The Secret World of SPF Enhancers

The Secret World of SPF Enhancers

If you slather on SPF religiously and still get burned, there are usually two explanations: 1.) You’re not applying it often enough or 2.) You’re not using an effective product. But there’s also a third, lesser-known reason: you’re not utilizing the power of SPF enhancers. What are SPF enhancers? Why, we’re so glad you asked.


Keep flipping to get schooled on the secret world of SPF enhancers!


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    Enhancer #1: SPF Supplements

    We’ll start off by saying this—there’s no evidence that SPF supplements, like the ones by Heliocare, should replace your daily SPF use. However, there is some evidence that extracts of Polypodium leucotomos—Heliocare’s active ingredient—can offer at least some added sun protection. In one study, Polypodium leucotomos extract actually blocked skin-damaging enzymes and helped build up collagen in human skin samples that were exposed to UV rays. We suggest treating SPF supplements as an add-on to your daily SPF regimen, not a replacement.


    Other options: Colladeen Visage, Life Extension Enhanced FernBlock

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    Enhancer #2: Antioxidant Serum

    Here’s the deal—sun damage is an oxidative process. UV rays cause the release of damaging free radicals; antioxidants protect your skin from them. In one study, researchers proved that topically applying an ointment with antioxidants vitamin C and E prevented visible sunburn and deeper sun damage. With that in mind, you should incorporate an antioxidant serum into your skin regimen if you burn easily. We like Caudalie’s Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum ($62) and Jurlique’s Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum ($54).

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    Enhancer #3: SunSpheres

    Other than having a catchy name, what exactly are SunSpheres? We like to think of them as SPF boosters—they feature a hollow sphere technology that actually improves the UVB and UVA protection in your sunscreen. The polymers allow your sunscreen to stay as lightweight as possible, while offering maximum UV protection—plus, they leave your skin looking smooth and soft.

    Look for them in tlhe ingredients list as “styrene/acrylate copolymer.” Some of our favorites sunscreens with: Ole Heriksen Protect The Truth Vitamin C SPF 50+ Sunscreen ($35), La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid ($34), and Coola Sport Classic Sunscreen Organic Suncare Moisturizer ($32). 

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    Enhancer #4: SPF Powders

    SPF powders are an invention that we feel strongly about, and we firmly believe more people should incorporate them into their skin routine. Made with refined minerals, these powders are contain titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and iron oxide particles, which block the sun’s rays by creating a physical barrier over your skin. Plus, they’re powders, which mean they’re great for anyone prone to oiliness. Try Chantecaille’s Protection Naturelle Loose Powder ($72) or Jane Iredale’s Powder-Me-SPF Dry Sunscreen ($46).

EXPLORE: Skin, How-To


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