Sun Protection

The sun is source of life, as we all know. We need the sun, as we all know. And it allows our body to produce Vitamin D, as we all know. However, just as everything else in life, it should be taken in moderation. The damage caused by prolonged sun exposure range from dry skin to wrinkles, lack of skin elasticity, pigmentation marks, burns that can be quite serious, and damage at cell level – cancer.

The way our skin reacts in the sun depends on our phototype. The best-known classification is the Fitzpatrick one, which states skin can go from phototype 1 to 6, i.e. from pale skins that never tan to darker skins that don’t burn and tan easily. This is because darker skins produce more melanin and thereby greater protection against burns, but they are not protected against cancer, so these phototypes must still take care.

Sun protection creams protect against UVB rays, the type of radiation that causes damage at a cell level (their wavelength is shorter). The protection comes in the form of a number, the sun protection factor or SPF (for instance SPF 15 or 30), which enables skin to be exposed to the sun for longer. However, the amount of time they “offer” us is not linear. And the difference between an SPF 30 and 50 is only 1% extra protection. We also run the risk of entering into a false sense of security by using a higher SPF and not reapplying as often as is recommended, i.e. every two hours. The numbers are not cumulative, i.e. you won’t get SPF 45 by applying an SPF 30 plus an SPF 15. You’ll only be protected as far as the highest number, in this case, SPF 30.

UVA rays (broader wavelength) are responsible for skin ageing and whereas early sun protection creams didn’t offer protection against them, most now do and say so on the packaging …

One thing you should avoid is using sunscreens from one year to the next. They can deteriorate easily. Always read what the packaging (as below). One tip to avoid any “mistakes” is writing on the tube the date in which you open it.

Some people are advocates of progressive exposure to the sun and I understand where this comes from, but skin on average can protect itself against the sun for about 15 minutes, so in my case, progressive exposure would be far too… progressives 😉

In fact, I’m so sensitive that even after 15 minutes my skin turns red. At the end of the summer I can dream of golden skin, as mine goes from pink to slightly less pink to golden.

For this very reason, I use sun protection every day. EVERY SINGLE DAY. Summer or Winter. In Winter, although the rays are “hidden”, they are out there and can penetrate the clouds. FYI, did you know that 8 in 10 wrinkles is caused directly by the sun’s effects? Many people ask me how I manage to have such glowing skin at the age of 41 and a large part of the secret is SPF.

Today, I’m talking to you about the cream I use every day (I have another one I use for the beach, I’ll talk about that at another time). I choose mineral over chemical sun protection creams. The difference between them is in the way they act and the ingredients in them. A mineral – or physical – sunscreen forms a barrier on the skin through zinc oxide, which stops the UV rays from penetrating the skin. A chemical sunscreen is absorbed by the skin and triggers a chemical reaction, transforming the UV rays and eliminating them.

The one I’m using now is mineral and zinc-based, by Mádara Comsetics. It’s called Plant Stem Cell Age Defying Face Sunscreen SPF30. Try saying that 3 times in a row! It offers UVB and UVA protection. It has a slight tint to it yet looks invisible on the skin and has a mattifying effect, meaning it can be used even on oily skins. I apply it straight after my Hyaluronic Acid, but drier skins can tolerate a moisturiser before it. It’s plant-based, offering antioxidant benefits and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin. It also offers anti-pollution protection! This is a natural and cruelty free product but it’s not vegan, as it contains beeswax.

The first time I used it, I thought it was way to dark for my pasty Winter skin (it was November), but it really does go on invisible, as you can see below:


Mineral sunscreens are known for being thicker and harder to spread. Normally, I apply a dollop to my cheeks, forehead and chin and let it warm a bit before rubbing in gently. As I said above, it goes on invisible.

About the brand

Mádara cosmetics is a Latvian company that manufactures natural and organic skin and hair care, as well as makeup. The products are certified organic and most of them are vegan. The brand indicates when they are not. It is a brand I use daily, both for skin and haircare.

You can find the sunscreen here and the code FAFA will give you 10% off.