Pale Skin Summer Saviours

How to be an English Rose and survive the sunshine with these pale skin SPF saviours.
English Rose by name, English Rose by nature. Since my childhood, my pale skin has forever been a source of frustration and sensitivity (emotionally, physically...). I was the pale, brown-haired girl with freckles opposed to the beautiful fair-haired flawless beauties in my year at school. For some reason, the beauty of freckles hadn’t started trending in my suburb at this point in the ‘90s. But, alas, come those tricky teenage years and Collection 2000 full-coverage concealer, I erased my freckles for almost a decade (along with the late night under eye bags and alcohol blemishes). Back to the present day, it’s all hail the “no make-up make-up” unleashing our “natural” complexion. 

For me, the summer months are a battle of head over heart. My heart dreams of a sun-kissed golden glow that my instagram feed is tantalisingly oozing with, but my head knows there is no alighting at the station of Bronzed Goddess for me. No, I’m stuck on a fast train between Pasty Pale and Lobster Red. I’ve been the subject of laughs amongst my friends as they assume I’ve over-embellished the sunburn stories over the years. There was the time in Tenerife, aged 10, when I had insisted to my parents I had applied my SPF 50 - having detested slathering the white paint-like suntan lotion c.1999 onto my already white limbs. I spent the next six hours playing in the swimming pool, only have very clearly been caught out later in the day as the burn lines smoldered! I had to sit in an ice cold bath for the whole evening and was banished to the shade-equivalent of the naughty step for the rest of the holiday (with a bucket for a nasty dose of sunstroke). Another time, aged 18, I was in Australia and spent ten minutes atop a catamaran in the Whitsunday Islands eating breakfast...all I can say is thank goodness it wasn’t an all-you-can-eat-buffet because one course was long enough! I part-blame my stupidity and part-blame the damn ozone layer. My legs were so burnt I couldn’t actually straighten them for days! Walking was a serious challenge. Waking up a few days later in a dorm room (bottom bunk...luckily), still in agony, I pulled back  what had been a bed-sheet soaked in cold water to help ease the sting so I could sleep, only to take a layer of skin off with it! 

It’s not big and it’s not clever, kids, always use protection. 

Ten years on, I still have a yearning for having a tan - a fact that after six months honeymooning around the world in some of the hottest climates I’m not sure is humanly possible for me! The extent of my progress was realistically moving from Very Fair 01 to Fair 02 in the foundation stakes! These days, there are more anti-ageing products gracing my bathroom shelves assembling a line of defence against the highly-documented fact that sun damage is a cause of accelerated skin ageing. Pale I might be, but I’m hoping I’ll be seeing the benefits in my 40s and 50s as I truly have learnt the lessons of my careless, sun-cavorting youth!

Along with the now essential fake tanning session required on the eve of beautiful weather, here is my skincare toolkit for keeping pale skin safe in the sunshine (and one to relieve skin SOS!)

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo(+) SPF30
A brand I am loving at the moment for its blemish-solution skincare, I have become so obsessed Effaclar Duo that I now own all three iterations available: #1 the original; I use this as a serum before day/night cream to really sink into the hormonal nightmare on Chin Street, #2 with SPF30; great UVA and UVB protection to work into your everyday routine, especially if your day cream doesn’t, and #3 with B.B. blur; a great light base with a hint of tan-like coverage to let your skin breathe instead of slathering it in foundation (guilty, Serg).
La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+
Giving a mighty SPF50 protection, the higher the better when it comes to protecting your face from the sun. This product is incredibly light, non-sticky, non-greasy and available with and without tint. I picked up this one after hearing great reviews over on YouTube and was so pleased to have had the added colour to help warm up my skin tone for poolside antics. This Anthelios product is perfect for all skin types (even oily, combination as tried and tested by yours truly). Converted. 

What I’ve come to love is mixing it with the Effaclar Duo BB Cream which has a slightly thicker texture (containing those spot-hating ingredients) and slightly more coverage and I’ve got one hard-working, beautiful base.
Dry-Mist Sun Protectors
Gone are the days of white, chalky, sticky creams and lotions. Now, the texture library for SPF protection has blown wide open. I can remember experimenting with a shimmering suntan lotion on a holiday to Mexico a few years ago...pretty sure I looked like even more of a sweaty mess than usual! 

I’m an advocate for applying my bodycare SPF totally butt naked (...just the first application of the day, I might add!) - it’s a trick passed down from a family friend to avoid those nasty slices of red from where your swimwear moves throughout the day and a streak of unprotected skin gets you caught out! Whilst I still practise this, I’ve gained 10 minutes of my day back thanks to these new formulations, without having to wait for the lotion or cream to sink in! This summer, whilst away in Europe, I used three different brands who all promised “non-greasy”, “non-sticky” “ultra-light” dry protection mist. Total game-changer.

Nivea Sun Protect Lip Balm SPF30 
Very rarely do I go anywhere without a lip balm (work meetings, loo breaks), I have so many dotted around (night stand, coat pockets, desk drawer, every handbag I possess) and Nivea and EOS are my brands of choice. Whilst red lips can be great painted in Mac’s Ruby Woo, mother nature’s versions of sun-red lips is horrendous. I highly recommend you keep one of these in your beach bag and top up regularly! I find dry lips the perfect alarm clock for topping up all my SPF protection!

Elemis Instant Refreshing Gel
I carry a little travel size of this in my in-flight skincare bag of tricks. I find it the perfect aching foot relief and it’s tingling menthol action super invigorating on a long-haul flight. I’ve also now added this to my list of sunburn hacks for soothing any redness, especially when that skin-hotness is prohibiting you from sleeping!

Whether you are trolley-dashing Boots ahead of an imminent summer holiday or lapping up this glorious British weather (did I actually just write that??!), the time for beckoning some serious sun protection skincare is now to ensure the only thing in the ice bucket are the drinks (and not my legs!)


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