my first blog on SPF you would have learned why you need an SPF in the first place and what rating you should be looking of in your products. In this blog we will discuss the types of ingredients you should looking for and the different types of SPF and which one is best.

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What ingredients to look for

When it comes to SPF, what should you be looking for, what ingredients actually give you SPF protection? Firstly, you need understand the three different categories of SPF and how the different ingredients fit into each one.

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Chemical Sunscreen – provides protection once UV rays hit the skin.

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Pros – strong SPF that is only activated once needed

Cons – sensitive skins can react to chemical SPF so not too much can be used, these also produce free radicals, so you need to balance your chemical SPFs with antioxidants.

Key Ingredients - Avobenzone (been around since 1970s, very popular), Octisalate (lesser known) Oxybenzone (often combined with other chemical SPFs) and Homosalate.


Physical Sunscreen – provides instant protection once applied to the skin

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Pros – Instant protection, the minute you apply it and great for sensitive skins as non-chemical. No free radicals produced.

Cons – can make a product chalky and white

Key Ingredients - Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, both naturally occurring minerals that create a physical barrier on the skin


Antioxidants – provide a natural SPF protection in high quantities

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Pros – has LOADS of other skin benefits as well as providing SPF. Fights free radicals produced by chemical SPFs.

Cons – needs to be used in very high quantities in a product to achieve an SPF rating which can make product very expensive

Key Ingredients - Vitamin E, Green Tea, Resveratrol, Niacinamide, Lycopene.


Environ are the first ever brand to use antioxidants as part of their SPF. The reason for this three-layer approach is that, as you can read above, all SPFs have their pros and cons and by combining all three, you get the benefits of all three whilst also using them in low quantities and equal percentages, avoid all the cons as well!

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Different Types of SPFs

As I mentioned briefly in part one of this blog, there are loads of different ways to get SPFs into your routine. It used to be that thick, chalky sunscreens that left a white tinge to the skin where the only way to get your sun protection, that is no longer the case. Your SPF can be contained in your

-makeup e.g. primer, concealer, foundation, setting power or tinted moisturiser. My top personal picks would be PurePressed Powder, Dream Tint and Glow Time from Jane Iredale. These three products are also all recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation because of their unrivalled ability to block up UVA and UVB rays which prevent cosmetic ageing but also skin cancer. Plus, they all are fabulous makeup, completely mineral (so healthy for your skin) and don’t clog your pores

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-skincare e.g. your moisturiser, day cream, night cream (yes you do need an SPF in your night cream if you check your phone or watch TV at night time. The blue light from the screens can cause pigmentation).

Environ Skincare And finally, your best option is a single SPF product, by that I mean something like RAD or Alpha Day Lotion from Environ or Solar Defence Booster from Dermalogica. All of these have one purpose and one only, to act as a physical, chemical and antioxidant protector for your skin. All of the above products will work to protect your skin but it’s their side interest if you like, their main focus is being a great moisturiser, foundation or night cream, not your primary SPF.

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However, if you don’t like the idea of a singular SPF product then the above will do the job. My advice…use all three! My SPF is in my skincare as my moisturiser, in my makeup as my primer and my foundation, plus I use a singular SPF product (Alpha Day Lotion). This means that if one of my SPF products doesn’t work, the other one will! Also, throughout the day (and this is more chemical and physical SPFs than your antioxidants) if you are exposing your skin to UV and not reapplying your SPF then it will burn through it eventually – but don’t worry because it’s got another layer to get through first! And then another and another SPF power house!

Wishing you happy and healthy skin from Ms. Glow X

 Ms. Glow