Your guide to understanding sun protection and SPF with Dr Marine



What does SPF mean? 

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The number next to it indicates how long until your skin gets red without sunscreen.



What’s the difference between sunscreens?

Chemical sunscreens, also known as filters. 

Chemical sunscreens get absorbed in the skin and then absorb UV rays. Those UV rays are converted into heat.

Chemicals sunscreens active ingredients are:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Avobenzone
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene
  • Homosalate
  • Octinoxate

They can result in skin irritation as they are absorbed in the skin.

They need to be applied at least 20 mins before sun exposure but because of the chemical composition these sunscreens need to be re-applied often.

Mineral sunscreen, also known as physical sunscreens.

these work by absorbing and then scattering or deflecting the UV radiation in addition to absorbing the UV light and releasing as heat. There two chemicals used:

  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc Oxide

Mineral sunscreens provide protection from the sun immediately after application. They tend to last longer in the sun; however will be washed off with sweat and water. They are less irritant on the skin. They leave whitish cast on the skin and therefore are often not cosmetically acceptable for people with darker skin tones. Often larger amounts are required to achieve adequate protection.

Mineral sunscreens are also used for children under 3 years and by people allergic to Filter or even sun. 



Do you have any recommendations for darker skin tones?

The "water" type sunscreens do not leave any residue and therefore are not interacting with skin colour. 

Also any fluid textures such as La Roche Posay Fluid are ideal. 



What protection should I use?

For any sun exposure longer than 15-20 mins then I would recommend at least SPF 30. But if you have light to very light skin tone, you will need an SPF 50.

Babies under the age of 6 months should not be in direct sunlight and older children should be applying SPF 50.


How often should I apply and can I apply over makeup?

You should apply sun protection every 2 hours. 

There are some formulations such as mists that can be used as a top up during the day over make up but in general we apply sunscreen after your skincare routine (cleansing, serum and cream) and before your make up.


How much should I use?

For face and neck:  Half a teaspoon

Arms: One teaspoon

Legs: Two teaspoons

Front and Back of torso: Two teaspoons


Which one do you personally use?

I personally love the mists or sprays as I am not very good at rubbing creams!

I started using Vichy waters two years ago and I love that it is so easy to use and really feels like water. 


In doubt which one would you recommend?

Anthelios stays the number one sun protection in Pharmacies and you can't go wrong with it!