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Unless you've been living under a (hopefully shady) rock, you'll know that wearing one of the best sunscreens for face is the most important part of your skincare routine.
There are two types of UV rays that come from the sun: UVA (think A for ageing) and UVB (think B for burning). UVA rays are present all year round and can sneak their way into the skin through glass and clouds. They speed up the signs of ageing and leave us with fine lines and sunspots. UVB rays are at their strongest in the summer and are the rays that burn our skin. Both types of UV can contribute towards skin cancer. "It's imperative that we protect against UVA and UVB," says Dr Angela Tewari, consultant dermatologist at GetHarley. When you're looking at a bottle of sunscreen, SPF shows how much UVB protection you're getting, and the words "broad spectrum" and "PA+" indicate the level of UVA protection.
To protect your skin, like the best body sunscreens, you can either use a mineral or a chemical sunscreen. Mineral ones reflect the sun's rays and are best suited to certain skin types. "For acne and sensitive skin, opt for mineral sunscreens which are less likely to cause irritation and clog pores," advises Dr Zainab Laftah, also a consultant dermatologist at Get Harley. The downside of mineral sunscreens is that they tend to be quite thick, and can leave a chalky finish on deeper skin tones. Chemical sunscreens work by taking the sun's rays and converting them into small amounts of heat. They're nice and lightweight and work on all skin tones.
Whichever type you choose, a high factor is key to proper protection. There's not a huge amount of difference between SPF30 and SPF50, but choosing the higher number gives you a bit of a margin for error with it comes to application. When it comes to face sunscreens, SPF in your moisturiser and foundation is nice to have but isn't going to shade your skin like a proper sunscreen. "Often we don't apply enough of our moisturiser or makeup to get full UV protection, and therefore it is best to apply a separate sunscreen," says Dr Zaniab. Think of these as added extras – a side dish to your SPF main course.
Remember, sunscreen isn't just for the summer, and you should be wearing it all year round. Luckily, the latest formulas have had a serious glow-up from the paint-like, eye-stinging sunscreens your parents used to slather you in as a kid, and they'll actually enhance your skin and makeup instead of turning it into a greasy slip-and-slide. Read ahead for our best face sunscreens.