When it comes to sun exposure, I think you can't be careful enough. I really believe that tanning is deadly...because it is. In my mind, excessive tanning is the same as smoking: completely unnecessary, potentially lethal, and entirely foolish. People tan because they want to look good. They think that pale is gross. Well, I find premature aging, cancerous moles, and orange skin to be gross. If you're a regular tanner, stop it. Now.
If you're sensible, you already know that you should be wearing SPF every day--no matter what the weather is like. I prefer to use cosmetics that have SPF built in, and it's easy to find it in moisturizers, foundations, and lip balms. When I'm going to really be out in the sun, I like almost all the sunblocks from Neutrogena. Most of the sunblocking products provide broad spectrum helioplex protection, which means they'll fend off skin-aging UVAs and burning UVBs. My three faves are:
Neutorgena Clear Face Broad Spectrum SPF 55: This is breakout free formula, which I appreciate. It is oil-free, feels light, and absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy mess behind. It also has a very light scent that doesn't linger.
Neutrogena Beach Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 70: This formula provides a barrier to both water and sun, so it's perfect for the beach. Like the Clear Face SPF, this is not greasy at all. It has a pleasant tropical smell that feels very beachy!
Neutrogena UltraSheer Body Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 100: If you like a spray-on sunblock, give this a try. It goes on cold and covers easily. You can also spray it in your hands to apply to your face. I like the high SPF, and on a warm day, the cold spray feels good.
Before you go, here are a few reminders to stay safe with the sun:
- Replace your SPF products every year--they may seem ok, but you really need to toss them out and replace them regularly. Buy smaller bottles if you hate being wasteful.
- Apply the product before you go out in the sun and later if you're still in the sun. It doesn't last forever.
- Don't forget to use SPF on weird places like your ears, the back of your neck, your lips, etc. You don't want to get a burn anywhere, but these places are easy to overlook.
- Wear sunglasses and a hat.
- Check your skin regularly for abnormal moles, dark spots, etc. If something looks weird, get it checked out by your doctor or dermatologist.
- Be smart. Even one burn can increase your chances to get skin cancer.
- Make sure the men in your life use sunblocking products, too. Men have high rates of death from skin cancer, probably because they don't take precautions. Insist that they use something before getting out in the sun.