With all this hot weather around, we all need to be applying some sun protection.

Your skin needs to be looked after when you’re out and about in the sun so you need to make sure you have the right level of protection in a sun cream but is a branded sun cream any better than a supermarket or pharmacy (such as Boots, Superdrug etc) own brand? Let’s have look at how to make sure you’re not overspending but still getting the right protection.

What makes a decent sun cream?

We all know sun creams are a necessity, they are probably one of the first things you buy before a holiday or pack before a day out in the summer sunshine.  But they can be expensive, especially considering they don’t last very long. You shouldn’t be keeping a sun cream for longer than 12 months, as it can make the UV protection ineffective.

When you’re considering buying sun cream there’s probably one number you really concentrate on. The big one on the front, the SPF number. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.

This ranges from around 4 or 5 all the way through to 50+.  The number which medical groups recommend is at least 30.

What the SPF number specifically shows is the protection you get against Ultraviolet  B rays, or UVB.  Theses are the rays that tend to burn your skin.

So, the higher the SPF number is, the greater the protection, the longer the protection you’re going to get from these rays.

The sun’s rays have more than one type of UV ray coming from it. What you also need to be looking out for when you are making your sun cream purchase is protection against Ultraviolet A rays, or UVA.

A good sun cream should hopefully show both UVA and UVB ratings.

So how do you know how good that protection is? SPF isn’t anything to do with the UVA.  You need to look for some stars. Bigger packs of sun cream should hopefully have them shown on the front but it might be on the back, especially smaller packs.

You should be looking for at least four stars. That’s going to give you the protection that you need.

Is more expensive sun cream better?

If the product you’ve selected has got at least factor 30 as well as at least four stars on the UVA, then all the sun creams are basically similar.  At least they are doing the same thing in terms of protecting you from the sun’s rays.

So it doesn’t matter if you’re purchasing from Aldi or Asda for a couple of quid or whether you’re  spending £10-12 on one of the big posh brands, they’re not really doing anything different.