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Why sunscreens are my skin's best friend: Top tips & recommendations from a sunburnt victim

·Lifestyle Editor
·5-min read
Suncare is important for both adults and children. PHOTO: Getty Images
Suncare is important for both adults and children. PHOTO: Getty Images

The nineties was a very different time from now. Contrary to the obsession for fairer skin in the past two decades, tans and tan lines were de rigueur then. And I, as an impressionable kid, was made fun of for being so fair that I look "transparent like a ghost". I kid you not; classic classroom bullying led me to seek a darker skin tone even though I was barely eight.

And no thanks to my fair genes (thanks, mum!), I remember two bouts of painful sunburn episodes growing up. One was when my parents brought us to the beach. I probably had a field day, playing in the waters and picnicking with the extended family. But what I remembered more was the pain and skin peeling that followed. When school started the next day, I used tissue paper to shield my face while the teachers conducted their classes. If only I had access to face masks then!

Being tanned was still very ‘in’ when the 17-year-old me attended a three-day canoeing course. Well, it appears I never learnt from the previous episode. True to my adventurous spirit, I scoffed at the seniors who wore long-sleeves, wide-brimmed fishermen hats and long pants. I also bravely declined well-meaning friends who wanted to share their sunscreen with me. And when the day was up, after a good eight hours out in the rocky seas, I was heartbroken when I came down with a high fever and could not complete the course.

The blisters on my body were much larger than these! (PHOTO: Getty Images)
The blisters on my body were much larger than these! (PHOTO: Getty Images)

That fever made me stay in bed running a high fever for the next two weeks. Plus, the exposed parts of my body – and the arms, back, thighs developed into large areas of blisters! It took months for the blisters to subside and the new skin to reveal itself. After recovery, I had to live with the newfound moles and pigmentation on the sunburnt areas of my body. It was then that I became a fervent advocate of the beloved sunscreen. And thus began my love affair with sunscreen.

Suncare on iHerb

Sunscreen from Sephora

Suncare on LookFantastic

You may think that skipping sunscreen on a cloudy or rainy day is no big deal. I have no intention of coercing you into taking better care of your skin with statistics on skin cancer. However, if my personal story has inspired you to do so, do take note of the following five suncare pointers:

1. Never skimp on suncare: Even on cloudy days, and when you are indoors

UV rays are present throughout the day and can penetrate through the clouds and windows. That’s one reason why drivers tend to find one side of their arm and face darker than the other. The same for those who work beside a clear window. Be it a sunny or rainy day; suncare should be part of our skincare routine, applied after your moisturiser and before your make-up. Most sunscreens also perform the double function as a make-up base.

2. Give sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes to start working

Doing so allows the active ingredients to absorb into the skin and work from within.

3. Layer up rather than mixing sunscreen with skincare

Mixing your skincare with sunscreen may dilute the active ingredients and lower the efficacy of both products. It is better to apply them in layers.

4. As with skincare, sunscreen has an expiry date

Active ingredients can break down over time. Using sunscreens past the expiry date means you are leaving the skin unprotected.

5. Always remove sunscreen with makeup remover

A clean face provides the foundation for good skin. Because the active ingredients in sunscreen are oil-soluble (hence the sweatproof and water-resistant properties), we need to give our skin a proper cleansing at the end of the day with a makeup remover. As with leftover makeup, sunscreen residue can bring about clogged pores.

Here’s a list of quality sunscreens for both adults and kids from iHerb, Sephora and LookFantastic that I have personally tried and love, or are on my to-try list. Stay protected right now!

[New & Exclusive to Sephora] Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+, 50ml

Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+, 50ml. PHOTO: Sephora
Ultra Violette Queen Screen Luminising Sun Serum SPF 50+, 50ml. PHOTO: Sephora

[New & Exclusive to Sephora] Ultra Violette Extreme Screen Hydrating Body & Hand Skinscreen SPF 50+

Ultra Violette Extreme Screen Hydrating Body & Hand Skinscreen SPF 50+. PHOTO: Sephora
Ultra Violette Extreme Screen Hydrating Body & Hand Skinscreen SPF 50+. PHOTO: Sephora

Hailing from Australia, the new Ultra Violette sunscreen range also includes Ultra Violette Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF 50+ (for normal to dry skin), Ultra Violette Lean Screen Mineral Mattifying SPF 50+ (for all skin types), and Ultra Violette Clean Screen Sensitive Skinscreen SPF30 (for sensitive skin).

[Sephora exclusive] Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++

Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++. PHOTO: Sephora
Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 PA +++. PHOTO: Sephora

Anessa On-the-Go Duo (Milk/Spray)

Anessa On-the-Go Duo (Milk/Spray). PHOTO: Lazada
Anessa On-the-Go Duo (Milk/Spray). PHOTO: Lazada

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SFP50+ 50ml

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SFP50+ 50ml. PHOTO: Lazada
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SFP50+ 50ml. PHOTO: Lazada

CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 & Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 & Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50. PHOTO: Lazada
CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 & Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50. PHOTO: Lazada

PIXI Sun Mist

PHOTO: LookFantastic. PIXI Sun Mist
PHOTO: LookFantastic. PIXI Sun Mist

The INKEY List SPF30 Sunscreen 100% Mineral UV Filters, 50ml

PHOTO: LookFantastic. The INKEY List SPF30 Sunscreen 100% Mineral UV Filters, 50ml
PHOTO: LookFantastic. The INKEY List SPF30 Sunscreen 100% Mineral UV Filters, 50ml

Ultrasun Tinted Anti-Pigmentation SPF50+ Face Lotion, 50ml

PHOTO: LookFantastic. Ultrasun Tinted Anti-Pigmentation SPF50+ Face Lotion, 50ml
PHOTO: LookFantastic. Ultrasun Tinted Anti-Pigmentation SPF50+ Face Lotion, 50ml

Aveeno, Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 88ml

PHOTO: iHerb. Aveeno, Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 88ml
PHOTO: iHerb. Aveeno, Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 88ml

Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50, 88ml

Lotion for Children's Sensitive Skin, Tear-Free, Sweat-Resistant & Water-Resistant, Non-Greasy

Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50, 88ml. PHOTO: Lazada
Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50, 88ml. PHOTO: Lazada

Think, Thinkbaby, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 177ml

PHOTO: iHerb. Think, Thinkbaby, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 177ml
PHOTO: iHerb. Think, Thinkbaby, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 177ml

[Sephora Exclusive] Supergoop! 100% Mineral CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA+++, 47ml

PHOTO: Sephora. Supergoop! 100% Mineral CC Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++, 47ml
PHOTO: Sephora. Supergoop! 100% Mineral CC Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++, 47ml

[Sephora Exclusive] Every Single Face SPR-Shield watery lotion SPF 50+++

Every Single Face SPR-Shield watery lotion SPF 50+++. PHOTO: Sephora
Every Single Face SPR-Shield watery lotion SPF 50+++. PHOTO: Sephora

Don't forget to protect your lips too!

[New & Exclusive to Sephora] Ultra Violette Sheen Screen Hydrating Lip Balm SPF 50

Ultra Violette Sheen Screen Hydrating Lip Balm SPF 50. PHOTO: Sephora
Ultra Violette Sheen Screen Hydrating Lip Balm SPF 50. PHOTO: Sephora

READ: Japan’s top-selling sunscreen d program shields, neutralises and is mask-friendly too

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