Saturday, June 26, 2010

Moisturizers and Creams and Sunscreens, Oh My! - Part III - Sunscreen

I am one of those lucky few who has never experienced the pain that is sunburn. I have, however, heard plenty of gory details from my best friend...I think the sun has a personal vendetta against her...Anyways, since all that happens to me after a long day in the sun is a major tan, I never really was concerned about protecting my skin from it while growing up. Enter maturity and the understanding that sunscreen not only protects your skin from burning but also prevents the formation of wrinkles, leathery skin, premature aging, and cancer. Now, I am a card carrying member of the sunscreen fan club, you should be too!

Science Talk:
Sunscreen works by absorbing or reflecting some of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation (UVR) on skin exposed to sunlight and thereby helps protect against sunburn. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has designated UVR as a known human carcinogen. There are three types of UVR:
  1. UVA - stimulates melanin and causes tanning
  2. UVB - damages DNA through biochemical methods 
  3. UVC - mostly absorbed by ozone layer, can damage DNA
The NTP has classified UVA, B, and C as reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens. The ones to watch out for when sunbathing are UVA and B, so make sure your sunscreen protects against both!

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF is a comparison of the time it takes before the skin will start to redden with and without sun protection. For example, if it would take 20 minutes for an individual's skin to burn without sun protection, then a SPF of 15 means that when applied, that person can remain in the sun 15 times longer, or up to 5 hours, without worrying about burning. The greater the SPF, the longer the protection it offers, but only up to a certain point. SPFs greater than 15 offer only small increments of additional protection.

Tips for applying sunscreen:
  • Apply sunscreen about half an hour before you go into the sun - That's how long it takes for your skin to absorb it.
  • Make sure that you apply enough - Don't skimp on the sunscreen, the proper amount for the whole body is a handful. There should be a film of sunscreen visible on your skin! Not applying enough can make an SPF 15 sunscreen work like an SPF 8.
  • Reapply often - Even if the label says "waterproof", swimming and towel-drying can reduce the potency of the sun protection
  • Protect your face, neck, and the back of your hands on a daily basis - these places show early signs of aging 
  • Don't rely only on sunscreen - Make sure to cover up with light fabrics, wear a hat and sunglasses and limit your sun exposure!
Olay Complete All Day Moisture Lotion SPF 15 Sensitive Skin - Grade: A
In addition to being my absolute favorite face moisturizer, see Part II for full review, the addition of SPF doesn't make the formula greasy or sticky. I use this on a daily basis.

Neutrogena UVA/UVB Sunblock Lotion SPF 45 - Grade: A-
Overall, a pretty standard sunscreen for the body. My only complaint was that the formula was a little runny, so I had to use a lot to get a proper coating everywhere.

Aveeno Active Naturals Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 85 - Grade: A
Recently purchased this sunscreen as my Neutrogena one expired. Really thick formula which I like! Also, this has a really nice scent, not what I usually find with sunscreens. Haven't spent too long in the sun lately, but I'm really liking this product so far.

Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer Untinted SPF 45 - Grade: B
I used this sunblock on my face and neck. It is a nice, thick formula, but that led to lots of oily-ness and occasional breakouts on my skin. This would probably be better for someone with dry skin.

Aveeno Active Naturals Continuous Sunblock Lotion Face SPF 70 - Grade: Incomplete
I have only used this product twice, both times it made my face feel slightly greasy by the end of the day, but nothing too terrible. Need to try it out for a little longer before I can properly grade it. I do like that it is specially formulated for the face.

Burt's Bees 8 SPF Natural Sun Protection Lip Balm - Grade: B
This is an opaque lip balm that comes in the standard Burt's Bee's tube. It is a little hard to apply as it is not very creamy, but feels good on the lips once it warms up to them a bit. Now, as it is an opaque white, it makes me look like the living dead. I like to top this off with Nivea Cherry Tinted Lip Care to get the perfect pink pout! Not sure if that is negating the effects of the lip balm though...Once I finish this tube, I'll be on the look out for a more emollient and less opaque lip balm.

Any good sunscreen recommendations? Stay safe in the sun!

Til next time,
Mani :)

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