How familiar are you with the facts and harsh truth behind sun exposure, as well as protecting your skin from the sun? If you’ve just shrugged, you’d definitely want to read on.

Many of us probably have the mindset that sunscreens are only needed when you’re under the scorching sun. That isn’t entirely true. “UV rays can penetrate clouds. You receive a similar UV dose whether you stand outside during a cloudy or a sunny day,” says Dr. Lim Ing Kien, dermatologist and founder of SkynFyx. This is backed up by Ivy Gan, Education Manager at Kiehl’s, who adds, “Regardless of what skin tone you are, applying sunscreen is extremely important to protect your skin from the damaging UVA rays which accelerate skin ageing. UVA doesn’t cause tanning to our skin but will damage our collagen and elastin fibers.”

The tropical weather in Malaysia can leave us feeling extremely humid and sticky, which is why so many of us choose to stay away from wearing sunscreen. However, this makes it a lot more important to wear it daily because the SPF in our makeup isn’t sufficient for overall sun coverage, says Lina Tang, the founder of Clearly Basics, a skincare brand for acne-prone skin.

Don’t even think about discounting sun care from your daily skincare routine. Instead, look for a product that suits your skin type and is comfortable for daily use. Below are seven sunscreens curated for everyday wear and water sports. Each one of them comes with its own benefits but most importantly, they’re all non-comedogenic and above SPF30, which is highly recommended by skin experts.

1. CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF50, RM119

As someone with sensitive skin, I can relate to the fear of breaking out after using a new product but this 100% mineral sunscreen didn’t disappoint as it’s fragrance and paraben-free. I love the fact that it’s formulated with hydrating ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, which makes it the ultimate saviour for dry skin. The best part? It offers broad-spectrum protection from UVA/UVB rays and the lightweight and non-greasy texture is suitable to be worn on the daily.

Get it here.

2. Clarins UV Plus [5P] Anti-Pollution Translucent SPF50+/PA+++ Multi-protection Moisturizing Screen, RM185

As Clarins’s first-ever UV and pollution sunscreen, this newbie has been designed to protect your skin against five daily pollutants (both indoor and outdoor): atmospheric, indoor, pollen, blue light and photo pollution. The lightweight gel-cream texture absorbs easily and provides a perfectly invisible finish, so you no longer have a reason to skip sun protection! If you have dry and compromised skin, the organic mango leaf extract helps in enhancing skin’s self-defense while skin-caring ingredients provide hydration and care for your skin. Take your pick from three shades: Translucent (for a transparent finish), Rose (for a natural rosy glow) and Lavender (to correct dullness).

Get it here.

3. Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF50/PA++++, RM163

As a brand that skincare enthusiasts turn to when searching for a new skincare and sun care, it doesn’t surprise me that the latest sunscreen from Kiehl’s has already won the hearts of many out there! If you ask me, it ticks all the boxes of what I look for in a sunscreen: it does its part in providing advanced UVA/UVB technology and pollution protection, is free of sulphates and parabens, and infused with antioxidants and moisturising ingredients. Ivy recommends this creamy, moisturising sunscreen for normal to dry skin and the Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel SPF50/PA++++ for combination to oily skin. Time to add this to your daily sun care regimen!

Get it here.

4. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF50+/PA++++, RM122.90

This sunscreen definitely takes a spot on my wishlist! As the world’s No.1 dermocosmetic sun care brand, this best-selling sunblock offers an ultra-high broad-spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, infrared and pollution. The invisible, lightweight and fragrance-free formula is ultra-resistant to water, sweat and sand, making it a great pick for daily use and outdoor sports! The sunscreen is also reef safe, so you can enjoy swimming in the sea without guilt. And since it contains glycerin and polymers, this goodie works best for normal to combination skin that’s acne-prone and sensitive.

Get it here.

5. Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50/PA++++, RM298

Despite being a 100% mineral sunscreen, it works wonders for dark skin tones too, as it doesn’t leave a white residue. This gem of a sunscreen is fragrance-free and contains iron oxides that colour corrects and evens out your skin tone too! If you’re struggling with ageing, oily, sensitive or acne-prone skin, the lightweight lotion may just be what you need. Besides giving your skin a matte finish, it offers a slight glow and the look of healthy skin!

Get it here.

6. Shiseido Clear Suncare Stick UV Protector SPF50+, RM120

At a glance, you may mistake this stick-type sunscreen for a deodorant stick. But hey, that’s exactly what makes this product so unique! The stick design offers an interesting set of benefits that range from a touch-free, no-mess application to easy reapplication even over makeup (thanks to the invisible finish!) when you’re on the go. Infused with soybean lecithin and oil-soluble licorice extract, it helps to prevent wrinkles and uneven skin tone. You’ll be happy to know that this handy pick is suitable for families who love packing daily and water-sports activities into their days, and it’s specially made to be reef safe, so you and I can snorkel guilt-free!

Get it here.

7. Supergoop! Matte Screen 100% Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF40, RM185

This fan-favourite from Supergoop! is constantly sold out due to its various benefits: 1. The blendable tint comes in a universal shade that caters to all skin tones. 2. The 100% mineral formula gives your skin a matte finish, which suits oily or acne-prone skin as it offers shine control and minimises pores in one go. 3. It’s great for those who want a 2-in-1 sunscreen that gives minimal daily coverage but maximum sun protection! 4. It’s free from skin-damaging ingredients like fragrance, parabens and sulphates, but focuses on skin food like anti-oxidants and vitamins to keep your skin healthy instead!

Get it here.

Even with the benefits of broad spectrum protection from UVA/UVB sun rays, sunscreens are only a part of sun protection. Always seek a shady place and wear protective clothing whenever possible. If you’re doing outdoor water or sports activities, wear a water-resistant sunscreen and reapply every two hours after sweating or going into the water.

If you’re wondering if a higher SPF is going to provide you with better sun protection, the truth is that it doesn’t. Lina enlightened me with the shocking news that, “SPF100 will give you 99% protection against sun damage within a two-hour time span whereas SPF50 will give you about 98% protection within that same time frame. On top of that, what an SPF100 sunblock will do is usually leave a much oilier and thicker sheen on your skin! Generally, SPF35 to 50 will give you sufficient sun coverage while still being comfortable on the skin.” The rule of thumb is to always go for SPF35 and above, and remember – a higher SPF isn’t always better.

As we celebrate Sunscreen Day and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, take the time to educate yourself on sun protection. You can read more about the ‘Sun Safety for Every Day Every Body’ 2021 campaign by the Canadian Dermatology Association here or follow their Sun Safety campaign on their Instagram for healthy skin tips. Additionally, you can read more about the British Association of Dermatologists’ Sun Awareness Campaign here or follow their Instagram to keep abreast on skincare tips.

Featured image: FleurKann/Unsplash

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