Which is why the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that, regardless of skin type, you wear a water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 year-round that includes broad-spectrum protections against both UVB (burning rays) and sneaky UVA rays - which, unlike UVBs, are present even on cloudy days, can pass through glass, and are able to penetrate much deeper into your skin's layers.
"A well formulated sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater (and greater is better) is a daily must!" agrees beauty and skincare expert Paula Begoun, author of "Don't Go to the Beauty Counter Without Me" & "The Original Beauty Bible." "To avoid as much sun damage as possible, make sure any sunscreen you’re considering contains one or more of these active ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, ecamsule (Mexoryl SX) or, outside the U.S., Tinosorb. In addition to the active ingredients, look for sunscreens that contain antioxidants (such as vitamin E, green tea, or pomegranate) as these help boost skin’s environmental defenses and reduce the impact of sun damage...Lastly, do not make the mistake of thinking you only need to apply sunscreen once and you’re set for the day. You MUST reapply sunscreen at regular intervals (typically every 2 hours) to maintain the level of protection stated on the product. It is critical to reapply after perspiring, swimming and toweling off."
What a fabulous rationalization for indulging in some beauty product shopping, stat! "Why yes, I’m buying this to take care of my health!"
Yes, you are.Here are some of our favorites:
Neutrogena Age Shield + Repair Sunblock SPF 55
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30+ Fragrance Free Sensitive
Paula’s Choice Ultra-Light Weightless Finish SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray
& for sensitive skin: Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50 with Purescreen
The barely-there feel belies the heavy-duty protection, while the self-dispensing powder brush makes this breakthrough, sheer formula easy to apply & reapply throughout the day. A tip from the derm that's proved worth its (light)weight in skincare gold! Celeb fans include Cameron Diaz and porcelain-complected Cate Blanchett. Need we say more? Colorescience.com
MOST LIKE MAKE-UP: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
Sheer, lightweight, and with just a hint of color for a natural finish and healthy glow. Contains SPF 20 for solid anti-aging protection, and it's also suitable for sensitive skin. A cult fave for good reason. Sephora.com
An Allure 2009 "Best of Beauty" winner for "Best Facial Moisturizer for Normal Skin" and one of The Daily Green’s 2010 picks for 21 Best Natural Sunscreens. The gaga over this one is justified by its key ingredient, Mexoryl SX, a unique organic UV filter that also fights off short UVA waves and is the first new sun filter to be approved by the FDA in 18 years (although it's long been a suncare standard in Europe). LaRoche-Posay.us
LUX FOR LESS: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55
Not only Paula-approved, but beloved by beauty editors at Allure and Real Simple. Sheer, lightweight, a matte finish - all for under $10, meaning you can buy it without having to live on berries until your next paycheck. (We similarly gave Neutrogena's new Ultra Sheer Liquid SPF 70 a massive thumbs up for an unbeatable combination of protection, flawless finish, and insanely affordable pricetag.) Neutrogena.com
In an independent, national survey of US dermatologists of over 50 different brands, for two of the last five years SolBar has been the number one recommended sunscreen. If you are of serious athletic inclination and find yourself logging endless kilometers on some sun-baked stretch of road, remember that you can’t laugh off lizard skin. You’ll need a hardcore sunscreen and this stuff delivers. Coolibar.com
And what about Vitamin D, you ask? Good sunscreens block about 97% of UVB rays from the sun, however, it’s these very rays that stimulate your skin to produce Vitamin D. So will using a sunscreen lead to a vitamin D deficiency? There is a global deficiency in this key nutrient according to a flurry of recent research, and we apparently need more than scientists used to think we did, but a vitamin deficiency is easily curable, while skin cancer...let's just say that the weathered look is best left to your vintage Balenciaga bags.
The solution? Keep slathering on the sunscreen and find another alternative. While food is usually the best place to look for nutrient goodness, for Vitamin D, it's a bit scarce; you can get a decent dose in cod liver oil or salmon skin, neither of which is very appealing unless you happen to be a polar bear. Sigh. Take a supplement. 1,000 IU of D3 are recommended, but remember darlings: check with your physician first.
- Jacqueline Hampton, Beauty & Style Editor at Large
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