Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sunscreen: a VERY necessary evil

Skin cancer runs in my family, so I've always been pretty vigilant about sun protection, but last weekend, I made the idiot mistake of using old sunscreen. Sunscreen starts to lose it's power after about a year, so I got a burn. Ick. The worst part is that I was wearing a strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline, so I have funky tan lines. Ick again.

Now, obviously I replaced my expired sunscreen, but it was a harder buy than one would think. See, even though I know that sunscreen is a necessity, I kind of hate it--it smells, it's sticky, it can make you break out, and it can leave stuff on your clothes. Facial sunscreen, I think is the hardest--it's best to find a foundation with SPF. That way, you won't have to remember the extra step in the morning, and you won't slack off when it's cloudy. Supposedly, Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer is amazing (I've never tried it).

Unfortunately, the foundation that best matches my skin doesn't have SPF, so I have to put some on under it in the morning. Obviously, I don't want anything that I'm rubbing into my face to clog my pores or alter the way my foundation looks, so I'm pretty damn picky about facial sunscreen. My undoubted top pick is Neutragena UltraSheer sunscreen. It really actually is sheer, it dries quickly without drying you out, it's never made me break out, and best of all, comes in really high SPf. 'Nuf said.

It's tempting to prioritize your face above all else, but it's important to wear sunscreen on all exposed skin. Frankly, I'm not going to spend as much on sunscreen that goes on less delicate skin, but I still hate sunscreen that's sticky and messy, so I still have discriminating taste. What I'm using right now is Aveeno's Continuous Protection Sunblock, and it really does seem to last a long time. Better yet, it's not sticky or greasy. Basically, it's all I need.

Now, it probably sounds right now like I have somewhat low standards for sunscreen, which is definitely not the case. Here's the thing--all sunscreen here is pretty much the same. Obviously, formulas are a little different, but two different sunscreens that are SPF 45 will give you the same protection. Interestingly, sunscreen in Europe is different. They use more advanced complexes that offer better, more complete UVA and UVB screens. Basically, you're less likely to get skin cancer if you use one of them. My pick for European sunscreen is Vichy, because it's just lovely (like, won't make you break out, will disappear into your skin, and, some say, protect from wrinkles), but it's really hard to find in the US. You may be able to find it online (I know people are selling it on ebay) if you're really interested, though. I, personally, hope to get some right from the source soon. . .

But, in the meantime, I'm going to be vigilant about my inferior sunscreen anyway.


Blogger ivegotanaxe said...

I know what you mean. My family is very pale as well (Scottish and Russian - not the bronzest heritage) and if I don't put on sunscreen in the morning, I can get burned from five minutes at a gas pump. The type I use is Neutrogena Healthy Defence Oil-Free sunblock, SPF 45. I've had better, actually, but I really like this one, despite the fact that it feels a little greasy at first. It smells really good, like citrus.

5:55 PM  
Blogger La Principessa said...

Cool, I'll keep that in mind! I hate the smell of traditional sunscreen. Thanks for the tip!

3:07 PM  
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