WHEN it comes to applying sunscreen, we can be sloppy.
Cancer Research UK has found that people are not protecting themselves properly: Around 3.7 million UK adults say they do not use SPF when outdoors.
To celebrate National Sunscreen Day last Saturday, we asked tanning fanatic Kate Wills to test five of the best supermarket deals.
Every morning, 38-year-old East London writer Kate Wills would apply a different SPF 50 sunscreen to her face and go about normal activities like working, traveling and eating.
She did not exercise, swim, sunbathe, or apply other cosmetics.
Eight hours later, skin specialist Dr. Ifeoma Ejikeme from Adonia Medical Clinic in London using a professional UV facial scanner how much protection her face still had.
“The darker the picture, the higher the sun protection factor and the protection against UV radiation,” says Dr. Ejikeme.
“Pale areas, white spots and spots indicate a lower SPF on the skin and therefore less protection.”
Here Kate gives her verdict on the individual products and evaluates them in terms of their ease of use – while Dr. Ejikeme reveals how much protection they offer.
Sainsbury’s Sun Protect Sensitive Sun Lotion SPF50+, £4.50 for 200ml
KATE SAYS: “Even though the bottle says it’s ‘absorbs easily’, it took me ages to rub it in and it left a slightly sticky sheen on my skin.
“Ingredients include green tea extract and vitamin E and while it felt moisturizing, it also made my skin feel moist. It also smelled quite strongly of chemicals.”
DR EJIKEME SAYS: “I would describe this coverage as somewhat patchy.
“In the center of the face and on the forehead you can start to see some of the underlying skin showing through, meaning there isn’t as much coverage here after hours of wear.
“But other than that, it offers pretty good protection for just one application.”
Wilko Skin Therapy Moisturizing Sun Lotion SPF50+, £4 for 200ml
KATE SAYS: “This lotion had a very thin and runny feel but was easy to massage in and had that classic sunscreen smell.
“My skin felt very smooth all day, but not sticky. It also stands out for being vegan, unlike some others that use animal-based ingredients like beeswax and collagen.”
DR EJIKEME SAYS: “Of all the SPFs we tested, this one had the least coverage at the end of the day.
“The middle face, the nose and forehead, and the middle cheeks have all lost their protection.
“If you use this sunscreen, you’ll need to reapply it more often to make sure you’re protected.”
Tesco Soleil Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+, £2.80 for 200ml
KATE SAYS: “This yellow-tinged lotion was thicker than most, but not too greasy.
“It was easily absorbed and smelled like coconuts, with a slight chemical overtone.
“If anything, it made my skin feel a little dry at the end of the day.”
DR EJIKEME SAYS: “That’s the winner for me. Here the skin is completely covered with sun protection factor even at the end of the day.
“We can tell because the entire face is dark with hardly any white spots.”
Asda Protect Sensitive Formula Sun Lotion SPF50, £3.50 for 200ml
KATE SAYS: “The thickest of all the lotions I’ve tried, it felt very sticky and sticky.
“It also smelled very chemically and left a greasy residue on my skin.
“It’s said to be designed for sensitive skin, but I felt like it clogged my pores.”
DR EJIKEME SAYS: “Adequate coverage is provided after eight hours with this sunscreen.
“However, you can see that there are lighter areas around the eyebrows and in the middle of the forehead, which means that the opacity is gradually fading here.
“But it offers quite good protection.”
Lidl Cien Sun Lotion SPF50, £3.69 for 250ml
KATE SAYS: “Like the Wilko range, this Lidl sunscreen is also vegan. It had a good consistency, was easy to massage in and my face felt smooth.
“The mild floral scent made for a surprising change and the packaging was the prettiest of all too. It would look lovely in your bathroom or on your beach towel.”
DR EJIKEME SAYS: “The coverage is good overall, but in the center of the face and around the bridge of the nose and cheeks we can see the skin’s natural pigmentation showing through.
“This shows that we do not have comprehensive protection in all areas.
“If you use this cream, you need to apply it more regularly throughout the day.”
When it comes to long-lasting coverage and a good price, you can’t beat Tesco, but my personal favorite for scent and texture was Lidl. Bring on the sun now!
How to protect your skin this summer
DR Paul Banwell, founder and former head of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit, says we need to protect ourselves from the sun at all times.
Here he advises you so that you are fully protected.
He says, “Most people apply sunscreen too thinly, and this reduces protection.”
“An adult should use about six to eight teaspoons to cover their body.
“If you’re using a spray, apply it until you get an even shine all over your skin.
“Regardless of SPF, it’s important to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out and reapply it every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.”
“A high SPF shouldn’t give you a false sense of security – it won’t protect you from sunburn.
“And a high sun protection factor doesn’t mean that you don’t have to reapply it as often.
“These sunscreens block a little more UVB rays, but they don’t offer 100 percent protection.
“I would always advise people to wear SPF year-round, no matter the weather, and recommend SPF 50+.”