“ Brand: Superdrug / Type: Sun Spray „
Adequate suncare is vital to protect us not only from the pain of sunburned skin and the risk of cancer caused by the sun's harmful rays, but also to prevent premature ageing of the skin. I think people neglect this essential part of personal care partly from laziness, partly from the misguided belief that they will need to be out in the sun for a long time and in blazing sun to require protection and partly because they deem the products available to be too expensive.
I've always been a bit skeptical about the budget suncare brands but the labelling and testing of suncare products has lately become more reliable making it a little easier for consumers to know what they're getting. If you look on the back of your bottle of sun cream or spray you should see a circle with the letters UVA inside. This means that the product gives protection against UVA rays. However, as the price of your product increases (usually) you'll see a number of little stars on the bottle too, from one to five stars; this denotes the level of protection the product provides against UVA rays (one being at the lower end, five at the top); however, there's no requirement for a manufacturer to add those stars and it's entirely possible your product can be giving you a good level of protection even if no stars are shown. (Of course, you might assume that the manufacturers with the most expertise will want to ensure they clearly show how effective their product has been proven to be.)
I recently bought this SPF 30 suncare spray from Superdrug's Essential range. Superdrug labels products in the Essential range:
"This product is just one of hundreds in the Essential range from Superdrug. each has been designed to give you a no frills, quality product for an affordable price".
As I spend a lot of time outdoors cycling and walking (and recently a frustrating amount of time waiting for buses in a shade free location) I get through a lot of sun cream. I like to have a healthy tanned colour (but I don't go out deliberately to sun bathe) but I have naturally fair skin so I ensure I wear protection and re-apply it regularly. I wear sunglasses most of the time so I do tend to wear SPF 50 on my face because the glare of the sun reflects off the glasses and can be more dangerous on the face but I find that SPF 30 is adequate on hot days in the UK if frequently re-applied.
In theory this spray will allow you to spend thirty times longer in the sun with just one application: so if you normally burn after ten minutes exposure, you should be able in theory to be out for 300 minutes before burning if wearing this sun care product. Personally I don't believe that it's safe to spend five hours in the hot sun with only one application of cream or spray and I know that I would burn if I did that. This product is labelled water resistant but as with all such products you should re-apply immediately after swimming.
This Essential spray comes in a white bottle which tapers slightly to make it easier to grasp and has ridges in the tapered section so it's easier to grip with hands that have touched the spray. The lid stays on well which is good for me because the bottle tends to get thrown into the backpack with a load of other stuff., including unwrapped fruit. The spray is dispensed using a pump mechanism which is easy to depress with one hand.
The product is white and has an appealing fragrance which is apparent but not overpowering. The spray is non greasy and easily absorbed but I do find you need to use a lot to get good coverage. I usually carry wet wipes when out and about but after rubbing this product into my skin I find i can climb back on my bike and not worry about wiping my hands. I tend to wear old t-shirts when out cycling so I don't worry if sun cream gets on my clothing but I have found that the spray does not mark clothing.
I've been using this product for about three weeks now and it has certainly been the weather to trial it. I haven't burned while out for quite long periods including unavoidably being outside in the hottest part of the day in temperatures in the high twenties and low thirties. I've used this product according to the instructions applying twenty minutes before going outdoors and re-applying frequently.
The only negative for me is that I found that the back of my hands did burn; it's a part of my body that is particularly sun sensitive and I have returned to using my Sunsense SPF 50, an Australian product that is only of the only things I have found that stops me coming out in a rash on that part of my body. The product is dermatologically approved and I'm sure that the rash is due to my skin sensitivity to the sun, and not to the sun spray.
This spray comes in a 200 ml bottle only which is disappointing as a smaller one would meet the cabin baggage liquids allowance and would be more convenient for putting in a handbag and would be easier to carry in a pocket while cycling if I didn't want to take a bag. As a keen recycler, however, I do keep small pump action bottles to re-use and I just decant into the smaller container as I need to.
At just £2.49 for 200 ml this is an inexpensive product. It's good to know that it offers some UVA protection but it would be useful to have a star rating too. As it is not explicitly clear how much protection this spray gives I would avoid prolonged use and I wouldn't use it in very hot countries when on holiday and likely to be exposed more frequently and for longer periods.
If you are watching your spending and baulk at the cost of other brands, then I suggest you give this product a try. I've found it no less effective than brands like Solait or Soltan based on similar usage and it appears to offer reasonable value for money.