SPF for beginners

Find out the solutions to your SPF struggles

Why do I need SPF?

SPF is vital for your skin health, as it defends against the damaging effects of UV rays. It's important to remember that UV rays penetrate through clouds and windows – so be sure to wear your SPF whether it's overcast or raining and whether you're inside or outside.

What is the right amount of SPF?

Solution: The two-finger rule is a quick way to be sure you're applying adequate protection. Simply apply SPF to the entire length of your pointer and middle fingers. Our dermatologists remind us to “apply from the crease where your finger meets your hand to the fingertip,” says Dr. McLellan. And be generous with your coating! “Add a third finger to include the neck,” adds Dr. Hartman.

SPF for beginners

How do I get a higher SPF?

Solution: “Unfortunately, getting a higher SPF is not that simple. Merely adding the different SPF numbers for different products won’t give the total sum of the numbers in sun protection,” says Dr. Hartman. “The good news is that although the math may not add up exactly right, there is always a benefit to adding extra layers of protection." Dr. McLellan points out “combining sunscreens can sometimes make re-application easier. For example, people may start the day with a lotion but find it easier to re-apply using a powder.”
But be aware which SPFs you're layering. Research has suggested that combining synthetic with mineral sunscreens can prompt instability in the synthetic filters, leading to a decrease in the ingredient’s SPF abilities. So when layering, combine similar ingredients with one another for ultimate protection.

SPF feels too heavy on my skin

Solution: You're likely using a thicker body or beach sun cream rather than a lightweight facial SPF moisturiser. That, or your SPF doesn't match your skin type. Always choose factor 30 or higher with the “broad spectrum” label and adapt its texture to your skin type:

+ Dry skin? Choose a rich lotion or cream, like the Advanced Sun Protection Daily Moisturiser SPF 50 | PA++++
+ Normal to combination skin? Use a lightweight cream like RESIST Anti-Ageing Moisturiser SPF 30
+ Oily skin? A thin lotion with an invisible finish like the RESIST Anti-Ageing Moisturiser SPF 50
Go beyond sunscreen to protect, brighten and hydrate with the 5% Vitamin C Sheer Moisturizer SPF 50.

SPF for beginners

What should I choose: waterproof or water-resistant SPF?

Solution: Simply put, there's no such thing as waterproof sun cream.
“The best that we can achieve in formulation of sunscreen products is water-resistant, at least so far,” says Dr. Hartman. Water-resistant SPFs can tolerate wet / sweaty skin for 40-80 minutes and must undergo testing to be acquire their label.
Though these sunscreens hold up better against water & sweat, Dr. McLellan reminds us that: “reapplication of sunscreen after swimming or other water activities is crucial to maintain effective sun protection.”

SPF always gets in my eyes

Solution: Look for SPFs that only contain the following mineral actives: titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. An example is our RESIST Anti-Ageing Moisturiser SPF 30. Mineral sunscreens are considered non-irritating and are much less likely to sting or burn if they drip into your eyes when sweating.

I swear sun cream gives me breakouts

Solution: This is perhaps the most frustrating because there’s no immediate fix. It takes experimentation to find a facial SPF moisturiser that won’t cause or trigger breakouts for you, but we have gathered a few pointers:

+ Opt for the thinnest textures (less likely to prompt breakouts)
+ Try SPF formulas with a blend of synthetic actives like octisalate and octinoxate and mineral actives like zinc oxide (may just prove to be the perfect balance)
+ Try double-cleansing (to really ensure you are thoroughly yet gently removing any SPF and make-up)


References for this information:
American Journal of Epidemiology, May 2016, pages 824-833
Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, October 2021, pages 1,273-1,285
American Academy of Dermatology, Accessed July 2023, Webpage
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Accessed July 2023, Webpage
Skin Research and Technology, March 2022, pages 225-235
International Journal of Progressive Sciences and Technologies, July 2021, pages 171-189
Journal of Athletic Training, September 2016, pages 696-700
JAMA Dermatology, August 2016, pages 920-927
Acta-dermato Venereologica, March 2014, pages 152-156
British Journal of Dermatology, March 2011, pages 1-7
Dermatologic Clinics, January 2006, pages 75-79


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