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Sun Protection 101

Facialist to the stars and skincare miracle-worker Teresa Tarmey shares her ultimate guide to sun protection.

4 August 2023

When it comes to skincare, beauty routines can become increasingly convoluted. But there is one necessary step that all experts agree on: sun protection. No other products play a greater role in preserving the skin from the (very real) ageing effects of sun exposure.

And yet, choosing which product is best for you can be a minefield, which is why we asked skincare guru Teresa Tarmey for her ultimate sun protection advice.

Teresa’s results-driven cult-treatments are now available in the luxurious Treatment Room at The Cadogan, a Belmond Hotel, as part of a long-term partnership. Not only is she the preferred facialist of countless editors and A-listers like Sienna Miller and Julianne Moore, she’s also Dior Beauty’s global skincare expert – and with over 25 years of experience behind her, Teresa really knows what’s what when it comes to skincare and sun protection.

These are her need-to-know sun protection rules…

 

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE

I’ve been treating skin for almost 26 years, and what I do most in the clinic is treat sun damage. In my opinion, the sun is the biggest contributor to skin ageing, and prevention is most definitely better than the cure. But it’s also never too late to protect against the effects of the sun and treat existing damage.

 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

I’m not huge on layering loads of products – it’s just not necessary. So I suggest finding a sunscreen with a texture that you like, to use as a moisturiser as your first step. There are some great SPFs out there now with some great ingredients added that nourish the skin. I like Heliocare products; they’re available at The Cadogan and have lots of different texture options. I also like the La Roche ‘Posay Antihelios’ range, which is available at most pharmacies, and Dior’s Diorsnow UV Shield (£46 at Harvey Nichols).

After cleansing, apply your chosen serum and then apply your sunscreen (before makeup). The active ingredients in your serum should be the ones that are treating your skin’s needs. The SPF will then protect against and prevent sun damage.

 

SUN DAMAGE IS NOT JUST SUNBURN

The sun causes deep damage to the skin’s cells and can show up as hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries or – often in older clients – leather-like skin. It could also be the opposite; when you start to see hypopigmentation, where there’s a loss of pigment. In this situation, there’s absolutely nothing you can do and so you are left with white spots.

 

IT’S TREATABLE

There are incredible treatments to keep the damage under control and improve the way it looks. Some clients ask, ‘What’s the point of treating pigmentation if it’s just going to come back?’ And my advice is that even though the damage is always underlying, if done well and gently and safely, you can almost remove it from the surface of the skin with laser or IPL. Not only does it look better and less ageing, but it can also prevent the damage from getting worse, bigger and deeper – provided that future sun exposure is limited and an SPF is worn in the sunshine.

 

ONLY USE FOR BROAD-SPECTRUM SUN PROTECTION

The sun emits two types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation: UVA and UVB.

UVB is known as the “burning” rays because they only penetrate the skin’s surface-layer, causing visible sunburns, and damaging elastin and collagen, resulting in superficial wrinkling and changes in pigmentation.

UVA rays, on the other hand, are more prevalent and more ageing because they can penetrate to the deeper, thicker structural support system of the skin, causing pronounced wrinkles and reducing moisture and firmness. It’s the UVA rays that can lead to the broken blood vessels often seen on the nose and cheeks.

The SPF rating system was developed in 1962 and still only applies to UVB rays only, so make sure you’re using sun protection that specifically states that it protects against both. And I don’t advise relying on the SPF in your foundation – it’s not enough.

 

BURN NOTES

Getting burnt is awful. Just one incident can cause so much damage that’s not possible to fix or improve. I tend to see the most damage in the chest area, which is very delicate and I think suffers the most from sun damage. Applying a cooling aloe vera feels nice and calming, but keeping burnt skin well moisturised is also important. Please don’t force the peeling of the skin; leave it to heal in its own time to prevent more damage.

 

Teresa Tarmey’s signature treatments are available now at The Cadogan. For more information and to book, please visit teresatarmey.com.
Sarah Chapman Skin Insurance SPF50+, £69
The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection sunscreen, £39.95 
Kate Somerville at Harvey Nichols UncompliKated SPF50 setting spray, £36
Dior at Harvey Nichols Diorsnow UV Shield SPF50+, £46
La Mer at Harvey Nichols UV Protecting Cream SPF50, £95

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