Friday 31 July 2015

Packing for Spain – The SPF Edit

I’m off to Denia on Sunday morning for my annual August getaway for a dose or two of its sun, sea and sangria. Actually, scrap the last one - I’m not keen on that typically Spanish alcoholic beverage (I’m not overly fond of alcohol full stop, although I do enjoy the occasional glass of wine).

Packing for a holiday has never been my strong point. I want to throw everything from my wardrobe, shoe caddy, skincare and makeup stashes into my suitcase - if I don’t I’ll worry that there'll be something from among them that I desperately need when I get there, but haven’t packed!

In reality, of course, I do have to be selective – it doesn’t take much to reach a 23Kg hold luggage allowance when you’re packing heavy skincare and toiletries. But there is one category of Summer holiday essentials that I will never scrimp on – SPF products!

Sun exposure is the biggest cause of premature skin ageing. And the sun in Spain in August is searing (usually) and I have a few times returned home with some sun damage, despite best efforts to protect myself.

But this year, with a recent history of melasma (pigmentation triggered by sun exposure), I can’t afford to take any risks, and so I’m taking an even greater ‘belts and braces’ approach to sun safety. Not only does my stash this year include sunscreen skincare, it also features wearable SPF and sun protection food supplements!

Here’s my edit:

Wallaroo Napa Hat – UPF50

Much to the despair of my derm, I have always eschewed wearing a wide brimmed hat in favour of baseball caps. I prefer the sporty look of the latter but I know they DO NOT provide the face with adequate protection.

After last Summer’s melasma ‘hiccup’, I’m taking no chances this time. And so I’ve bitten the bullet and bought this wide-brimmed one with a wearable SPF. It’s made of 100% raffia, has cotton lining, is adjustable and is woven in such a way that it protects the face superbly – it’s UPF50+ rated. I also think it’s super stylish! £24.61 from UV-Fashions here.

M&S Sun Smart UV Detecting Wristbands

These came free with the purchase of two or more products from M&S’s Sun Smart range (see below). They are wristbands that measure the amount of sun we are being exposed to. There are five bands per pack. These don’t seem to be available any more at M&S (sold out, I imagine) but you can buy similar from Amazon here (£4.99 for five bands).

M&S Sun Smart Sun Stick SPF50 and Sun Smart Sensitive SPF50 Lotion

Another purchase to protect my kids’ skin from the sun – a broad spectrum sun stick and sunscreen lotion both with a high SPF. Neither of my kids have sensitive skin but I prefer them to use gentle formulations. From £2.50 (the range is currently at half-price) here.

Heliocare Fernblock Oral Capsules & Elite Sunscreen 30SPF

Two products I picked up from my consultant dermatologist. The first is a food supplement. Heliocare contains plant extracts with antioxidant properties that are said to boost our skin’s own natural defence against UV damage. It’s impossible to know how effective they are, but there is some evidence to suggest so. £20.70 for 60 capsules here.

The sun protecting ingredient in this Elite Sunscreen is Zinc Oxide, a physical block that works like a mirror, ie it bounces UVA/UVB rays off the surface of our skin. It is also super thick so will provide good coverage – I recommend you look for a similar consistency if also prone to developing pigmentation. This particular product is available directly from selective UK derms only.   

BareMinerals SPF30 Natural Sunscreen and Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB SPF30

After applying the Elite sunscreen I follow with Ginvera’s Green Tea Nude Cover BB SPF 30. I do this partly as a safety net in case I’ve missed any areas of my face (NOTE: applying two 30SPFs will NOT double the SPF value) and also it gives my face some much needed colour – the downside of a physical sunblock is its chalky whiteness which can leave you looking like a ghost! £24.95 for 40ml here.

The BareMinerals powder I use to top-up my sun protection during the day, although I wouldn’t rely on it to boost it to a safe level - we should be re-applying sunscreen in full every two hours! This powder is available in three shades and costs £25 for 3g at Feelunique here.

Are you off on hols shortly? What are your Summer getaway essentials? 


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