3 SPFs That’ll Protect Your Skin Against Pollution In The City

Image of Antioxidant SPFs, Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Protection Day Screen SPF50, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Imperfections Corrective Gel-Cream SPF50+, REN Clean Screen Mineral Sunscreen SPF30

If you’re shopping for a new sun cream, you are most likely to look for a high factor 30 or 50 with a good star rating. If you know a thing or two about SPF, broad-spectrum should be on your checklist too. However, one ingredient that may not be on your radar are antioxidants, and they should be, especially if you live in the city. Similar to antioxidants in healthy foods, antioxidant SPF protects your skin cells against free-radicals like pollution and UV rays.

What are antioxidants, and why do I need them in my SPF if I live in the city?
Antioxidants (vitamins and minerals) neutralise free-radicals linked to oxidative stress (a.k.a skin ageing) by donating an electron. Free radicals are responsible for breaking down elasticity, firmness and collagen (all the bad stuff). Examples of harmful free-radicals are pollutants from cars or industry, cigarette smoke and of course, sunlight (UV radiation), and guess what? Our cities are full of them!

In this edit, I’ve selected three antioxidant SPFs that provide powerful antioxidant and UV protection that is well suited to life in the city. There are options for both chemical and mineral SPF lovers, vegans, and there’s even one that targets skin problems such as acne, breakouts and pigmentation in this line-up…


#1 The Mattifying Eco-Friendly SPF

Swatch image of REN Clean Screen Mineral Sunscreen SPF30

Texture: Cream


•Broad-Spectrum (UVA, UVB, Blue Light)
•Environmentally and reef-friendly
•Natural zinc oxide (22%)

Why is it good for living in the city?
A powerhouse of antioxidant protection, REN Clean Screen harnesses the natural passion fruit Seed extract to fight against harmful city pollutants and oxidative damage linked to premature ageing and more serious skin problems like melanoma. The mineral formula lends itself well to oily and combination skin and thanks to its rice starch that works to absorb excess sebum when you’re on-the-go. The finish is matte and smooth, which I’m a fan of because it works well under makeup, and my base stays shine-free for longer than my other everyday SPFs while I’m on-the-go.

Learn more about REN Clean Screen…
When the Clean Screen first launched last year, top beauty magazines, editors and experts only had good things to say. No mean feat, this antioxidant SPF is backed by six years of research, and with so many years of work, there’s no surprise that the result is an exceptional SPF that is also good for the planet. As you can imagine, every inch of this formula has been considered, from the vegan, reef-safe formula, the incredible feel and wear, and the recycled plastic used in the packaging.

For more reasons to love this SPF, read Co-Editor Chelsey’s edit.


#2 The Anti-Pigmentation Fluid SPF

Swatch image of Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Protection Day Screen SPF50 30ml

Texture: Light Fluid


•Broad-Spectrum (UVB, UVA)

Why is it good for living in the city?
Your go-to daily SPF may protect you from UV rays, but does it contain antioxidants that’ll stand up to polluted city air? Clarins Anti-Pollution SPF 50  is specifically designed for urban living and is packed full of plant-powered antioxidants such as organic alpine sanicle and cantaloupe melon. Together they protect skin from free-radicals that result in oxidative stress (see above) as well as broad-spectrum UV rays.

The ultra-fine fluid feels watery on the skin at first, until you start to rub it, and then it absorbs instantly; creating a velvety, almost transparent finish that gives my skin a tiny bit of tackiness, which means it adheres to my foundation perfectly. I apply it under my makeup, and if anything, I find it makes my foundation stay on longer. The best part? It doesn’t interfere with my base, that means no pilling or not too much shine! When I’m strapped for time, I like to mix my SPF with moisturiser, which makes its thin consistency ideal.

Learn more about Clarins UV Plus:
Even though incredible antioxidant protection is enough, Clarins anti-pollution SPF 50 has more to offer. You probably know that sun exposure will give you a tan, but what you might not realise is that UV rays can result in dark spots, which can lead to pigmentation and uneven skin tone. UV Plus anti-pigmentation formula combats this and more. A true all-rounder, it prevents dark spots, so your complexion stays radiant, even and youthful, which now I’m almost 25 I can get behind!

Read Co-Editor Ceryn’s edit to learn more here.


#3 The Anti-Blemish Gel-Cream SPF

Swatch image of La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Imperfections Corrective Gel-Cream SPF50+

Texture: Non-sticky gel-cream

•No white marks
•Broad-Spectrum (UVB, UVA)
•UVA-PF 21
•Salicylic Acid
•Infrared-A Protection

Why is it good for living in the city?
Meet your intercity companion, the Anthelios Anti-Imperfection SPF50+. The innovative XL-Protect™ technology is powered by a combination of powerful antioxidants. UV filters protect your skin from pollution as well as harmful infrared rays (from scrolling your mobile on your commute) that cause collagen breakdown and UV-induced pigmentation.

Hate post-sun breakouts or shine? Oily skin types, this antioxidant SPF is your best ally; it contains Airlicium™ mattifying technology and micro-particles that repel sweat (preventing bacteria build-up). It even absorbs excess sebum, so you can enjoy the sun safe in the knowledge that your complexion is clear and shine-free. The texture? Forget the sticky feeling you get with most SPFs, the lightweight formula is super comfortable and is just what I reach for on hot days.

Learn more about La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Imperfections SPF:
As you can see from the list above, the benefits of this antioxidant SPF are endless (if you haven’t already, take a look!). This formula is extra special because it also targets existing spots, which is an acne-prone skin’s dream SPF! It contains skincare ingredients like salicylic acid to unclogs pores, along with do-it-all niacinamide that reduces redness, pore-size and smooths skin texture. Of course, this is aimed at oily skin, but that’s not to say it can’t be used by all skin types. As someone who’s prone to the odd bad skin day (especially when the temperature starts to change), I find it’s a good one to keep on hand for those days when my skin needs some extra control.


Discover more:

• What Does SPF Mean?
5 SPFs For People Who Hate Wearing Sun Cream

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