How to choose sunscreen, according to Zelens


M: State your position re: sunscreen, E.

E: I use a sunscreen in factor 1 million (I try to keep a small tube in my handbag, often this dinky Clarins number) on my face and cleavage on sunny days. The rest of the time, fuggedaboudit. You?

M: Religiously apply the minute sun breaks the thick cover of British perma-cloud, due to mortal fear of ageing and sun spots. I used this Avène sunscreen last summer, and was pretty pleased with it. But you freaked me out the other day, E, with your talk of spousal toe skin cancer.

E: Check your moles, people. Even between your toes. Melanoma is totally unfunny.

M: Between that and our chat with Dr Lens of Zelens the other day, I’ve been meticulously checking my boyfriend for suspicious moles, in the manner of a monkey looking for delicious fleas.

E: Ew. Dr Lens wrote the UK clinical guidelines on melanoma. The man knows skin. And sun.

Dr Marko Lens

Dr Lens: sharing the SPF gospel.

M: Like an angelic sun protection guru. We gathered the following bits of Dr Lens sun wisdom:

1. Ensure your sunscreen is photo-stable. Basically, avoid sprays – the alcohol content makes it go wonky – and pick a reputable brand (Boots Soltan and La Roche Posay both got the Lens nod of approval), because there’s currently no test for photo-stability.

E: 2. Factor 30 is the best factor. Factor 50 gives you a false sense of security and minimal additional protection. 3. Always choose broad spectrum, obvs.

M: 4. Use a BOTTLE A DAY of sunscreen on holiday. A big fat heavy bottle.

E: Hmm. No one in the history of the SUN has ever done that, including the good doctor.

M: True. I recommend a kaftan and a hat.

E: I recommend holidaying in the Yorkshire Dales. Anyway, we had this scary sun chat because, surprise surprise, Dr Lens has just launched his own sunscreen. What did you think of it, M?

M: It’s ace. Lightweight, acts like a rather good primer.

E: Agreed. I didn’t really understand the whole ‘micro-encapsulation ensuring chemical sunscreen isn’t absorbed’ bit. I was waiting for Jennifer Aniston to tell me to pay attention.

E: But I understand the hylauronic acid and the botanical anti-oxidants. Um, I think. It’s super-charged, good-for-your-skin sun protection, basically.

M: It’s a fine product with spotless scientific credentials, E, but there’s one little problem for me.

E: I think I can guess: the punishingly expensive price point?

M: That’s right. You’re supposed to put a teaspoon on your face and neck every day. There’s, what 20 teaspoons in there?

E: Maybe 30.

M: If you scrape the tube innards onto your face.

E: That will totally happen. Even so, that’s, what, over one quid fifty an application!

M: Indeed. What price ageless beauty and cancer-free skin, E?

E: Fifty five quid, apparently, M.

Zelens Daily Defence Sunscreen SPF 30, £55

Would you splurge on sunscreen?
If you missed it on the Guardian, go laugh at our Game of Thrones makeovers.

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M likes bright powders in tiny pots and anything that will make her hair more Jen Brill and less Shaun the Sheep.

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