Sunscreen picks for all skin types

May 30, 2009 5:31:31 AM PDT
Remembering to apply your sunscreen this summer could help keep you looking young and more importantly, cancer-free. InStyle magazine has made some top picks for sunscreen this year, for all skin types. What is SPF?
What does UVA/UVB mean?

SPF = Sun Protection Factor
only measures protection against UVB (aka burning) rays

FDA currently creating new monograph for quantifying UVA
UVA (or aging) rays are lower in intensity but more prevalent than UVB
it exists all year, even when not sunny out
- Both types of rays damage skin and lower immune system, so you need a broad spectrum formula that blocks both
look for physical blocks like titanium dioxide or look for mixes of chemical blocks like avobenzone and oxybenzone

How much sunscreen should I be applying each time?
How often should I re-apply?

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests the following guidelines:
-Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors. When using sunscreen, be sure to apply it to all exposed areas and pay particular attention to the face, ears, hands and arms.
-Coat the skin liberally and rub it in thoroughly - most people apply only 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen.
-One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly.
-Don't forget that lips get sunburned too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
-Sunscreens should be re-applied at least every two hours or after swimming or perspiring heavily. Even so-called "water-resistant" sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes in the water. Sunscreens rub off as well as wash off, so if you've towel-dried, reapply sunscreen for continued protection.
-Also, while there are a number of combination cosmetic products, such as moisturizers that contain sunscreen, it is important to remember that these products also need to be reapplied to achieve continued UV protection.

Sunscreen stings the area near my eyes. Do I need a separate block?

- skin around eyes is thinner and more delicate than on the rest of the face
chemical sunscreens can cause a reaction
- use a mineral formula near the eyes, we love:
COLORESCIENCE SUNFORGETTABLE SPF 30 BRUSH (Q+A)$50; dermstore.com (one quick swoosh and you're done!)
- another gentle option is baby sunscreen
NEUTROGENA PURE & FREE BABY SUNBLOCK STICK SPF 60+; $8; drugstore.com

FAIR SKIN:
LaRoche-Posay Anthelios 40 Sunscreen Cream
$30; at CVS
- great for light skin
- dermatologists are obsessed with this sunscreen
- contains Mexoryl SX, a patented UVA filter widely considered the most effective on the market
- formerly available in SPF15, now available in beach-friendly SPF 40

DARK SKIN:
HAWAIIAN TROPIC SPF 15 PLUS
$8; at Wal-Mart
- great for dark skin which already has natural SPF between 4 - 5
- higher SPFs on dark skin often look chalky
- the sheer chemical UV blocks in this formula are virtually transparent and won't look chalky on dark skin

SENSITIVE SKIN:
NEUTROGENA SENSITIVE SKIN SPF 60+
$10; at Walgreens
- great for sensitive skin
- contains no irritants like fragrance, oil, or PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)
- 100% mineral sunscreen
- surprisingly light for a heavy-duty formula
- absorbs in seconds with no greasy residue

OILY SKIN:
DDF MATTE FINISH PHOTO-AGE PROTECTION SPF 30
$32; sephora.com
- great for oily skin
- oil- and fragrance-free
- it's completely matte
- contains potent cocktail of free radical-scavenging antioxidants (that helps minimize skin damage)

SPORT USE:
AVEENO CONTINUOUS PROTECTION ACTIVE SUNBLOCK SPRAY SPF 30
$11; drugstore.com
- great for sports
- disperses in ultrafine mist
- not greasy or sticky
- sweat-resistant
- easy to reapply

NATURAL USE:
BURT'S BEES SPF 30 CHEMICAL-FREE SUNSCREEN with HEMP SEED OIL
$15; burtsbees.com
- uses only natural products
- creamy, nonwhitening formula feels like other chemical sunscreens
- very eco-friendly -- packaging made from 26% recycled material


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