According to a Dermatologist, These Are the Best SPFs for Mature Skin

As a beauty editor, I'm often asked by my female relatives if they should bother wearing SPF. My mum, who is now in her sixties, worshipped the sun during her twenties, thirties and forties, often while wearing a generous layer of baby oil—sometimes even cooking oil — to maximise her tan in the summer. *Shudders*.

Thankfully, we are now much more informed about the dangers of sun damage and skin cancer than back then, and wearing daily SPF is more commonplace now. Alongside the known dangers of the sun, UVA and UVB rays also play a huge part in skin changes such as pigmentation, fine lines, melasma and wrinkles. It's estimated that around 80-90% of skin ageing is attributed to sun exposure—yet another reason we should be applying SPF daily, even during winter and on cloudy days, and not just in the summer and on holiday.

Grace Ghanem wearing big sunglasses and earrings in black dress with palm trees behind her

(Image credit: @greceghanem)

Just recently, my grandma spotted the early signs of skin cancer on her nose—which was thankfully treatable and safely removed—and it became a wake-up call for all of the family to be a lot more careful in the sun. In short, it's never too late to start protecting your skin by wearing a good SPF.

So, what are the best SPFs for mature skin? I enlisted the help of Dr Hiva Fassihi from OneWelbeck Skin Health & Allergy, London, to share how to find the best SPF for your skin, as well as some dermatologist-approved recommendations.

Does mature skin need SPF?

In short, yes. Everyone can benefit from wearing SPF, regardless of your age. "Mature skin needs sunscreen for the same reasons that skin at all ages need sunscreen – to protect from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR)," says Dr Fassihi.

"With increasing age, skin often becomes dry and sensitive secondary to chronic sun exposure. There is also more photodamage with redness, pigmentation, and wrinkles secondary to loss of collagen and elastin. Additionally, studies have shown that women lose about 30% of collagen in their skin during the first five years of menopause," she adds. "The use of daily sunscreen can help reduce and improve these signs of skin photoaging and also prevent the skin becoming even more red and sensitive over the years."

When should I wear SPF?

"I encourage my patients to wear their sunscreen every day, regardless of how bright and sunny it appears outside. It is important to remember that UVA, the main cause of skin aging, is present all year round, even on dull days," says Dr Fassihi.

"Sunscreen should be applied generously after cleansing in the mornings. Care should be taken to cover all exposed parts of the face and neck, including the delicate skin under the eyes. After waiting 15 minutes for the preparation to fully absorb into the skin, then makeup can be applied on top," she says.

Thankfully, there are plenty of formulas, textures and application alternatives to help you top up your SPF protection throughout the day. "The newer spray-on mists such as La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Anti-Shine Face Mist SPF 50 (£18), which can be applied over makeup, allow convenient topping-up during the day without disturbing your makeup," says Dr Fassihi.

What to look for when choosing an SPF for mature skin

"When choosing a sunscreen at any age, it is important to look for a high SPF value, such as 30 or 50+, and good UVA protection," says Dr Fassihi. "This means that the product will give the best possible protection again sunburn and will also protect against UVA which causes skin aging. The amount of protection a sunscreen provides is related to how thickly it is applied onto the skin, so be generous with your sunscreen application," she adds. Many experts suggest a dessert spoon sized amount, or around two fingers worth of product to effectively protect your skin.

Next, you want to consider the type of SPF for your skin type. "If the skin is dry and sensitive then I would suggest choosing an SPF 50 with no fragrance and minimal ingredients. Those with a higher contents of mineral (physical) sunscreen filters (often found in children’s sunscreens) are tolerated better by people with sensitive skin," says Dr Fassihi. "Anthelios UVMune 400 Hydrating Cream SPF50++ offers very high broad-spectrum facial sun protection for dry sensitive skin in a moisturising perfume-free formula. The netlock technology delivers a non-migrating and very resistant sunscreen with reduced eye stinging," she says.

For those with normal skin to combination skin, she recommends the Anthelios UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50+, which offers an invisible non-greasy formulation—making it ideal as make-up primer, whereas those with sun damage will benefit from Anthelios Age Correct SPF50, which protects the skin and also addresses dark spots and pigmentation.

"There is now a broad selection of sunscreen for all skin types on the market," says Dr Fassihi." There are a variety of textures, with or without a tint, allowing you to pick the perfect product for your skin type."

Scroll ahead for some of our favourite SPFs for mature skin.

The Best SPFs For Mature Skin

Summer Fridays skincare products on vanity table

(Image credit: @ironnsalt)

1. Best Everyday SPF: Templespa Life Defence SPF 50
2. Best SPF For Dark Spots:
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF 50+
3. Best Lightweight SPF:
Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF 50
4. Best Tinted SPF: Beauty Pie Luminous Mineral Skin Tint Broad-Spectrum Spf 40 Sunscreen
5. Best Hydrating SPF:
Lumene Fresh Hydration Moisturiser SPF 50
6. Best Fragrance-Free SPF:
SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense SPF 50+
7. Best SPF Under Makeup:
Elemis Pro-Collagen Skin Protection Fluid SPF 50
8. Best Affordable SPF:
Garnier Ambre Solaire Anti-Age Super UV Face Protection SPF50 Cream
9. Best SPF For Sensitive Skin:
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Uvmune 400 Hydrating Suncream SPF 50
10. Best Mineral SPF:
Avène Very High Protection Mineral Fluid SPF 50+
11. Best Chemical SPF:
Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin Featherlight UVA/UVB SPF 50 + Primer
12. Best SPF For Oily/Acne Prone Skin:
Heliocare 360 Gel Oil-Free SPF 50
13. Best Invisible SPF:
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 30 PA+++

1. Best Everyday SPF

2. Best SPF For Dark Spots

3. Best Lightweight SPF

4. Best Tinted SPF

5. Best Hydrating SPF

6. Best Fragrance-Free SPF

7. Best SPF To Wear Under Makeup

8. Best Affordable SPF

9. Best SPF For Sensitive Skin

10. Best Mineral SPF

11. Best Chemical SPF

12. Best SPF For Oily and Acne-Prone Skin

13. Best Invisible SPF

Eleanor Vousden
Beauty Editor, Who What Wear UK

Eleanor Vousden is the beauty editor for Who What Wear UK. She was previously deputy editor at Hairdressers Journal, health writer at Woman & Home and junior beauty editor at beauty website Powder. She has also contributed to Wallpaper and Elle Collections with written and styling work.Working as a beauty journalist since 2015 after graduating in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion, she has been highly commended at the BSME Talent Awards for her work on Powder and also contributed to the title winning Website of the Year at the PPA Awards.Eleanor’s journalistic focus is to provide readers with honest and helpful beauty content. Through words, video and live broadcast, she has interviewed several celebrity makeup artists, hairstylists and top dermatologists throughout her career, as well as celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson. She has a particular interest in finding solutions for acne and eczema, which she has experienced firsthand. She has also amassed a large collection of fragrances and can never say no to a new candle.When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty product or treatments, she’s on the seafront in her hometown of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her partner and her miniature dachshund.