I am constantly asked for the magic bullet of anti-ageing. Rather than extolling the latest high-tech laser I always emphasise the benefits of regular, consistent use of sunblock from an early age. Thankfully we Irish are slowly abandoning the lobster- complexions of yesteryear in favour of decent sun protection but even those of us with the best of intentions still need to fine-tune our technique.

  1. SPF only applies to UVB rays – those responsible for sunburn and does not address the issue of skin-damaging UVA. For this you need to look for a ‘broad-spectrum’ sun cream. When you see UVA in a circle it confirms the UVA protection is at least one third of the SPF value. Alternatively some products use a star rating with 5 providing the most protection.
  2. Less is definitely not more Approximately six full teaspoons is required to cover your entire body. If in doubt put on some more
  3. There is no such thing as waterproof sunblock. Even if water resistant it needs to be reapplied after approximately 40 minutes in the pool.
  4. Sunscreen is not just for sunny days UVA rays can penetrate thick clouds and even glass.
  5. Sunscreen is not the only defence Slip on a T-Shirt, Slap on a hat, pop on some sunglasses. Avoid the sun during the most intesne hours
  6. Once a day is not enough In the sun SPF is good for a maximum of two hours.
  7. Expiry dates do matter Active ingredient3s detriorate over time so sunblock should be replaced at least once a year. 
  8. Multitasking products arent always the answer. Facial moisturiser with SPF is fine for small amounts of sun exposure but they tend to be less rub and water resitsant than sunblock. So for anything longer eg lunch break outside a dedicated sunblock is better.


As for my own recommendation. I have a classic Celtic complexion (pale, sensitive) and have always reacted suspiciously to sunlight like a particularly recalcitrant Vampire. I absolutely adore Heliocare 360 facial sunblock. It does not block pores, provides broad spectrum Factor 50 and is non-comedogenic (doesnt block pores). I practically cried when I discovered this product after years of oily T-zones, break-outs and white mask effects!!!


And finally, my mantra…

Apply, reapply and reapply!