Although the sun may seem weak or even nonexistent throughout the spring and in the start of summer, you should apply sun protection anyway. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum sun protection of SPF 30, and cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman of NYC’s Mt. Sinai Medical Center agrees. In her book “Skin Rules,” Jaliman suggests an SPF 30 moisturizer for daily use year-round.
Even if it’s for a quick trip to the supermarket, the time you invest in this step in your skin care regimen will pay off in the long-term, “Remember, sun damage is cumulative; even ten minutes of exposure a day over the course of a lifetime is enough to cause major problems,” she warns.
If you are already oily-skinned, the idea of adding moisture to your skin may make you nervous. One alternative Jaliman suggests is Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Brush, which is a fluffy brush pre-loaded with sun protection in an oil-control powder formula. You can get it in SPF 30 or SPF 50 to suit both how sunny your climate is and the fairness of your complexion.
When you’ll be spending time in direct sunlight, it’s necessary to apply something with better coverage and higher SPF than your sun-protecting moisturizer. Jaliman’s preference is physical sunscreens versus chemical ones, which provide a stronger physical barrier to the sun’s harmful rays. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are ingredients you should look for, which offer skin-soothing benefits in addition to sun protection, particularly for rosacea and eczema sufferers.
M.D. Tip: Seek out brands that have more coarsely ground particles. Jaliman’s book mentions studies that found zinc particles in the bloodstream of patients who used sunscreens with zinc nanoparticles, and other reports caution about cancer risks. Although some countries’ laws require companies to disclose nanoparticles, the U.S. is not one of them, so do your homework.
If you’re spending your spring and summer in a high altitude area, your SPF should be even higher. Don’t forget your head! A spray product will help you get good coverage on your scalp and where your hair is parted, which can get burned easily. If you don’t want to risk wrecking your ‘do with sunscreen on your strands, try a hat with SPF protection in the fabric instead. I personally own one from The Wallaroo Hat Company that is not only stylish but discreetly adjustable with a drawstring on the inside, too.
A red kisser is a perfect accessory, but only when it’s from a good gloss and not a bad burn! There are plenty of products out there with SPF, but few that have made the cut in my makeup bag because of funky flavor. For a clear coat of protection, try Coola’s liplux SPF 30 and for a refreshing sensation that blocks the sun with some color, go for Moisture Plus ultra hydrating lip balm from Carmex. You can get it in clear, but the pink, peach, plum and berry tones are flattering for everyone with SPF 15.