Sunnin' With Sunscreen

Enjoy the Sun and Protect Your Skin

Sunnin' With Sunscreen

Sunlight provides us a vitamin D fix and gives us a mood-lifting boost through the release of the “happiness” neurotransmitter hormone serotonin. But too much sun may be dangerous to our health; and this is where sunscreen plays an important role.

Finding a good sunscreen and understanding why can be a tad overwhelming at the pharmacy (eczane in Turkish). We have spoken to the experts, scoured the internet, compiled a list of sun care products that are readily available in Turkey, and explained why they may be a good option for you. But first, let's talk terminology.

Although the benefits of sunscreen are widely known, the abbreviations and labelling can be a tad confusing. Don't worry, we have you covered. Here is a breakdown of commonly used terms to help us understand what we need in sun care.

UVA (Ultraviolet A): Essentially, UVA radiation does not burn but will penetrate deeper than UVB rays. UVA rays comprise the biggest percentage of our UV exposure, and they accelerate the effects of aging and cause skin cancer.

UVB (Ultraviolet B): UVB radiation is more intense than UVA and consequently causes sunburns. Although these types of rays contribute less to our overall UV exposure than UVA rays, UVB rays cause serious and immediate danger to the uppermost layers of skin.

SPF (Sun Protection Factor): SPF states how much UVB light is being filtered out. As a comparison, an SPF 15 sunscreen blocks about 94% of the sun’s UVB rays, whereas, an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks about 97% of such rays. Sunscreens stating 50 SPF shield against approximately 98% of the sun's rays and allows two percent (1/50th) through.

UPF (ultraviolet protection factor): UPF is a protection factor for clothing, hats, and fabrics. Similar to PSF, the UPF number indicates what fraction of the sun’s UV radiation (both UVB and UVA) that can penetrate the fabric. For example, a shirt labeled UPF 50 blocks 98% of the sun's rays and allows two percent (1/50th) through.

Broad Spectrum: The term broad-spectrum means that the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. All sunscreens temporarily protect against UVB; however, some let UVA through hence the importance of protection against both.

PA (Protection Grade of UVA): This widely recognised Japanese measurement ranking is based on the PPD (persistent pigment darkening) reaction of sun exposure. It essentially measures the SPF of a sunscreen. According to the Japanese Cosmetic Blogger, Ratzilla, the Japan Cosmetic Industry Association, UVA protection factor lists the grading of PA as follows:

• PA+: the UVA protection with factor of PPD is between 2 to 4 hours
• PA ++: 4 to 8 hours
• PA +++: 8 to 16 hours
• PA +++: 16 and higher

It is important to note that although many products on the market are labelled as “broad-spectrum”, some may not provide effective protection against UVA rays. Therefore, the PA rating provides additional comfort to those looking for a good understanding as to the UVA protection of the product.

MINERAL/PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN: Mineral sunscreens use natural minerals, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active ingredients. These minerals simply sit on top of your skin as a physical barrier and protect by reflecting UV rays. Mineral sunscreens are sometimes called physical sunscreens because they provide a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s radiation.

CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN: Chemical sunscreens have active ingredients that are typically non-natural chemical compounds, such as ecamsule, oxybenzone, avobenzone, and homosalate. The active ingredients in these sunscreens absorb then dissipate the sun’s UV rays, rather than blocking the radiation.

WATER RESISTANT: A water-resistant rating indicates how long the sunscreen remains effective while you are swimming or sweating. A sunscreen with a water-resistant rating of 40 means that after 40 minutes of swimming or sweating, you should reapply the sunscreen.

SPORT: The term “sport” on sunscreen is a marketing term to appeal to active individuals. Look for the water-resistant factor on these products.

Your choice of sunscreen depends on your requirements as there is not a one-size-fits-all product. From general use to specific treatments and concerns, the list of products is vast. For more specific skin concerns, please speak with a licensed dermatologist or skincare specialist.

Please note that prices listed will vary and are intended as a guide to the average price.

These sun care products are readily available throughout Turkey at pharmacies, drugstores and supermarkets ranging in prices and sizes.

80-150 TL
Mustela’s sun protection products are specially designed to protect babies and children from UV rays.

Nivea Sun
50-60 TL
Nivea has a full range of sun and after sun skin care for the entire family.

Garnier Ambre Solaire
45-65 TL
From water-resistant to sensitive to dry-mist formulas, Garnier’s Ambre Solaire has what the family needs to a day at the beach.

Hyperpigmentation, such as age spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or melasma, is caused by an increase in melanin, the natural pigment that gives our skin, hair and eyes color. The primary causes of hyperpigmentation are sun exposure/damage, hormonal influences, age and skin injuries/inflammation (such as acne). Sunscreen for hyperpigmented skin is essential as it protects your skin from further damage and, in some cases, helps minimise the appearance of the spots.

Photoderm M Spf 50+
80 TL
This sunscreen provides a very high UVA/UVB and blue light protection. It uses glabridin (an ingredient derived from a licorice extract) that helps limit the photoinduced melanin production. Therefore helping prevent hyperpigmentation as well as reducing the appearance of existing spots.

Ultra Cream SPF 90
100 TL
This fast-absorbing, light-weight product contains fernblock, an antioxidant that prevents DNA damage. It also contains retinol that stimulates the growth of new skin cells and helps keep your skin moisturised. It is a good choice for those suffering from hyperpigmentation as well as for after skin treatments, such as laser treatment or microdermabrasion.

Creme Solaire Dry Touch Matte Effect Face Cream SPF 50
100 TL
An excellent sunscreen for oily, acne-prone, hyperpigmented skin. This sun care product contains titanium dioxide, plankton (which is rich in zinc and has antibacterial properties), and an organic compound called Mexoryl SX (FDA approved for high protection against UVA and UVB). It has a thick consistency that spreads well and absorbs sweat and shine leaving a dry and matte touch.

Eryfotona Actinica Suncreen SPF 50
250 TL
Esthetician Nastya Berseva of Cosmetology Istanbul recommends this product for individuals with hyperpigmentation looking for a good mineral sunscreen that is fast-absorbing and also helps repair existing sun damage. Nastya also mentioned that in the last month or so the product has been a little harder to find, likely due to the limited cargo shipments during the quarantine.

It is important to note that most sunscreens suited for darker complexions are chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens provide a mineral barrier that may leave a whitish sheen on your face that can bother some fair complexions. So, you can only imagine the frustration such products would have for individuals with darker skin tones.

Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++
715 TL
This gel primer was reviewed by YouTube beauty blogger Jackie Aina with rave reviews for three good reasons: it's colourless, blurs the appearance of pores, and doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue. On the downside, it is expensive; however, if you are also looking for a primer as well as a sunscreen for daily use, this may be a good option.

Hydro Boost Daily Moisturizer SPF 25
40 TL
This a daily moisturiser developed with a UVA/UVB sunscreen and hyaluronic acid. It helps keep your skin hydrated and protect against pollution, dryness, & sun damage. It absorbs quickly and leaves skin supple without being greasy.

Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid
La Roche-Posay
85 TL
La Roche-Posay products have a good reputation and are easy to find in Turkey. This sunscreen doesn’t leave a white cast and goes on super light without that oily feeling on the skin.

Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50
300 TL
This is the only mineral sunscreen on the list in this category. According to Dami Khadijah, Refinery29 UK's strategic partnerships and client services manager, “This is literally the perfect mineral sunscreen for dark skin. There's absolutely zero white cast.”

For individuals with sensitive and acne-prone skin, it can be challenging to find a product that doesn’t sting or cause flare-ups. However, going without sunscreen is not the answer as many with sensitive and blemish-prone skin have the potential to develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and sun exposure may make it worst.

Oil Free Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 30
500 TL
This Dermalogica product is good for both oily and blemish-prone skin. It's lightweight and goes on sheer. The combination of zinc gluconate, caffeine, niacinamide, biotin, and yeast extract helps protect your skin from UV rays and absorb excess oils for a shine-free finish. Dermalogica products have a loyal following and readily available in Turkey. However, they are generally rather expensive here—this product is no exception.

Anthelios XL Dry Touch Gel-Cream SPF 50+
La Roche-Posay
100 TL
This is the second La Roche-Posay sun care product to make the list and for good reason—the Anthelios product line are sunscreens specifically formulated for sensitive skin. This sunscreen has a clear, matte finish and works well in the heat and humidity.

Very High Protection Cleanance SPF 50+
Eau Thermale Avène
80 TL
Avene Cleanance is another recommendation by esthetician Nastya of Cosmetology Istanbul for blemish-prone skin because it “has the UVA/UBA protection, a soothing moisturiser and is good for sensitive skin.”

The skin under your eyes is much thinner than the rest of your face. This makes it an easy target for sun damage. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses is helpful for protecting your eyes and the delicate skin around them. As an added defence, using an eye cream that contains SPF agents in its ingredients provides further protection from those aging sun rays.

Prevage Anti-Aging Eye Cream
Elizabeth Arden
600 TL
This is a multi-defense eye cream that uses Idebenone, a powerful antioxidant, to fortify the skin under the eyes, minimise fine lines and prevent signs of aging. Elizabeth Arden products are available in Turkey; however, not as readily available as others and, of course, they are expensive. As with most high-end skincare products, a little does go a long way.

Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50
250 TL
This eye cream has a slight tint to blend in with most skin tones; a mousse-like texture that adsorbs quickly; and is good for the entire eye area, including the eye lid.

Sun Protection Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 34
200 TL
This is a rich eye cream that helps minimise the appearance of fine lines and moisturises the eye area. It may take a bit of time to absorb, but doesn’t interfere with makeup and has a slight illuminating effect.
Of course, don’t forget that clothing can also provide a great barrier against the sun’s harmful rays. Unlike sunscreen, protection from clothing is consistent over time and doesn’t wear off. Nature fibres such as loose-fitting linen and cotton are cool in hot weather, look good and are naturally UV resistant. And, of course, a hat with a wide brim all the way around is not only great for shading your eyes, ears, face and neck, but is also a great fashion accessory. The more skin you cover, the better.

Got a great idea for an article? Are you bursting with tips, ideas and resources about living in and visiting Istanbul? Do you have a small business or project that serves Istanbul and want to be featured? Check out our submissions guidelines for more information and to be featured in an upcoming 'Bloomer Picks' article.