Winter is no time to get complacent about sun protection, especially in Southern California.
You accumulate more sun exposure than you think over the decades of driving or going to lunch at high noon, when the sun is strongest.
That’s why dermatologists encourage daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen and why skin-care companies have worked to put sun protection ingredients into products that are easy and even pleasurable to use every day.
Cosmetically elegant formulas of sunscreen are now available in hand lotion, lip balm, moisturizer, body lotion, foundation, face powder and primer.
The American Academy of Dermatology suggests a minimum SPF of 30, and the use of broad-spectrum formulas that block deeply penetrating, skin-aging UVA rays and burning UVB rays. The academy also reminds us that preventing skin cancer and sunburn “outweigh any unproven claims of toxicity or human health hazard from ingredients in sunscreen.”
Santa Monica dermatologist Dr. Adriana Schmidt advises patients to make sun protection a daily habit, first with avoidance, then by shade and clothing.
When selecting sunscreen though, “the No. 1 rule is to find the products that are convenient to your lifestyle,” said Schmidt.
Rule No. 2: slather.
“Studies show, in general, that nobody puts enough on. You’re supposed to use 1 ounce per application for your whole body, but everyone seems to still have the same not-empty tube at the end of the summer,” she said.
Rule No. 3: reapply.
While it may be tough to redo your makeup when you’re dashing out for lunch, at least target the areas most likely to develop skin cancer. That commonly includes the back of the neck, tops of the ears and head for men, and those areas plus the chest, backs of the hands and shins for women, said Dr. Teresa Soriano of the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. And wear a wide-brimmed hat.
Layering products containing sunscreen won’t necessarily double the protection factor, said Soriano, but that may help ensure that you use enough to prevent burns, wrinkles and especially skin cancer.
There are plenty of products to try alone or in combination with another to provide extra defense, including these few:
Hides dark circles too
A bestseller in the Neova skincare line, Neova DNA Damage Control Silc Sheer 2.0 is a lightweight formula that capably covers skin tone imperfections with a veil of tint, even hiding dark circles. With a water-resistant, broad-spectrum SPF 40, the sun protection is durable but translucent, though it’s rich with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The makers claim that proprietary enzymes and a trademark delivery system combine to repair visible sun damage. The almost-powdery finish layers well under sheer makeup for additional coverage. $45. neova.com
An exact match
Though many multi-tasking sun protection products work like a foundation to even skin tone, it can be hard to find the exact shade to match your complexion. MAC Studio Fix Fluid is lightweight, moderately sheer and oil-controlling and comes in 42 shades, ranging from deep mocha to porcelain, while also providing broad spectrum SPF 15. Starting at $28. maccosmetics.com
Makes reapplication easy
By putting a BB-formula foundation into a moistened cushion, the South Korean brand Laneige has won worldwide fans who like the combination of sheer coverage, hydration, color correction and sun protection. The Laneige BB Cushion Hydra Radiance with Broad Spectrum SPF 50 mirrored compact travels well and makes reapplication easy. Use the included foam applicator for light, buildable and dewy coverage that evens skin tone. $38 and up. sephora.com, laneige.com
Evens skin tone
An environmental warrior, Murad’s City Skin Age Defense (SPF 50) is an all-mineral, broad-spectrum sunscreen made to bar pollutants like carbon particles and shield skin from blue light, the high-energy visible light emitted from electronic devices that’s thought to accelerate skin aging. The weightless formula’s peach tint can even skin tone without leaving a white residue. $65. murad.com
Easy, glide-on stick
Made without the potentially irritating oxybenzone, parabens, petroleum or fragrance, Beyond Coastal Active Face Stick, SPF 30, delivers easier coverage of face, nose and ears. The moisturizing base of coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter gets good safety ratings from the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit consumer resource agency. The compact, half-ounce stick stashes easily, so protection for easy-to-burn spots is always handy. $6.99. beyondcoastal.com
Masks fine lines
Dermalogica Sheer Tint Sunscreen SPF 20 features broad-spectrum protection. The moisturizing sunscreen from this Los Angeles-based company also provides translucent coverage that diffuses light to mask fine lines. dermalogica.com
Convenient brush dispenser
Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-on Sunscreen (SPF 50) is a loose mineral sunscreen in a convenient brush dispenser that is easy to reapply, even over makeup, and can dust away telltale shine from liquid sunscreens. Just don’t inhale while you’re powdering. $64. colorescience.com
Water resistant too
A convenient pump dispenses a medium-weight, tinted sunscreen free of parabens, fragrance or sulfates. Epionce’s tinted Daily Shield Lotion (SPF 50) was created by a dermatologist, and the daily-wear formula provides sheer, water-resistant coverage for up to 80 minutes. $38. epionce.com