Summer & SPF — Your Definitive Guide to Sunscreen

Did you know the sun sets at almost 11PM in Paris in mid summer? The days are long! I’ve been enjoying them and the sunshine with the Parisians at our many beautiful parks, but not just. I’ve also been finding myself on outdoor shoots for work a lot lately which has got the sun on my skin and sunscreen on my mind.

Paris Rendezvous

While on set last week, I got to talking about sunscreen with the makeup artist and just what we should be using and how much. Every one joined in and it occurred to me that not many of us actually understand how SPF works. So I decided to get to the bottom of it so we can educate ourselves on how to play safe in the sun this time of year.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent rays from damaging the skin. UVA rays are associated with aging, while UVB rays are more responsible for skin cancers. Different sunscreens perform differently when it comes to filtering out each, but the most important factor is the SPF level.

Here’s a few general rules you should keep in mind when choosing your sunscreen…

• The higher the sun the stronger the rays. So an SPF that might be fine in morning or early evening, won’t necessarily suffice for noon and the several hours following.

• The further you are from the equator, the less strong the sun will be. So sailing in Sweden in won’t require the same SPF as catching waves in California.

• Different skin types are more sensitive to the sun. The fairer you are, the higher SPF you should be using. But that doesn’t mean that because your dark the sun can do no harm. All skin types can benefit from SPF.

So just how long can you stay in the sun with your sunscreen? A common myth is that the SPF number corresponds to the number of minutes you can stay in the sun. So SPF 30 equals 30 minutes of sun protection. This is false. The SPF level actually corresponds to how many times longer than normal you can stay in the sun without getting burned. So if you can normally stay 5 minutes in the sun without burning, an SPF 15 will allow you one hour and fifteen minutes in the sun without burning (5 x 15 = 75 minutes). Meaning you’ll need to know your skin type and do a little math.

That being said, I don’t think anyone ever regretted using too much sunscreen. But I, for one, sure have regretted a few sunburns in my time! Lancôme has your skin covered this summer with a few of my favorite products, like…

Skin Feels Good SPF 23 — This is my go to summer skin option so far. SPF 23 means I can enjoy the sun without burning and still catch a few freckles. It’s light weight and hydrating, so for beach days I’ve been applying in the morning and reapplying after swims. You can’t travel without this essential this summer!

Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation SPF 50 — For long sunny days where you want full coverage, this will have most skin types completely protected while also offering gorgeous even full coverage that never feels heavy. It’s one of my personal favorites!

Bienfait UV SPF 50+ — For serious sun protection with or without makeup, this is a must have. It’s broad spectrum, oil free, and lightweight offering a ton of protection without feeling greasy, and you can use it on your body too if you need!

And remember, you don’t have to tan to get that summer glow! For a little cheat try the Lancôme Bronze & Glow Palette!

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