Get the lowdown on SPF and discover your new fave

Using a sunscreen over the New Zealand summer is a no-brainer. But to prevent premature ageing caused by the Kiwi sun’s powerful UV rays, an SPF product needs to be worn all year round. But how do you choose the best one for you, and what do the terms mean?

Without coming on all grim reaper, the stats around skin cancer in New Zealand’s make for sobering reading, with health experts estimating that our incidence of skin cancer is around 1,300 Kiwis per week. That’s four times the rate of other cancers and tots up to 67,000 new cancers annually. Yikes!

What is SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and it is the way we quantify the duration of how long a particular sunscreen, concealer, BB cream, moisturiser or foundation will protect you from ultraviolet (UV) B rays.

UVB rays is the radiation from the sun that is responsible for us going red or burning from damage caused by the sun to the skin’s epidermis outer-layers. This is where the most common of all skin cancers occur.

The SPF value more-or-less translates to how long you can stay in the sun wearing sunscreen protection compared to wearing no sunscreen at all. So SPF50, for example, means it would take 50 times longer for you to burn in the sun than if you were wearing no sunscreen. So the higher the SPF, the longer the protection time.

Put another way, wearing an SPF30 means around 3 percent of UVB rays will reach your skin, whereas an SPF50 lets in only about 2 percent of those rays. So an SPF30 lets in about 50% more UVB rays than an SPF50.

What is Broad Spectrum?

SPF is not an indication of your protection from UVA rays, which are also damaging and can contribute to skin cancer formation. But “Broad Spectrum” on the label is.

So the ideal combination of protection is a Broad Spectrum SPF.

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, the expert recommendation is to always wear a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above. And for everyday wear, walking to work or hanging out the washing, look out for SPF in moisturisers, foundations and BB creams so you know you’re always protected.

The great news is the power is in your hands - literally! Just by regularly using any of these 6 SPF products you’re making the best anti-ageing decision for your skin!



1. Shiseido UV Lip Color Splash SPF42

Nothing says summer like this gorgeous, cheeky splash of protection for lips with Shiseido UV Lip Color Splash ($36). The high level SPF42 means your precious pout will be protected every day of the year, whether you’re brunching with friends, walking the dog or popping out for a run. It comes in cute summer sensation colour pops -  Nairobi Orange, Miami Pink, Uluru Read and Tahiti Blue. Ideal worn under your favourite lip colour, and creates perfectly kissable lips worn alone.


2.   Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF50 Hydrating Shield

 Girl gals listen up, because Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum by Elizabeth Arden ($115) is made for you! Whether you’re jumping in and out of Ubers getting to your next meeting, or heading away on a weekend roadie, the essential daily formula of this Broad Spectrum SPF50 will keep your skin hydrated, protected and supple all year round. We love how it’s also Anti-Pollution!



3.   Revlon Colorstay Prep & Protect Primer Broad Spectrum SPF25

If you’re yet to discover primer, it’s time to get on board. Not only does primer make your makeup last longer through the day and into the night, but like this Revlon Colorstay Prep & Protect Primer Broad Spectrum SPF25 ($32) it delivers the power of Broad Spectrum SPF25. This is the ideal spring solution to nourish skin while protecting from UV as you go about your day.



4.   Clinique SPF50 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Face

The Clinique SPF50 Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Face ($54) is perfect for everyday wear. Plus, this ultra-lightweight, 100% mineral sunscreen is ideal for sensitive skins. This Clinique formulation is also gentle enough to apply lightly around the eye area. And Clinique’s patented Invisible Shield Technology forms a protective barrier that's virtually invisible on all skin tones.



5.   Lancôme Under Eye Concealer Effacernes Beige Ambre SPF30

 If you’re looking for an under-eye concealer that offers SPF protection then you’ve found it in the Lancôme Effacernes Beige Ambre SPF30 ($61). Just a small application results in a subtle, natural, velvety finish with a hydration boost that minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes




6. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Comfort BB SPF50+

Summer is the ideal time to ditch the foundation and replace it with this ultimate complexion unifier, La Roche-Posay Uvidea XL BB Cream SPF50+ ($36.99). This lightweight, tinted full coverage BB cream deeply hydrates all skin types, especially sensitive skin, and helps prevent pigmentation caused by UV rays. It evens skin tone, and makes blemishes

and wrinkles fade into the background so your natural radiance shines. And of course, with SPF50+ is perfect protection from the sun’s radiation.

Whatever you do this spring and summer, protect your skin with SPF.