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how to choose sun protection factorSkin exfoliated, the right tan-loving foods bought…and it feels like the long-awaited sun-kissed look has fallen into the trap…there is no way of missing it this season. Unfortunately, there are two more ‘tricks’ left to do before you can rest assured that this summer holiday will get you into a ‘bronzing’ shape –  choosing the right SPF for your skin type and ensuring a careful after sun care.

1. Which is my SPF?spf factorsSunscreens prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. The UVB sun rays are responsible for sunburns while the UVA penetrate the skin more deeply and are related to premature aging and skin cancer. Unfortunately, the majority of sun-protection products only prevent the UVB radiation. Even though UVA rays do not cause sunburns, they cause wrinkles and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, up to 90% of skin changes associated with aging come from a lifetime’s exposure to UVA rays. Thus you’ll need a sunscreen with a broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA rays. The best way to be sure in the presence of this protection is to check the ingredient list for the following names: benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX).

The next step is to choose the right SPF for your skin type. Here is how it works.

1. sun protection for sensitive skinUltra Sensitive

   – red hair or blonde hair

   – spreckles

   – very light skin

   – quickly burned without protection after 5-10 minutes

Ideal factor: Very high (50+)

2. Sensitive skin

  – light skin

  – blonde or blonde-brown hair, blue, green or hazel eyes

  – some spreckles

  – burned without protection after 10-20 minutes

Ideal factor: High (30)sunprotection for medium skin3. Between sensitive and resistant

 – blonde-brown to dark hair

 – almost no spreckels with light to medium olive skin tone

 – tans easily

 – burned without protection after 40-50 minutes

Ideal factor: medium (15-25)4. Sun-resistant

 – dark hair and eyes

 – naturally Mediterranean skin

 – tans very quick

 – without protection lightly burned after 1 to 3 hours

Ideal factor: (low (6-15)


20-30 minutes before sun exposure to give the skin time to absorb the ingredients and activate their protective shield. Always reapply 2 hours later and after swimming. Even the water-resistant products require oils for sun protectionThe trick to attract the sun toward you is to use oils rather than lotions. My natural secret is to apply carrot or coconut oil on top of the sunscreen lotion to enhance the tanning process. In fact, coconut oil is believed to naturally protect the skin from the sun. And don’t forget to always try and buy natural sunscreen products. If impossible, add my natural trick:).

These SPF guidelines only apply during the first few days of tanning providing that you have no previous tan. If you have some tan left from your last holiday you must assess your skin tone and start with a lower protection. Additionally, after a few days of sunbathing your skin will start to go darker which will require a lower SPF. For example, if you start with 30, make sure you move to 15 in a few days. In terms of the face protection, I always apply 30 or 50 as this is the most sensitive area and I am sure none of you want the appearance of wrinkles or red cheeks and nose:). Worse case scenario, your face might be slightly lighter but with some make-up the difference can easily be disguised. Finally, make sure that you only sunbathe during the sun-loving hours of the day: 9-11 and after 1630 o’clock. There is a smaller risk of sunburns and even heat strokes as the sun won’t be that strong, making the sunbathing a bit more enjoyable.

Aftercare after-sun-care

The final step is the tan-locking care. Since sun exposure dries out the skin, it is vital to ensure its constant hydration. It’s best to use moisturising oils, such as almond, olive or coconut. On the other hand, your skin will feel quite sensitive and ‘burning’ after the sun which will require a lotion with a ‘cooling down’ effect. It’s best to choose something with aloe vera or best buy the aloe vera gel itself. I get mine from Holland and Barrett which I apply before the oil.

If you choose to follow my tips, you will surely get a flawless, healthy looking, sun-kissed tan. And don’t forget that to get the most out of sun, you don’t have to sunbathe still like an ancient Greek statue. Keep moving, play beach volley, rackets, swim and stay active as these  will make sunbathing a truly more exciting process:)

With health & balance,

Maya xxx


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