Beat the Burn
Women who value
great skin make applying sun protection a daily to-do, but in summer months we’re
exposed to more sunshine than normal, meaning protecting skin from harmful UVA
and UVB rays is a must.
We’ve got your guide to beating the heat,
including an easy to read refresher course in sun protection and our roundup of
the top sun protection products for the season.
UVA vs. UVB
are two types of ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB. UVA rays are the most insidious
of the pair, they can get you almost anywhere because they travel through windows
and even light clothing. UVA is less likely than UVB to cause sunburns, meaning
that even though you may not know your skin is being damaged, it is. In fact,
UVA rays damage the deeper layers of skin resulting in loss of collagen and elastin.
rays stimulate the cell that produces melanin, the brown pigment that causes suntans
and is actually your body’s attempt to defend against UV radiation. UVB
rays are also the primary cause of sunburns as well as a myriad of skin cancers.
Plus, UVB rays contribute to wrinkling and aging of the skin.
In order to
truly protect your skin, chose a sunscreen with broad-spectrum coverage, meaning
skin is protected against UVA and UVB rays. The American Academy of Dermatology
recommends generously applying a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with
an SPF of 15 or higher daily, and re-applying every two hours, even on cloudy
Everyone’s buzzin’ about
physical sunblocks these days but what the heck are they? A physical sunblock
contains ingredients that rest on the skin's surface and reflect away ultraviolet
rays. Physical sunblocks cannot be absorbed into the skin and proponents say that
this makes physical sunblocks safer than chemical sunscreens. Sunscreen contains
chemicals that absorb UV rays before they damage the skin, while sunblocks contain
particles that physically block UV rays from reaching the skin. And while sunscreen
needs to be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure, sunblocks are effective the
moment they are applied.
Many experts agree that physical sunblocks are
most effective at blocking harmful UV rays, so for optimal protection choose a
product that contains chemical sunscreens as well as physical sunblocks such as
zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
tried and tested dozens of sunscreens/sunblocks and rounded up the top five in
different price points for effectiveness, smell and appearance.
for the faint of budget, Kinerase’s Cream with SPF 30 is recommended by
The Skin Cancer Foundation and includes 6% Titanium Dioxide and 7% Ethylhexyl
Methoxycinnamate ($135 for 2.8 oz. at kinerase.com).
It goes on smoothly with an innocuous scent and promises to improve skin tone
while reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Needless to say, our skin didn’t
burn after applying this pricey cream.
MD’s Solar protection Body with DMAE SPF 45 is a broad-spectrum, chemical-free,
water-resistant sunscreen that features DMAE to firm and tone the body. We’re
fans of the entire Perricone collection and, in particular, this product’s
promise to protect and firm from head to toe; $48 for 4.2 oz. at sephora.com.
Organics is an all-natural, organically sourced, water resistant sunscreen with
an SPF of 30 plus broad spectrum protection. The Soléo collection is biodegradable
and never tested on animals; $24.99 for 2.6 oz. at soleousa.com
Bees Chemical-Free Sunscreen SPF 30 sells for just $15 for 3.5 oz. and is available
at most local drug stores as well as online at burtsbees.com.
Boasting a high level of titanium dioxide (8.58%) and no chemical sunscreens,
this sunscreen continues in the Burt’s Bees tradition of offering up natural
and effective products priced right.
ultra-affordable Sunblock with Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose & Ears offers up
an SPF of 45 thanks in part to 6.86% Zinc Oxide. Plus, the greaseless formula
goes on clear and odor free. The price is oh-so-right, just $4.99 for 2 oz. at Walgreens.