SPF | Your Questions Answered

SPF | Your Questions Answered

06 April 2021

We have long heard of the importance of SPF in protecting our skin, but what is it and why do we need it?

As Summer approaches and we begin to tentatively take the first steps from our Winter hibernation, it’s time to shake up our skincare regimes and to make sure the products we’re using will protect our skin from the sun and its harmful rays. To demystify and debunk the jargon around SPF, we have enlisted the help of our Skin Expert, Zoe to answer your most commonly asked questions.

Why do we need to use a broad-spectrum SPF daily in our skin routine?

Did you know that 90% of skin aging comes from the UV rays of the sun? Exposure to the sun causes premature skin aging. The sun contains powerful UVA (responsible for ageing) and UVB (responsible for skin burning) rays that reach deep into our skin and start to break down our cell processes, meaning our skin begins to change and age rapidly. These rays are around all day, all year round, regardless of the weather outside, so do not be fooled by the rain or the cloud. The Sun’s rays penetrate through all elements to reach the earth’s surface, therefore reaching us. By protecting our skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, your skin will receive protection from both the UVA and UVB rays, allowing it to function properly and also ensuring those lovely products that we apply everyday are getting the optimum chance within the skin as they do not get broken down by the UV rays.

Is SPF in makeup enough?

SPF that is within our makeup, is a bonus to us, but alone, it is not enough!

The beauty industry is overflowing with products such as foundations and primers that contain SPF, however they really are not enough to protect the skin from damage. Something important to know and remember is that the term ‘SPF’ only refers to protection from UVB rays, we know that the SPF within makeup will help to protect us against burning, yes! However, there is no UVA protection present from the makeup. UVA rays are our ageing rays and they reach into the deeper layers of the skin where our cell function is. If we alter or damage our skin cell function, we are going to end up with poorly performing skin.

What is the difference in mineral and chemical SPF?

A chemical sunscreen acts like a sponge, absorbing the rays, which can sometimes be a little too much for a sensitive skin as it can tend to heat the skin up slightly. Whereas, a mineral sunscreen reflects the sun’s rays away from the skin.

Can my laptop and other electronic devices damage my skin?

Another important point to take into consideration are the infra-red rays that our skin is exposed to daily. We don’t usually think about these, but at the end of the day, this is still light on the skin.  Infra-red light actually reaches deeper into the skin than UV rays. Like UVA rays, it also reaches down into the dermal layer of the skin where wrinkles are formed and causes extensive collagen and elastin breakdown.  These harmful rays come from all our electronic devices, such as laptops and phones.

Zoe’s favourite Broad Spectrum SPF

My favourite SPF to use is the Ultra Facial Defence SPF 50, by SkinCeuticals. This product protects against UVA and UVB rays in an ultra-light lotion, which is moisturising to the skin and easily absorbed.

What is an antioxidant and why do I need one?

SPF may help fight the effects of the sun’s rays, however and SPF won’t fight off other aggressors of the environment around us. An antioxidant is the ultimate protecting from free radicals and environmental stress. Our bodies naturally produce free radicals, but they can also come from exposure to environmental factors like UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke and other chemicals. With the use of an antioxidant in our skincare routine we can fight the effects of free radical damage and oxidative stress.

If you’ve ever seen a sliced apple turn brown, you’ve witnessed the process of oxidation, which is caused by free radicals. Imagine what is happening inside our skin, this is why it is important to use an antioxidant to fight this oxidisation.

How often and when do I use one an antioxidant?

You should use your antioxidant every morning. We do not need to use on at night time as we are usually pressing pause on our day, resting in bed where we are not surrounded my environmental aggressors.

Apply in the morning, after your cleansing routine, before you apply any other serums, moisturisers and SPF.

Zoe’s favourite antioxidant

Vitamin C is one of the most studied antioxidants in the industry. Dr Sheldon Pinnell, the founder of SkinCeuticals devoted 10 years of his dermatology research into the effects and benefits that Vitamin C has on the skin. This is why all of SkinCeuticals antioxidants do contain Vitamin C. It not only has the ability to fade dark spots, boost collagen and elastin production in the skin, but it also helps to boost the levels of Vitamin E within our skin. Overtime, with sun exposure the Vitamin E in our skin depletes, however application of Vitamin C can help to replenish the Vitamin E that has been lost, therefore leading to a brighter, moisturised skin.

My ultimate favourite is our C E Ferulic, by SkinCeuticals. This is pretty perfect for most skin types, but especially those who are concerned with aging. Not only are you getting the environmental protection, you are getting the extra moisture levels and firming from the Vitamin E and C present, you are also getting the anti-inflammatory effect on a sensitive or reactive skin from the ferulic acid in this antioxidant. It leaves your skin absolutely glowing from inside out!


Zoe's pick of skincare saviours can be purchased online at

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