SPF for dummies – Part 2

‘SPF not as simple as it first seems. There is physical and chemical SPF. This is another thing that has confused people. Generally, most people are using chemical SPF. Physical SPF as it sounds, creates a physical barrier – you can actually see it. These are the thick, chalky products. Think skiers that apply it down the nose. Children are another example when you see children smothered in the white stuff. This is your physical SPF. It is basically not going to absorb into the skin, it just sits on top of the skin and creates a physical barrier. Often physical SPF has two main ingredients – that of titanium oxide and zinc. This kind of product can be useful for people who have got really sensitive skin types or young children, but for a lot people, it does not look great and so can be hard to use.

Chemical sunscreens are creams that are developed to absorb into the skin and to provide and to stimulate the kind of changes within the skin that stop the UVA and UVB rays from causing the damage that they would do otherwise. They are often a combination of ingredients. There is often a number of different ingredients mixed in those products. They commonly contain antioxidant ingredients such as vitamin C and vitamin B. On the whole, chemical sunscreen is more commonly used due to its ease of use and invisibility on the skin.


Product-wise, I often get asked in clinic about the use of SPF, I hear comments such as “I don’t use sunscreen, I don’t get on with it. I don’t like it. I can’t find one that looks all right on my skin.”

There are so many SPFs out there on the market now. It is a really poor excuse to say that you cannot find something suitable. You just need to experiment because there is something out there that you will be able to get on with. Using SPF is such a basic, easy thing to do. Please, if you are struggling, try different products. Try and get some testers. Talk to your friends. See what products they use. But keep going with it, because you will find something, and it is important. It’s a really easy step to take in your skincare.

You will have heard me say that it is more important than moisturising. If you were going to choose, moisturising or SPF, I would always say go with the SPF. I stand by this 100%

I stock a few different products in my London clinic. One of them is this brand called Heliocare. This product is affordable, light on the skin and oil free.

Another example is the ZO product The SPF Primer has a factor 30 and has what is called a universal tint. It is also suitable for all skin types. As a primer, it can be used before makeup or alone.

The CC cream by pH formula is another of my personal favourites. CC means colour correction. This is also an SPF 30. It is a broad spectrum, light cream suitable for daily use, available in light, medium or dark.

Do not forget when you are applying your daily SPF include neck, décolletage, backs of hands, tops of heads!!

There are zillions of products out there on the market. If you do not like the first one you try, keep trying.


To summarise – daily SPF is essential if you want to preserve the integrity of your skin.

It is never too late to start.

Apply to all exposed areas not just the face.

Use a minimum of Factor 30 UVA and UVB or broad spectrum.

Do not assume if you go higher than SPF 30 that you will get any additional protection.

Do layer up – products, clothing

Experiment with products, there is something out there which will work for you. Good luck!!’


Elizabeth Rimmer

Clinical Director

LPA is an award-winning nurse-led clinic. Our philosophy is to help you age in a way that you feel confident and comfortable in yourself. We’re on a mission to win your trust from the off, by making your visit relaxed and easy and ultimately sending you on your way with a natural revitalised and more attractive version of you, so that you’re ready to conquer your world!

We are based in EC1 in the bustle of the city. We are registered with Save Face, the UK aesthetics regulatory body.


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