Let's face it, we all love the sun, but nobody wants to spend their golden years looking like a withered grape. Thankfully, the fight against those aging rays has moved past busting out the SPF 30 from the back of the bathroom cabinet. Whether your preference is popping a pill or going au natural, there are other, mind blowing ways to beat sun damage back into its box.
1. UV Skin Sensor Patch
If we can have patches to quit smoking, then why can't we have patches to protect us from the sun too? Actually we can, thanks to L'Oreal, who recently released the My UV Patch under their brand La Roche-Posay. Still in Beta phase, this stretchable, super thin skin sensor tells wearers how much UV exposure they are getting via a heart on the sticker (cute!), which is made up of 16 different boxes that change color when exposed to UV rays. You then take a photo of the heart and upload it to the mobile app, which gives you a UV reading (or you could just look at the heart's changing color to know when to run for cover).
The app also tells you when you're getting the most sun exposure and where exactly you're missing sun protection - so if you're feeling totally obsessive about sun exposure, you'll be wanting to bag one of these babies when it's released. Keen as a bean? Join the waiting list here - or if you can't wait until then, you can pass the time with its more geeky, unglamorous cousin - the UV indicator wristband.
2. Sunscreen Pills
What's in a pill? Sun protection, apparently! A new pill, which goes by the name of BioAstin, is already available in America and contains astaxanthin, a drug extracted from algae that protects the body against UV rays and therefore sunburn. Fuss free and hard working, it has been shown to reduce melanin by up to 40 per cent. Banishing all annoying dramas of reapplication and weird bits you can't reach, this product doesn't wash off and works on the whole body (yes, even those bits you always miss around your bikini line).
3. Sun Protective Cleansers
Sometimes it can seem like we have to put on a bajillion creams, lotions, and potions before we can even pull on our pants in the morning - all in the name of beauty. If slathering your face in yet another layer of XYZ sends your brain into a morning melt-down, cleansers that actually come with built-in SPF might be right up your alley!
No longer just for moisturizers, foundations, and primers, cleansers have now jumped on board the SPF bandwagon with products that you can wash on while your eyes are still half-open. Leading the way with their globally patented wash-on technology is Dr Russo's Sun Protective Day Cleanser, which literally melts the UV protection into your pores via an innovative delivery system that adheres the sunscreen to your skin once the cleanser is washed off.
4. Sun Protective Clothing
Fear not! We aren't suggesting you wrap up in seven layers of clothing to make sure the sun's rays can't get through. Oh no - it's time to get with the program and get down with sun-protective clothing. Sundresses, sun skirts, rompers, shirt dresses - if you can wear it, you can bet that you can get it with some extra UPF (Ultraviolet Protective Factor) va-va-voom.
Of course the more covered you are in the sun, the more protected you will be, but if you're wearing a white, loose-weave piece of clothing where the rays go right through it, then you can bet it will be as useful as a concrete life vest. As a start, go for dark color fabrics with a tight weave, which naturally have better sun protection, and something that has a UPF rating of 50+ like this sassy shirt dress or this casual chic romper.
5. UV Laundry Detergent
OK so definitely not as glamorous as a spanking new UPF romper, but hear us out! If you're a little on the thrifty side, then ta-da! You too can give your clothes sun protective status by washing some UPF into your everyday clothing.
Rit Sun promises to transform everyday clothing into sun protective gear with a UPF of 30 simply by adding it to your wash cycle, with one treatment being effective enough for an impressive 20 additional washes. Recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation, it can take a typical t-shirt from a measly UPF of 5 to a solid 30.
6. The Natural Oil Way
You may have heard a lot about various oils and their SPF qualities, including coconut oil, but wait - before you go raiding your pantry and slathering yourself in coconut oil, or any other oil for that matter, it turns out that not only are all plant oils unequal when it comes to sun protection, but there is also a BIG grey area when it comes to knowing how thick they should be on application and formulation.
So as tempting as it might seem to run to your nearest health food store for some raspberry seed or carrot seed oil, it might best to avoid the possibility of raging red skin calamity and go for trusted options that have safe, researched natural ingredients - unless you really know what you're doing. Instead, look for natural products on the market which harness the power of these natural wonders like this Coola Sunscreen Spray and climbOn Mineral Sunscreen, which both contain Raspberry Seed Oil.
7. Eat Your Way to SPF
Stop the press! Did you know that you can actually eat your SPF? No, we don't mean gulping down a bottle of sun cream - obviously that would be weird and toxic. We're talking actually ingesting pigment-rich foods like blueberries, kale, tomatoes, spinach and black grapes which can help in building up your skin's natural barrier to the sun's harmful rays. But don't go thinking popping a few grapes in your morning smoothie will do the trick - to obtain an SPF10 from diet alone, you would need to consume a huge portion of kale and almost a kilo of black seedless grapes daily. Holy moly, that's a lot of grapes.
Be gone sun damage! We'll be looking into rocking these new ways of helping us to stay safe in the sun, like our (lack of) wrinkles depended on it. But of course, as with anything new, always be cautious when trying something for the first time and be sure to check with your dermatologist or doctor before using any of this with or instead of your regular sun care regime.