Original art by Jasmine Troche
If you don’t know that sunscreen is your number one warrior in the fight on aging, then you’ve been living under a rock, and it’s best that you stay there, because it’s the only place where the sun’s harmful rays won’t getcha. For the rest of you, oh enlightened ones, you realize that lack of sun protection will result in premature wrinkling, ugly dark spots and worst case scenario, skin cancer. Happily, good sunscreen is no longer one-size-fits-all and you’re going to want to have a few different formulas in your beauty cabinet.
So which ones are best? With all the recent FDA rules and regulations on sunscreen that have taken effect it’s great to know that there are standards to be followed. Make sure you select a broad spectrum sunscreen. Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Mark tells us, “The most important reason the new regulations are beneficial is because there is now a strict guidance on when the term ‘Broad Spectrum’ can be used. In order for a product to say it’s broad spectrum, it must protect against UVB and UVA rays”
However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll like each formula as they all have different characteristics and if you don’t like the texture, feel or color of the product, you’re not going to use it. NY Dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross, once said to me, “The best sunscreen is the one you’ll use”. As you test them out, you’ll probably find that you prefer to use a variety of sunscreens on different body parts for a variety of reasons. As a pale skinned redhead, I’m the perfect guinea pig for testing, and here are some of my recommendations:
Okay, let’s start with fashion. Wear a sun hat. Not just any hat, mind you. Not all straw hats block out the harmful rays. Just like the SPF factor in sunscreen, clothing and hats are rated by their UPF (ultraviolet protection factor). The standard range is 15 (good) to 50 (excellent), so why not go for excellence and enjoy a great looking fashion as well? The contrast rim straw hat by Tropical Trends protects the whole head, while the open top adjustable visor by Scala is perfect for saving hairstyles or for showing off a ponytail. Both boast UPF 50 and spring back to shape when folded or squished into an over packed suitcase. Wear now, but remember to save for your winter getaway to sunny shores too!
Luxury lovers don’t have to compromise. Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50+ by Shiseido goes on light and clear, and is never sticky. Perfect under their fantastic foundation or your own fave. Shiseido’s uber high end technology has created a moisturizing sunscreen that nourishes the skin while it protects by controlling enzyme activity which causes wrinkles and discoloration.
Available: Bergdorf Goodman, Saks’ and http://www.shiseido.com
Here’s a problem many of us have. We put our makeup on in the morning before work and give ourselves snaps for being diligent about slathering on the sunscreen before foundation. Later, the 5:00 whistle blows and we’re on our way to the latest, trendy rooftop bar for a sun filled happy hour or two. We know the sunscreen has lost its effectiveness all these hours later, but the thought of washing our face, then re-applying the sunscreen and makeup again turns happy hour into hassle hour and we’re often tempted to skip the process. That’s not good. Recently, the very chic and always camera ready NY Dermatologist, Dr. Jeannette Graf, turned me on to the solution, Avene’s High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50. It applies like cream foundation but is actually a tinted mineral sunscreen that can be used hours later as a touchup on top of existing foundation, or also works as your daily foundation from the get go. Along with UVA/UVB protection, High Protection contains powerful antioxidants so you’ll be ready for the camera too my little Ms. Sunshine.
You’re already familiar with tinted SPF protection for your face, but La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 50 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Fluid for Body provides tinted, 100% mineral based coverage for all that exposed skin you’d like a little color on. Such a great idea…..no white residue, and it can be used from head to toe. Additionally, the fragrance-free formula is water resistant up to 40 minutes, is allergy tested as well as tested on sensitive skin.
Beach alert: Your legs no longer have to be as white as the sand!
MD Solar Science has added a push up stick to their line of highly effective, yet gentle sunscreens. Push up sticks are great because they fit easily into small pockets, never spill and are easy to reapply throughout the day. This Natural Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 40 can be applied all over. Its balm-like consistency leaves no oily residue, is unscented and is so easy to apply on delicate ears, lips and eyelids – it’ll never burn either! I love to keep it in my purse to constantly reapply throughout the day. It’s also perfect for you outdoorsy types, and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
CeraVe’s Face Sunscreen SPF 50 is a broad spectrum purely physical sunscreen with a patented Micro Zinc Technology, or to put in simpler words, it dries clear and won’t leave you looking like a ghost .Love that! The gentle oil-free formula goes on smooth and applying foundation over it is not a problem at all. As an added bonus, it contains ceramides that help repair skin. Swimmers take note, it’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Available: Major drug store chains and http://www.cerave.com
Paula’s Choice, by Paula Begoun, the “Cosmetics Cop” has me addicted her Ultimate Anti-Aging Hand Cream SPF 30. I live in fear of age spots and keep this tube in my handbag at all times. Just like any hand cream, it moistens and softens, except with the added benefit of SPF 30 and antioxidants. The fragrance free cream goes on white but quickly disappears and never feels sticky.
Whether you’re out playing sports or prefer to sit on the sidelines watching others, you’ll want this sweat resistant Sport Spray SPF 50 from Kiss My Face. Why? Because it won’t spoil the game by burning your eyes as the sweat pours down your brow. It sprays on easily and its coconut scent will bring back that tropical vacay feel even if you’re only in the backyard, or at the Chelsea Piers. Sprays on easily too.
All the brands listed here have extensive sunscreen products; I’ve simply listed some of them, but do go their websites and check out their others as well.
Thanks for these terrific dermatologists for their input.