You are probably using the wrong type. Sun creams either use chemical filters which act like a sponge absorbing UVA and UVB rays or they use physical filters, also called mineral filters, which work like a mirror deflecting rays off the surface of the skin. They both offer the same protection Sensitive and allergy prone skin should stick to mineral filters using ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are non irritating. Also look for fragrance free products – try Neostrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF50 £31 (www.effortleskin.com) or Clinique Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Body SPF 30 £25 from most department stores.
I get confused about all the different SPF numbers on a sunscreen?
As a general rule, the higher the number the more protection a cream offers. The number actually relate to the length of time you can stay in the sun without burning and how much protection the product will give you. For instance an SPF25 will reduce the burning effect of the sun on your skin by 25 times – so if you spend 25 minutes in the sun, it would be equivalent to just one minute without sun protection – but in real life sunscreens aren’t always as effective as you think especially if you are swimming, perspiring or rubbing your skin with a towel.
What’s the highest SPF I should use?
No sunscreen can block out 100 per cent of UV rays. An SPF50 is as high as you need to go, in fact SPF50 does not offer that much more protection that an SPF30, – an SPF 50 blocks 99 per cent of the rays while an SPF30 blocks 97 per cent.