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Posts Tagged ‘sun safety’

summer1

 

I suspect that no matter where you live, you can already sense summer’s approach. For those living in more northern climes, it may have been an unusually warm day, or lighter, skimpier clothing displayed in department store windows. Here in northern California, we’ve had some bizarrely warm days–warm enough for shorts.

I relish preparations for summer. OK, I admit, I use the change of season as an excuse to buy a few new pieces for the wardrobe–you know, something to make me anticipate sand between my toes, the clear cool of a lake, or an travel adventure in a foreign land. I also like to fully prepare my arsenal for protecting my skin against stronger sun rays, and longer times spent in the sun. But in all honesty, these products are ones I use year-round… I just like to stock up before summer.

 

summer2

 

This year’s sun protection favorites include:

Burnout Sunscreen, $17.99 for 3oz – This continues to remain my favorite.* Reasonably priced, and all natural, this non-nano-particle zinc oxide-based cream goes on easily, doesn’t give you the white “Casper” look, provides true SPF 30 protection and doesn’t sting the eyes.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream, $39 for 1.7oz – I still find this all-natural, tinted “BB” cream superior to any other natural BB creams available. The moisturizing formula goes on beautifully, provides SPF 30 using a non-nano zinc base, and comes in several natural shades. I use it every day–religiously. When I want a little extra coverage, I simply brush a bit of mineral-based powder over my face after I’ve applied the CC Cream.

BrushOnBlock, $32 for .12oz – I really like this mineral-based SPF 30 powder for touching up during the day and for when I want extra coverage over my tinted face cream/block. It’s the perfect size for carrying in a tote bag or even a small clutch. It controls oily afternoon shine–if you’re prone to that, and makes reapplying sunscreen easy.

La Natura Botanicals Green Tea Hand Cream, $16 for 3oz- I only recently discovered this product, but I became an instant fan. The formulation feels rich, but absorbs quickly thanks to a little rice and cornstarch in the ingredients. It also has a nice, light herbal scent, which I’m always on the lookout for since I’m so scent-sensitive. As I’ve gotten older, my skin has gotten increasingly drier–a trend that’s amplified on my hands, and made worse by all the dishwashing and gardening I do.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm, $6.99 for .15oz – I think I own every color this product comes in! The six subtly-colored shades provide long-lasting moisture, and the easy to use, “Chapstick”-style tube make this product a go-to for purse, beach bag, etc.

Most importantly, remember the basics:

  1. Apply sunscreen every day–rain or shine, and reapply often if you’re going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time or you’re swimming.
  2. Avoid chemical formulations, and look for mineral, zinc oxide formulations with an SPF of 30.
  3. The sun’s rays are typically at their strongest between the hours of 10am and 3pm.
  4. Make use of hats, cover-ups and rash guards. All three are available in so many great styles, and many can provide sun protection superior to any cream or lotion (and without the hassle of reapplying).

Summer here we come!

 

*I used the Honest Company’s sunscreen last year, but while I liked the non-whitening, super-moisturizing formulation, I agreed with a lot of the media that it didn’t provide the SPF 30 it claimed to. I don’t know if they reformulated the product, but once I hear they have, I will give it another try.

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legs2

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago my constant battle with “spots,” otherwise known as melasma, liver spot, sun spots, hyperpigmentation. I may have become  a sunscreen convert in my 20s with regards to my face, but I have always allowed the rest of my body to soak in the sun with little to no precaution taken.

Well those spots haven’t just taken up residency on my face. The decades of sun exposure now tell their tales across my legs, arms and hands. And while my chest isn’t freckly or spotty like you see with many fair-haired women, I can see the damage wrought by the sun when I shrug my shoulders and a dozen lines appear across my chest –proof that the skin has lost its elasticity.

Now I recall the years I laid in the sun, slathered not with Johnson’s Baby Oil, but with some equally insufficient oil or lotion, with an SPF of 4 and the luscious smell of coconuts. In fact, recently, while looking through old photos, my husband asked, “Who’s this girl on the beach with your cousins?” “It’s me!” I promptly replied. “What? It can’t be… She looks Black,” was my husband’s response. When I recalled that the production of melanin is your body’s natural response to injury, I could only respond with a heavy sigh.

It’s not just vanity that is causing my spot obsession… I want to set a good example for my children who are still young enough to influence, and who are exposed daily to the intensity of our Californian sun. I hope to instill in them great respect for the power of the sun (think solar as well as radiation), and get them to think of applying sunscreen the same way they view brushing their teeth or getting dressed.

2015 sunscreen

 

I’m only recommending one sunscreen this year, although I still like Burn Out (Ocean Safe and Sensitive formulas), and Kinesys Earth Kind Sunscreen Ointment if you’re going to be in the water for an extended period of time, due to its water-proof quality. However, Honest Co.’s Honest Sunscreen Lotion is my all-around favorite this year. It’s formulation (which, like all my recommendations relies on non-nano zinc oxide) is more elegant than Burn Out which means it goes on easier and is absorbed into the skin better. It’s also much more moisturizing–so much so that it feels like you’re just using a regular face or body lotion. (While not an issue for my family, I know others have found the Burn Out to be somewhat drying.) And I love the price–just $13.95 for a 3 oz tube or if you have access to a Costco, $19.95 for two 2 oz tubes.

A final comment about sun safety… While many people now understand the damaging effects of the sun’s rays, and use sunscreen daily as a result, most of us don’t take the next essential step: reapplication. People often think you only need to reapply sunscreen if you’ve been swimming or sweating, because both can wash off the sunscreen. However, most sunscreens also begin losing their effectiveness after just a few hours. To stay adequately protected throughout the day, reapply sunscreen every 3-4 hours.

Safe sunning!

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