We should still be using SPF: the best suncare to buy now

A consequence of lockdown has been a renewed appreciation for taking walks and runs, or sitting outside

Over the last several weeks, while the weather has been clear and mild, I’ve been conducting as much of my business as possible outside in our little garden.

Exercise, work and reading are ideal small-space outdoor activities, as is muttering resentfully at strange cats as they commute along the fence and throw you filthy looks, judging the novel you’re reading – it is widely known that cats only read Milton and Tolstoy. Ironically, many of us seem to be spending more time out of doors than usual. A consequence of lockdown has been a renewed appreciation for taking walks and runs, or sitting outside if you have an outdoor space.

If you are outside, you still need to be wearing an SPF. I know – it hardly seems like a priority at the moment, but Celtic skin is very vulnerable to sun, and consequently more prone to melanoma. If I must appeal to your vanity rather than your health, I’ll do it. Sun exposure without protection causes premature aging and mottled pigmentation.

Enough of it will give your skin the look and texture of that one pleather sofa in every student apartment in the country. Go outside if you can safely do so and enjoy that burgeoning sense of nature adjusting itself in readiness for summer, but wear SPF while you do it. Thankfully, there are plenty of decent suncare options. You should invest in SPF if you can – any decently sized bottle under €15 is not ideal, and protection under SPF 30 is really not doing much for fairer skins.


Skingredients Skin Shield SPF 50+++ (€42 at theskinnerd.com) is lovely – oil-free and water-resistant, it does not cause flashback in photography or clog pores, so anyone can use it.

If you prefer an SPF 30, Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense Shield SPF 30 (€59 at dermalogica.ie) is your guy. A physical SPF (like the Skingredients option) rather than a chemical sunscreen (it filters UV rays rather than absorbing them), it works beautifully with other skincare and looks great under makeup and you won't be aware of it on your skin.

Some people tend to break out no matter what sunscreen they try. If this is you (or you prefer a matte finish on your skin), try Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier SPF 45 (€40 at murad.co.uk). It won't look shiny or break down your foundation, and men tend to prefer it as its slight blurring and perfecting finish looks inconspicuous.

It's all well and good developing good suncare habits now, you may say, but what about those whose skin shows signs of sun damage from before we knew the risks? Bioderma Photoderm Spot-Age SPF 50+ Antioxidant Gel Cream (€18.50 at selected pharmacies online and nationwide) is a product specifically for those who have sun-induced pigmentation and don't want to develop more. The gel texture is hydrating and easy to wear.

If you're still running, Avene Sport Fluid SPF 50+ (€22 at selected pharmacies online and nationwide) is a sweat-proof, non-sticky SPF suitable even for very sensitive skin. Lash it on before you head out.