My name is Poppy and I am a tanning-a-holic. I admit it, I love nothing more than lying out in the blistering sun, watching myself turn a lovely deep brown. However, between the constant sun and all too prevalent AC, even I am beginning to worry about what it’s all doing to my skin. So, when I heard L’Oreal had a sun protection and skin care expert in town, I jumped at the chance to meet her.
With over 30 years experience in the efficacy of sun care products, Dr Moyal now heads up the photo-protection department for L’Oreal research and development. Or, in simple terms, she’s responsible for making sure that your sun cream is the best it can be. I sat down with her to try to de-bunk some of the myths and confusion surrounding sun creams, to find out what we should be wearing in this hot and humid climate and of course, to get some expert advice on my own sun ravaged skin.
There’s so much confusion surrounding facial moisturisers and SPF coverage. Do we get enough coverage if we just use a general facial moisturiser with SPF protection or do we need dedicated SPF as well? To put it simply, when you have a product that has both moisturising ingredients and SPF, then this is really all you need. You just always have to be sure that it is SPF plus UVA as this is what protects you from the harmful rays.
So on those cloudy or hazy days in Singapore, can we forget the SPF? No but what you can do is lower your SPF factor. So, if it’s particularly cloudy, and you are only really spending two to three hours outside, you can get away with SPF10. But, if you are spending more time outside than that, UVA rays can pass through the clouds and start to damage your skin so you would need a higher sun factor protection.
Singapore is notoriously hot and humid, what would you suggest we use for SPF protection that isn’t too oily or greasy on our faces? Well again it depends. Of course, you are not going to be able to use the same products in Singapore that you can use in Europe as it is a totally different climate. We need products that are dedicated to the climate, so look for non-oily bases and also, products designed specifically to go on the face. Putting body cream on your face will not have the same result, the two body parts react totally differently to heat! If I were to recommend one product, it would be the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid SPF 50 that we launched this month. It is dedicated for the face and to deal with the extreme temperatures that you get in Singapore.
Does the type of SPF we use change with skin types? For example, someone with sensitive skin versus someone with combination skin? No, really it isn’t a question of skin type, more it is a question of skin colour. If you have very fair skin, you need the highest SPF. If you have very dark skin, then you don’t need a very high SPF. I think that here in Asia, the main Phototype is Phototype 3, so intermediate skin colour, meaning between SPF15 and 50+ is required. The only thing that changes with your skin type versus colour, is how your skin reacts to the SPF, sensitive skins will need a dermatologically tested cream where combination skin might find the all-day protection creams too rich. As I said before, most skin types should be fine as long as you use a cream dedicated to your actual face!
What are the most common myths you have come across working in the cosmetics field? Well, a lot of people still don’t have a great understanding of what the SPF numbers actually mean. Also, a great deal of people with Asian or dark skin still don’t understand the importance of sun protection.
Is it true there isn’t too much difference between SPF 25 and SPF 75? There is a difference, because the factor is linear! SPF75 is three times more protective than SPF25, if applied at the same quantity.
Finally, are the best beauty products the most expensive ones? Well, not always no! Cosmetics is not like fashion where higher prices are due to better made products, although sometimes we can explain the higher prices in cosmetics due to better technologies. It’s not a generality though.