Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sunscreen Reviews

It was maybe a little dumb for a woman who is so pale she reflects strong colors in her environment to move to a place nicknamed "Sun Valley," but hey--the British had a long reign of colonization in places like India and Australia, and they managed to get around the too much sun and heatstroke issues. Of course, life expectancy was so short you croaked before the melanoma spread.

So sunscreen is now my BFF. I am actually in a very high risk group for skin cancer. Dark hair aside, my eyes are light and I have more than 25 moles. And I suck up the sun and wind up burned and sick before I realize it. Living for 15 years in a place that only gets 66 full days of sun has saved my skin. That and never leaving the house.

It's summer, so the fashion magazines are all "Sunblock--Yur doin it wrong!" in that cheery way they have of enforcing women's ugliness and incompetence at the beauty business. To whit, Americans don't use enough, they apply it wrong and not often enough, miss spots, and well, with global warming we're completely sunk. Whatever. I wonder why I can't just buy a simple parasol, not some Brattenburg reproduction lace extravaganza aimed at Civil War reinactors, but just a lightweight canvas umbrella to carry around. Maybe with multicolored stripes or polka dots? Or just plain tan? Dorkness--I have it.

If we can't get an effective behavioral change campaign going like Australia's "Slip, Slap, Slop!", at least stop selling sunblock in those ridiculously overpriced little tubes. There should be a sunblock dispenser available that you can put in your bathroom or by the front door, and use the psychological trigger of abundance to encourage slathering.

In the meantime, here's some thoughts on what I've been using lately:

Liz Earle Naturally Active Suncare, Sun Shade SPF 25 Face Protector: The label says "naturally active ingredients green tea, pomegranate, and natural Vitamin E. Non-chemical sunscreens. Fragrance Free...Suitable for all the family."

Genevieve got this at work when she was allowed unfettered access to the beauty closet as a reward for good web design and passed it along to me. I really don't care about chemicals and natural ingredients, and would never have picked it up. It's actually pretty good--the major drawback is that it has a noticeably long absorption time, so you're standing there thinking "All right, am I covered? Or is that too much?" while it works its way into the skin. Its scent is slight and not unpleasant, and the residue feel is minimal. I haven't gotten burned with it on my face, and once put it on my legs in a pinch and it was fine. There's no expiration date on the packaging--I'm not sure since there's no chemicals it doesn't expire or what. It seems to be working.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 45 This stuff is the big guns, blocking broad spectrum UVA/UVB rays and endorsed by the American Cancer Society.

The scent is moderate and that pleasantly classic suntan lotion smell. Absorption is quick, but it does leave a weird feel on the skin--not the film that drives me nuts, but a powdery residue. I'd want to take a shower before bed. Blocking power is great.

Additionally, Genevieve and I have previously marveled over the phenomena of cheap nail places in Phoenix and NYC, and I am pleased to announce I've figured out another part of the why. Within 48 hours of landing in Phoenix, my feet were disgusting--totally covered with dried out skin at the heel. I had to buy a pedicure tool to take care of it as I was grossing myself out. I am beginning to appreciate the necessity of the pedicure here. No cutting beauty corners with closed toe shoes when you can wear sandals 9 months of the year!


Anonymous said...

"There should be a sunblock dispenser available that you can put in your bathroom or by the front door, and use the psychological trigger of abundance to encourage slathering." -- pure genius, patent that!

Lisa S. said...

At the Getty Villa in Malibu, the museum offers exactly what you're describing -- tan nylon umbrellas -- for people who want to wander about the grounds without getting broiled to a fare-thee-well.

Sadly, they were not for sale. However! It is becoming increasingly common to see people wandering around SoCal with umbrellas to shield them against the sun.

Kerry said...

SuperC sent me link: http://www.coolibar.com/04107.html for one of those umbrellas. At $25 it's probably worth it in the long run, but it's not cute. I'm shallow, but I just can't get behind it.