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I want to preface this post by explicitly stating that the contents of this post were not in any way sponsored. No products mentioned throughout the post were given to me for consideration. This post isn’t written with the intention of selling or recommending a specific product, although I have put an affiliate link in to Paula’s Choice in case you decide to check out the brand. I consider this post to be an opportunity to share something with you I feel passionate about, and encourage you to expect more from whatever brand of skin care products your prefer.
I’ve always had combination skin. Whilst I’ve never suffered from acne, I experience hormonal breakouts and have heavily congested pores in the most oily areas of my face. It’s not problem skin by any means but I’ve always been motivated to use products that fit my skin’s profile.
In Australia we’re lectured the importance of sun protection from a very young age. Slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat before going outdoors between 10-2 (although these days it’s more like 10-5 in the middle of summer). We’re taught that getting sunburnt is bad and can lead to cancer; but we’re not educated on “invisible” sun damage. Just because you didn’t get burned doesn’t mean your skin hasn’t suffered. “Invisible” sun damage causes premature aging. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve fully realised how much of an impact “invisible” sun damage can have. It effects people of all complexions but is exacerbated by the fact that I am very fair, so I’ve made it my mission to find skin care products that contain SPF.
My personal issues can be broken down into three categories; shine control, hydration, sun protection.
Many facial moisturisers on the market contain SPF but most of them are designed for normal – dry skin profiles and leave my skin feeling gelatinous and slimy. It was the same for sunscreens designed ‘for the face’. Meanwhile, shine control and hydration sound like an oxymoron but many moisturisers marketed as “mattifying” leave my combination skin feeling tight and flaky.
I wasted so much money looking for and trying products recommended by sales assistants with no intimate knowledge of my skin profile. Quite by random one day I found a facial moisturiser by Nivea Visage in the supermarket which claimed to have a mattifying effect and contained SPF 15. I couldn’t believe after so many years that this might be my holy grail moisturiser. I brought it home and fell in love with it immediately. I used it generously all over my face and neck every day; it was an absolute pleasure on my skin. But I had an uneasy feeling in my subconscious – somehow I had a premonition that because I loved it, it was going to be discontinued. I bought five tubes and by the time I made my way through them all I discovered my premonition was correct.
I began my weary mission again, and was disheartened that in that time nothing new had come out to fulfil my requirements. Eventually I found a sales assistant who said that just because stores weren’t carrying the Nivea facial moisturiser didn’t mean it wasn’t available and offered to order it in. I was beside myself with joy but after waiting two gruelling weeks where I tortured my skin with the awful oily BB creams and drying lotions I’d previously discarded in the back of my cupboard, I went back to the pharmacy to discover that Nivea had replaced the product with a different shine control facial moisturiser – that did not contain sunscreen.
Nobody in the store seemed to understand why I was so angry, and this is the crux of my rant and this post. In this day and age, with as much knowledge that we have about sun damage, how could this have happened? Almost every woman wants to prevent looking old before her time. Including sunscreen in skin care products is the most simple way to avoid western society’s biggest beauty hang-up. And don’t even get me started on the more serious health consequences of sun damage such as melanoma and other skin cancers. Yet skin care companies are STILL manufacturing products without any SPF content and even REPLACING products that did contain sunscreen with products that don’t. It’s fundamentally ethically irresponsible.
There’s no such thing as too much sun protection. Many foundations and other beauty products are also popping up with SPF content and that’s fantastic. But it doesn’t negate the responsibility that basic skin-care products such as moisturisers should contain SPF content. This extends across every category since it’s our hands and décolletés (upper chest/collarbone region) that often give our age away before our faces.
Thankfully, I have finally found a line of products that meet my needs. I’ve been using Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Cleanser for a few months now but recently discovered that founder Paula Begoun is emphatic about sun protection as I am. All of their daytime facial moisturisers has SPF 30 in it. They offer several skin care ranges that cover a wide range of skin concerns such as rosacea, redness and uneven skin tone, eczema, dryness, acne, congestion, enlarged pores, and other sensitivities – and still magically manage to include sun protection in EVERY SINGLE ONE (if it doesn’t have SPF it’s meant for night use).
I wrote an e-mail laced with bitter disappointment to Nivea Australia yesterday seeking answers. In the mean time I am enjoying going through the thirty samples I bought from Paula’s Choice, working out exactly which facial moisturiser and other line products my skin responds best to. If this is something you guys are interested in I will be happy to follow up on this once I’m done. But at the very least please consider switching your facial moisturiser for one that contains sun protection! Your skin will thank you.
(Of course, the other major factor that leads to premature aging is smoking. Like sun damage, smoking can give you cancer; but I have a feeling that if anti-smoking marketing was targeted to appeal to our vanity, the campaigns would be more successful. Smoking is damaging your beautiful face.)