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I love a good sunscreen or sun care system. I firmly believe that it is one of the most important steps you can take to care for your skin on a daily basis to preserve your skin health, the structure within it (collagen and elastin) and to protect against sun damage. I’m very choosy about a number of things when it comes to finding the right products for me. I need a good level of protection against UVA AND UVB. I have two patches of pigmentation/dark spots on my forehead from sun damage that I sustained when I was younger so I am always conscious about ensuring that I do all I can to protect them from any further deterioration by using great quality products to care for my skin.
Also, I need a non-greasy formula that doesn’t leave skin feeling tacky or clogged up so I look for stunning textures. I enjoy lighter textures on the body and I like hydrating options for my face that can also act as my daily moisturiser with added benefits to make my routine simple and easy.
Cosmeceutical or scientific based technologies harnessed in skincare and sun care products really is where it is at, in my opinion, for proven results and proven protection and a level of research that can give us as consumers confidence.
Institut Esthederm’s sun care products claim to protect ‘youthfulness’ and stimulate a natural tan. They have focused their research to explore how the skin interacts with the sun and they have an original approach to protecting the skin which seems ‘alien’ to me as we are so used to choosing a sun protection product by factor number – factor 20 and so on.
They believe that by letting through just the right amount of sun, it retrains your skin to defend itself and tan quickly. Your skin is supposed to adapt to the sun on a cellular level. As the products do not use the SPF rating system that most of us are familiar with you choose the product by your skin type and the strength of sun from which you wish to protect yourself from – gentle sun, moderate sun, strong sun, extreme sun and so on. The products stimulate the tanning process to give you a long lasting luminous tan whilst filters protect against UVA and UVB rays.
Institut Estherderm has a sun care approach that counters preconceptions:
- Excessive exposure to the sun is a danger, as is its absence
- Tanning is a skin’s natural way of adapting to the sun: the skin is protected as it tans
- The SPF is not sufficient; it provides information on the degree of protection against sunburn and not against photo-ageing.
Adaptasun Sensitive Protective Face Care – Moderate Sun
This cream sunscreen is specially formulated for sensitive skin flagged for ‘moderate sun’ exposure.
You apply it to the face 20 minutes before sun exposure. This is not a once a day sunscreen. You must reapply every two hours after your first application to maintain the ‘protection’.
I have tried the face care in different ways, on bare skin and I have also used it under a primer and make-up which contains an SPF and not bothered to reapply (as practically speaking you could not re-apply without removing your make-up). I applied it to my face, neck and décolletage.
It provides a beautiful base for make-up to glide on and leaves the skin looking slightly glowy, plump, soft and well-moisturised if left alone.
The texture is divine; it is hydrating but did not leave my skin greasy or shiny.
The scent is pure ‘holiday in a tube’ – warm, clean, coco-nutty, expensive and just absolutely gorgeous.
I have tested the product for two sunny days in the UK where temperatures were between 18 – 20 oC with very little cloud cover/virtual clear blue sky. I can say that I did not notice a worsening of the pigmentation patches on my forehead thankfully. My main facial skin (forehead/cheeks) did not burn or redden during or after sun exposure but my nose was red and a little burnt, I was careful about the application as a seasoned sun care user and I was not out in peak hours or for longer than thirty minutes or so. My skin felt conditioned and hydrated during and after sun exposure.
Institut Esthederm Adaptasun Sensitive with a Moderate Sun rating comes in a 50ml size and can be purchased for £42.50 here.
Bronz Repair Protective Anti-Wrinkle and Firming Face Care – Strong Sun
Just like the Adaptasun Sensitive Protective Face Care this is a cream sunscreen and is flagged for ‘strong sun’ exposure based on Institut Esthederm’s ratings and it also claims to contain repair technology to preserve and protect collagen fibres and elastin, so it is a bit of a souped up version of the face care with added skincare benefits for anti-wrinkle and firming.
I haven’t been able to use the product for long enough to see any benefits in terms of firmness or wrinkle improvements but much like the Adaptasun Sensitive the scent is the same and my skin was left beautifully hydrated. The texture of the cream is so gorgeous, it just melts into skin.
I tested the face care over two days in the UK in temperatures of between 23 – 25 oC with no cloud cover and blue sky. Again there was no worsening of the pigmentation patches and thankfully with this version I did not end up with a burnt nose. Again my skin felt conditioned and hydrated during and after sun exposure.
Bronz Repair Protective Anti Wrinkle and Firming Face Care in a Strong Sun rating comes in a 50ml size for £55.00 and can be purchased here.
Suncare Oil – Active Age Protection Tanning, Sublimating Body and Hair Care – Extreme Sun
This sun care oil is silicone and alcohol free and has the same beautiful scent as the face care products.
It is also multi-purpose for hair and body protection in the sun and for use as a dry oil to nourish, smooth and scent your hair and body irrespective of sun exposure so you can just use it as a decadent body and hair hydrator.
The product has an ‘extreme sun’ rating. The oil is dry to the touch and absorbs almost instantly which I love. It isn’t greasy at all.
You need to spray evenly over the body and hair 20 minutes before sun exposure. You also need to re-apply every 2 hours and immediately after swimming.
When I think of body oil it reminds me of the opposite of ‘sun protection’ – think ‘baby oil’ and roasting in the sun like a chicken! Eeekkkk! No way!
I have an olive skin. Even though I religiously use an SPF 30 on my body I have an extremely tolerant skin and tan very easily, quickly and evenly if I do expose my skin to the sun. I like a subtle glow and great conditioned skin that gleams. If I want to bronze my body and face up then I have an array of self -tanning products I can use to get colour – the formulations are so advanced and lovely to use these days.
I used the sun care oil all over my legs and arms for four days in temperatures of between 18 – 25 oC with strong sunlight and very little cloud cover. Sadly on the days that I used the sun care oil I did start to sizzle in the sun, the tops of my arms and my knees started to go bright pink/red after fifteen or so minutes of exposure outside of peak sunlight hours of the day, this never happens to me with a conventional sun screen and I do not usually burn or get any redness on the skin on my body when in the sun. The redness appeared during every session in the sun and I didn’t see a cumulative effect in terms of protection over time personally.
The dry body oil did leave my skin sooooo soft and as a hydrator alone I found it very nourishing and softening.
The Sun Care Oil with an Extreme Sun rating comes in a 150 ml size for £42.50 here.
You have to reapply all the products every two hours during sun exposure/sun bathing or after swimming. I personally do not mind that at all, I would rather re-apply often for maximum protection; this may make the range more suitable for holidays or weekends and make-up free days as opposed to being a choice for the town or City during a working week.
Institut Esthederm Sun Care Conclusions
Institut Esthederm Sun Care pros:
- You know I am all about the scent! The scent of the products is divine, like the dreamiest summer fragrance without having to apply a perfume; the body oil fragrance is particularly long-lasting. I applied it and could still smell it on the air and on my skin some hours later. I always think that a holiday, whether home or away, is about creating memories and one whiff of your favourite sun cream or oil can take you back to a special place in an instant. Institut Esthederm have certainly got the fragrance right, it is beautiful.
- The textures are sublime and melt into the skin. The oil is a dry oil, sinks into skin quickly and isn’t greasy. The creams are hydrating, sink into skin quickly and leave skin plump and glowy.
- As daily moisturisers or general body care products they are an absolute pleasure to use.
Institut Esthederm Sun Care cons:-
- The rating system is difficult to understand as a consumer – how do you assess the intensity of the sun? What is moderate sun? What is extreme sun? Is it based on temperature? Cloud cover? Altitude? How much protection is this product actually affording me? The brand really needs some simplification in my opinion to be more relatable to consumers as you take a leap of faith as you don’t really know what level of protection you are getting for your skin.
- As sun care products and with reference to their efficacy then I struggle. Institut Esthederm have been researching, developing and testing for years and I appreciate I am no expert and I can only tell you about my experience, I don’t like having a burnt nose and red knees and arms following sun exposure, it says to me that I am being provided with no protection at all.
- Is there such a thing as a ‘safe tan’? To me ‘getting a tan’ is a sign of skin damage and the production of melanin is the skins defence mechanism against exposure to UV radiation.
I appreciate that no sun care product can provide total protection but a good, reliable broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun care product is where it is at for me. I have been in countries where temperatures have been in excess of 45 oC and never burnt with a good broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun care product used correctly.
The Skin Cancer Foundation website has a wealth of information and sunscreen sections that I hope you find useful.
What do you think? Have you tried the Institut Esthederm sun care range?
Find our guide to what we think is the best budget sun cream here
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