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What is an SPF? And why is it a skincare essential?

Summer has arrived! Every year we see and read articles about the British getting sunburnt, so I thought my final blog should be all about SPF and why you need to be using it, especially on your face.

We all know how important it is to take care of our skin - after all we only get one and it is the first place you will start to notice those typical, yet annoying signs of ageing. Although taking care of our skin is so important all year round, it is particularly important during the summer time, where sun damage is a major risk for all of us. Many of us know to look for high SPF lotions, and it is something most of us apply throughout the day while we are sunbathing in our gardens. But what actually is an SPF? And why is it an absolute essential to our DAILY skincare routines?

For healthy skin, it is important to nourish your body from the inside and protect it on the outside.

To achieve a fresh, glowing complexion we are often advised to drink plenty of water, stock up on skin-boosting nutrients and exercise regularly (which, before we continue, is all correct). Wearing a daily SPF is not always a priority, but I want to tell you why I believe a daily SPF is essential for healthy skin.

I am not a dermatologist, however I have picked up plenty of useful tips when working for the wonderful Azra (a skincare expert and owner of Hawkins Beauty Clinic) and training with some of the leading skincare brands. I am therefore a huge advocate for all round SPF protection.

The scientific bits:

Your skin is made up of layers; the epidermis, dermis and hypodermics. The epidermis (consisting of five of its very own layers) is the outer layer that is exposed to outside aggressors. External factors such as UVA rays can penetrate the epidermis and damage the dermis. This is usually when premature ageing occurs. Damage to the dermis impacts collagen which is essential for plump, youthful skin.

Exposure to the sun:

SPF has long been associated with the summer. In fact, the sun can still penetrate through clouds on those cold, grey days that we see far too often in the UK. In fact, 80% of the suns rays can penetrate through clouds. Your skin, therefore is constantly exposed to the damaging sun rays, even when you are sat inside! UV rays (mainly UVA) can still damage your skin if you are sat directly in front of a window. Windows are unfortunately not an iron proof forcefield protecting you from those powerful UVA rays.

The risks of skin damage:

When UV rays have damaged your skin, it alters the DNA in your skin cells. UVA rays that penetrate deeper into your skin can cause damage that is difficult to reverse. Alongside discolouration and ageing wrinkles, damage to the cells can also contribute to the development of skin cancers. Both UVA and UVB rays can increase the risk of serious skin disease.

So, what is SPF?

SPF stands for SUN PROTECTION FACTOR, also known as sunscreen, sun cream or sunblock. You can purchase sun cream in oil, gel, cream and spray formulas - they all do the same job! Different textures are all dependent on what is best for your skin as well as your personal preference. The purpose of sun cream is to protect the skin from powerful UV rays. It is so important to wear an SPF on a daily basis as once the skin algae been damaged by the sun, the damage is very difficult to reverse, and sometimes impossible to reverse. Once you make SPF part of your daily skincare routine, you won’t be able to live without it.

Where does SPF go in your skincare routine?

SPF is extremely important to feature into your skincare routine. Even if it is not sunny and hot, the sun is still there and it’s UV rays can still damage your skin. To prevent your skin from becoming damaged by the sun, make sure you apply your SPF first thing in the morning. I recommend applying it after you have completed your morning skincare routine, to cleanse, tone, apply serums, moisturise and then apply your SPF. Allow it to soak in for a few minutes and then, if you wish to wear make-up, you could apply it as you normally would.

Myself and the rest of my colleagues at Hawkins Beauty Clinicare huge lovers of SPF’s and those of you who have facial treatments with us will know that we always apply an SPF before you leave the clinic after your treatment. So let’s take a little look at some of the SPF’s we have on offer to you.

Alumier’s Moisture Matte Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40:

This sunscreen comes in three different versatile shades making is suitable for all skin tones and gives the skin a bit of colour and light coverage so make-up is not technically needed after the use of this SPF. It soothes and hydrates, while absorbing excess oil to create a matte finish, making it perfect for normal to oily skin types.

Alumier’s Clear Shield Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 42:

A lightweight, non-comedogenic facial sunscreen to protect all skin types including oily, redness-prone and acne-prone skin types. It contains Vitamin B3 which soothes and relieves redness, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin making it also perfect for dry and dehydrated skin types and conditions.

Alumier’s Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40:

A sheer moisturising facial sunscreen suitable for all skin types and conditions. It creates a sheer, healthy glow and contains Vitamin E making the formula both soothing and moisturising. This SPF is available in both tinted and untainted formulas.

Guinot’s Créme NewWhite UV 50:

Suitable for all skin types, particularly those interested in reducing already visable pigmentation. Not only does it protect the skin from UV rays but it also visibly brightens the complexion and evens out skin tone. It contains encapsulated pigment meaning it comes out white but changed colour when rubbed in. However, this is only suitable for lighter skin tones.

SkinCeuticals’ Physical UV Defence SPF 30:

This SPF is suitable for all skin types and conditions however, it is specifically formulated for post-procedure, sensitive and very dry skin. It repairs and improves the skins barrier function and provides all day hydration in a nourishing, comforting texture.

SkinCeuticals’ Physical Matte UV Defence SPF 50:

The is an oil-absorbing protective base with a matte finish making it most suited to normal, oily and combination skin types. It’s special formula is proven to maintain a matte finish even in hot, humid conditions. It also has a weightless mousse texture that dries to a powder finish. It is non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic and smooths skin texture and minimised the appearance of pores.

SkinCeuticals’ Sheer Physical UV Defence SPF 50:

This is a weightless sunscreen that provides protection with a transparent finish. It is suitable for all skin types and conditions. This SPF leaves a sheer, matte finish, helps to boost the skins natural defences to environmental stress and it non-comedogenic.


Thank you all for reading my final blog and all of my previous ones too. As I am sure you all know, the government recently released specific guidelines for businesses able to re-open from 4th July. Unfortunately, beauty salons are not one of the businesses listed. We have yet to be provided a date of which we can re-open, however I can assure you that we are all ready to re-open and are just waiting for the green light from Boris Johnson. As soon as we have a specific date we will let you all know, we are hoping that we will not be too far behind hairdressers. We cannot wait to see you all again, so until the , look after yourselves and keep smiling. Xo

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