For many, SPF 50 sunscreens are almost a given in our humid, sun-filled climate. Theres’s another camp however that rely strictly on the SPF in their make-up to keep them protected. If that’s you, we’re sorry to burst your bubble, but the sunscreen in your make-up alone does not have you covered. Dermatologist and sensitive skincare expert, Dr Hiva Fassihi says you’d need to apply “four to six times as much to achieve the SPF, and this would be cosmetically unacceptable.”
And while it’s been liberating to go barefaced while working and studying from home of late, diligent use of a broad spectrum SPF sunscreen should never be neglected. After all, UVA rays, responsible for skin ageing, is able to penetrate glass. What are UVA rays again? While UVA rays may not cause sunburn, they can result in long-term damage to the skin with melanomas, ageing, pigmentation, sun sensitivity and the aggravation of oily and acne-prone skin are all symptoms of exposure to UVA rays. To protect your skin against these UVA rays which are present year round, Dr Fassihi recommends wearing “sun protection daily as part of your skincare routine, regardless of how sunny it appears outside.”
UVB rays, on the other hand, are the primary burn rays that can also contribute to skin cancer. Enter a broad-spectrum sunscreen to save yourself from the threat of skin cancers such as potentially deadly melanomas,.
Supergoop’s director of product development, Sofia Gracia says, “for daily protection, the minimum recommended SPF level is SPF 30.” Anything below SPF 30, including SPF 15, won’t be enough to shield you from the sun’s UVB rays, and anything above SPF 50 lulls us into a false sense of all-day protection. “Since no SPF lasts all day, we always encourage everyone to reapply their SPF every two hours,” says Gracia. So whether you’re FaceTiming from your home office, doing yoga on your balcony, or popping out for a quick coffee, generous application of sunscreen is a must.
P.S., don’t forget your ears, décolletage, and hands.
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La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+ PA++++
Your days of cakey, sticky sunscreens sweltering in our tropical heat are over. Ticking all the right boxes, the Anthelios Invisible Fluid sunscreen from La Roche-Posay boasts broad and photostable UVA and UVB protection while being the lightest, most friction resistant, least greasy and invisible in finish. It is fragrance- and paraben-free, and non-comedogenic making it perfect for the most sensitised skins. It offers the highest UVA protection (to safeguard against signs of ageing) and intelligent polymers in Intelimer Technology, which claim to form an even layer of sun protection on skin that doesn’t budge even as you rub your skin, jog around the park or do laps in the pool.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+ PA++++, $46.90 for 50ml; available at La Roche-Posay
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Shiseido Global Suncare The Perfect Protector SPF 50+ PA++++
The best water-resistant sunscreen for outdoor play. This lightweight protective sunscreen glides on—offering sun coverage for both face and body, even during swims and extreme outdoor sweat sessions thanks to its unique WetForce and HeatForce technology. The Protector incorporates more than 50 per cent of skincare formula ingredients to prevent skin dryness and oxidation, while suppressing visible signs of UV damage such as wrinkles, dark spots and dullness. It’s not a one-hit wonder though: reapplication is highly recommended immediately after towel drying. And if you’re of a deeper, darker skin tone, Shiseido have you covered.
Shiseido Global Suncare The Perfect Protector SPF 50+ PA++++, $65 for 50ml; available at Shiseido
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YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender SPF 50+ PA++++
If you’re a sunscreen that doesn’t suffocate your skin, look no further than the Airthin UV Defender. Urban life may have its plusses, but no-one is immune to harmful UV rays, pollution, and dust which speed up the signs of ageing, including pronounced wrinkles, skin texture, and pigmentation. This oil-free sunscreen is boosted with 100 per cent pure niacinamide, which reportedly strengthens skin barrier against aggressors like UV rays and pollution, while the vitamin C-rich, hand-harvested citrus peel from Morocco detoxifies and shields the skin against oxidative stress.
YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender SPF 50+ PA++++, $92 for 30ml; available at YSL
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Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Base Makeup SPF 50+ PA+++
Rediscover your skin, but better with this multi-tasking primer, sunscreen, and cushion compact-in-one. Whether you’re after a pore perfecting primer or an even, glowy, veil in place of foundation for off-duty days, this high-protection formula boosted with Beauty Tone-Up Pearl technology not only offers a smooth, radiant finish but one that resists sebum and neutralises odour from sweat into a fresh citrus scent. It contains hyaluronic acid, collagen, and Shiseido’s Kyoto Uji green tea leaf and yellow flower extracts, which help prevent photoageing. Available in three shades (we wish there were deeper tones!), it comes in a handy cushion compact for quick touch-ups. We wear ours over Anessa’s Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk SPF 50+ PA++++, where UV protection claims to become stronger when exposed to sweat, water, and heat—perfect for our tropical climate. Certified: swelter-proof.
Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Base Makeup SPF 50+ PA+++, $49.90 for 10g; available at Watson’s
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Orbis Wrinkle White UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++
Beyond being an SPF 50, this sunscreen offers wrinkle, pigmentation and moisture care in one easy-use, non-sticky formula. It shields the skin against UVA/UVB rays and provides long-wearing protection with AT Protection Technology that seals wrinkles and laugh lines while promoting collagen production, according to Orbis. Importantly, if you’re concerned with UV-induced hyperpigmentation, this sunscreen contains W-Niacin and other brightening ingredients to prevent the production of melanin build-up for a brighter skin tone.
Orbis Wrinkle White UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++, $56 for 50g, available at Orbis
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Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
At last, a sunscreen for all skin tones and types, that’s at once invisible, scentless, weightless, broad-spectrum and velvety (read: not chalky or white-cast) in finish. This new reef-safe formula contains blue-light absorbing red algae to shield the skin from blue light typically emitted from electronic devices such as your phone or laptop. Supergoop! also added Meadowfoam Seed Oil, which reportedly boosts hydration levels without the greasy finish, and anti-inflammatory frankincense extract which helps to desensitise the skin against UV radiation.
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, $52 for 50ml, available at Sephora
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Skin Inc Serum UV Moisturizer SPF 50+ PA+++, $72 for 35ml
Is it a moisturiser? Is it a sunscreen? Is it shield against damaging blue light? Why not have the best of both worlds with Skin Inc’s milky, ultra-fluid skin protector that renders thick and gluggy sunscreens a thing of the past. In a season where we’ve had to ruthlessly edit out heavy creams that give rise to clogged pores and maskne, this breath of fresh air for your skin is infused with vitamin B3 to control skin sebum, vitamin E which aims to prevent UV-induced DNA damage, licorice extract and adenosine for skin-soothing properties, and cica extract to reduce the signs of ageing while improving the skin’s barrier. And to further cover all bases: this synergistic blend also contains a slew of physical and chemical sunscreen agents. The physical sunscreen factors form a protective layer over the skin’s surface to reflect and scatter UV rays while chemical sun filters absorb UV rays, reportedly deactivating them before they can do damage to the skin.
Skin Inc Serum UV Moisturizer SPF 50+ PA+++, $72 for 35ml; available at Skin Inc
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Sigi Skin Morning Glow Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++
A watery and hydrating 100% physical sunscreen that helps to prevent premature ageing by protecting the skin from UVA and UVB rays, as well as environmental aggressors. It is formulated with vitamin E-enriched avocado extracts, açai extracts to counteract the effects of infrared rays and 4 per cent niacinamide to moisturise, brighten and strengthen even sensitive skin types. We love it for its blendability and even doubles up as a lightweight moisturiser for normal, combination and oily skin types.
Sigi Morning Glow Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++, $58 for 50ml; available at Sigi Skin
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Sulwhasoo UV Wise Brightening Multi Protector in Milky Tone Up
Designed to shield the skin against harmful environmental factors like UV rays, pollution particles and blue light, Sulwhasoo’s UV Wise Brightening Multi Protector’s new formula is enriched with Plantia Protecting Complex™, a potent combination of Mulberry bark and fruit, white Ginseng polysaccharides, smoked Mume fruit and Baikal Skullcap to guard the skin against a loss of vitality, barrier function damage, irritation, pigmentation and dryness. Its creamy nature and slight pink tint is especially comforting to dry or mature skin types and doubles up as a make-up base for a brighter complexion with a soft matte finish.
Sulwhasoo UV Wise Brightening Multi Protector in Milky Tone Up, $106 for 30ml; available at Tangs
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Two Lips Screen Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++
What does this sunscreen have over every other SPF out on the market today? Its prebiotic formula that merges the power of skincare and sun protection. Aside from being a water-based SPF 50 sunscreen that can be used on both face and bikini area, it contains skin-smoothing, pore-minimising niacinamide, hydrating hyaluronic acid and its own prebiotic formula to feed and nourish your skin’s microbiome (a core USP for Two Lips) as it shields you from damaging UVA and UVB rays.
Two Lips Screen Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++, $70 for 50ml; available at Two Lips
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Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
This everyday sun protector with high SPF applies evenly thanks to a water-based gel texture that offers a soft, fresh matte finish sans the greasy feel of generic high SPF sunscreens. Great for sensitive skin types or for those who are after a vegan organic sunscreen that is free of zinc oxide and titanium oxide, this Guardian best-seller that contains moisturising Sea Buckthorn Oil, brightening niacinamide, antioxidant-rich tocopherols and ingredients to help soothe skin irritation, might do the trick. Of a tanned or deeper skin tone and worried about sunscreens that make you look ashy? Here’s why Klairs is a great purse-friendly option for you too.
Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50+ PA++++, $30.90 for 80ml, available at Guardian
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Allie Extra UV Protector Facial Gel N SPF50+ PA++++
Why would a friction-proof sunscreen formula matter more than ever in 2020? Allie’s new and improved gel sunscreen offers long-lasting protection that’s more also resistant to rubbing and friction—which is just the thing we need under masks in this age of Covid-19. This lightweight, hyaluronic acid-infused sunscreen is fragrance-free, making it a win for even sensitive skin types.
Allie Extra UV Protector Facial Gel N SPF50+ PA++++, $29.90 for 60g, available at Lazada