Ultrasun kids review – the latest sun protection
With a light breeze blowing from the sea as we splashed in the deliciously cool water of the hotel pool, it was easy to forget how fierce the tropical Malaysian sun really is.
Looking at more than a few people with viciously bright pink stripes on their back and shoulders, we weren’t the only people to be fooled. Fortunately for my daughter’s lily white skin (and my own winter-pale body), we had brought our secret weapon: Ultrasun.
I’ve been raving about the brand since we first tested it four years ago in Lanzarote. I’ve packed it for Burma and Cambodia, for Cape Verde and California, for Oman and the occasional sunny day in the UK. And over the years, we’ve worked through a fair chunk of the range, including some of the specialist facial protectors and almost everything with SFP50.
But if the products have varied, the reasons I love them haven’t:
- sun protection that’s gentle enough for my daughter’s skin but tough enough to stop the burn
- a once-a-day formula – vital when she was an unwilling toddler, still really useful as a resigned five-year-old who would much rather be doing something else
- lasts for two years, thanks to the airless pumps which stop the ingredients deteriorating – which also means more value for the money
- water resistant formulations which also come with some clever extras – topping my list are the glimmer version to disguise blinding white skin, the face anti-pigmentation formula and the tinted face option
And now there are two new additions: an SPF50+ Kids formula with Celligent (more on that below) designed specifically for under 12s, plus an After Sun Tan Booster, both of which were packed for our tropical island escape.
But back to Celligent: as well as the usual very high protection from UVA (at 95%) and UVB (SPF50+), this added ingredient is designed to boost protection for younger children who have very limited natural defences against the sun – such as my five-year-old, who has spent much of her travel time shielded from the sun by an array of methods.
Protecting cell DNA in under-12s, it’s ideal if you want to ensure little ones’ skin is being kept safe at pretty much every level – studies have shown the ingredient can help UV-related cell and DNA damage to regenerate more rapidly.
The reason it’s aimed at under 12s is that by this point, skin has had enough general exposure over the years that it won’t get the same benefits – there’s nothing to stop you snaffling a bit and making the most of the UVA/UVB benefits though.
If that’s the science, what’s the reality? It’s the usual easily absorbed cream, so no greasy or sticky finish and no white stripes throughout the day, along with no perfume, preservatives or other allergenic nasties to ensure even sensitive skin can tolerate it. There’s no gritty feeling either, which I’ve occasionally found with other high SPF products.
Minnie will never be enthusiastic about having suntan lotion put on, but while she can normally find something to complain about when I cream her up (even my beloved glimmer version is too sparkly, the first time she’s ever considered sparkles less than desirable), the only objection on holiday was that my hands were cold!
Even more to the point, does it work? One week swimming and exploring on an island that’s less than 500 miles from the equator and she didn’t burn. A light tan after one long swim session meant I usually upped the dosage to two applications per day for the second half of the holiday – better safe than scarlet.
Sticking with my tried and tested faithfuls, there were no frightening fuchsia patches on me either. But while my brain knows the scary consequences of sun damage, from melanoma to looking like a leathery handbag by the age of 50, my brain is also convinced that I look better with a bit of a glow. Fortunately UltraSun has a solution there too in the form of its new aftersun.
With a tiny 2% of DHA – self tan – in it, you can get a bit of colour without having to fry all day long for it AND all the usual aftersun benefits. Instantly cooling and hydrating, it’s more than a nice moisturiser, helping the skin’s own moisture retention, so it feels lovely, ensures skin recovers better from any sun exposure, turns you gently tanned and smells nice. If you’ve ever used fake tan, you’ll know exactly that lingering aroma that comes with it – I won’t say there is no hint of it at all, but it’s definitely hidden by the fresh aftersun scent.
If you’re as pale as me and you’ve ever used fake tan, you’ll also know that however careful you are, it’s easy to end up with random brown patches. Virtuously applying this every night, I remained entirely free of telltale tan zebra stripes and less likely to blind passersby with the glare from my legs. Phew.
With my suitcase almost always full to bursting, a multitasking product always gets my vote. And after a lazing day chilling out (or one scampering round after a five-year-old), I’m also very happy to have one product to apply at the end of it – no need to choose between protecting skin and looking good. Who can argue with that?
Need to know
Both products are available from Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and QVC. The new kids’ formula costs £30 for 150ml and is also available from Amazon. The After Sun Tan Booster costs £24 for 150ml.
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Disclosure: The new products were sent to me from Ultrasun for the purposes of review. All opinions, including those on the dangers posed by my pale legs, are my own. This post also includes some affiliate links: any purchases you make are unaffected but I may get a few pennies in return.
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