Hate Wearing Sunscreen? Try These Tips!

Don't be an SPF slacker.
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Michelle Villett
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Don't be an SPF slacker.
sunscreen

Yesterday, I preached talked about how wearing sunscreen on your face is the single most important thing you can do, beauty-wise. So today, I KNOW 99 percent of you slapped on your broad-spectrum, UVA- and UVB-protective sun protection all over your mugs—and it would be rude to forget your neck, ears and hands too, right? Good.

But today's post is for the tiny minority of peeps out there who, for a variety of reasons, get a bit slack-ass on the sunscreen. Now, don't worry—no judgement here and I'm not going to bore you with all the usual sunscreen facts that magazines like to publish annually in their summer issues (zzzzzzzzzz). But I THINK I can help with some of the most common reasons for sunscreen non-compliance:

You don't wear sunscreen because...

1. You never burn.

Okay, newsflash: even if your skin doesn't burn, it's still being exposed to UVA (remember "A" is for aging; the "B" in UVB is for burning). And by aging I don't just mean wrinkles but also this lovely long list: dry, dehydrated skin; sagging; pigmentation changes; skin thickening; and loss of elasticity. Fun!

I can personally vouch for this, too, as when I'm in the sun sans protection, I don't tend to burn as much as I will develop freckles all over my face. And I don't mean the cute kind.

So the solution, of course, is to find a sunscreen you actually like and will wear (I promise they're making them differently these days—non-greasy and non-chalky options ARE out there)...

2. It makes your skin look greasy.

Shu-Uemura-UV-Under-Base-Mousse-SPF-30

I was a victim of the sunscreen-induced midday oil slick until I found Pure + Simple's All-Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 for Oily/Impure Skin. (Check it out in yesterday's gallery.) It's simply amazing. You can also check out powder sunscreens like the one from Colorescience (again, in the gallery), which will help keep oil in check better than a cream or lotion. Many mineral powders have built-in sunscreens as well, or you could try an oil-control primer with built-in sunscreen like Shu Uemura's UV Under Base Mousse SPF 30. (How smart is that, right?)

Another tip: skip the moisturizer under your sunscreen if you've been layering them... if your skin is looking oily, you probably don't need it during the day.

3. It makes your skin look chalky.

If you're into natural sunscreens (made from zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide), one of the biggest pet peeves I hear about is that they can often look chalky on darker skin tones. What you want to look for are micronized formulas, which basically means the particles are so small that they won't give that whitish cast. (Read more about this here—and note that micronized does not mean nanoparticles, for which there are some safety concerns.)

One to try: EmerginC's SPF 30+ Broad Spectrum Sun Protector (in the gallery), which is both a micronized formula AND tinted, which should help. If chalkiness is a concern for you, don't be shy about asking for a tester before you buy, and remember to rub the product into your skin well.

4. You're afraid of the chemicals.

cliniderm-gentle-protective-lotion-spf-45

And this would be the reason you might choose a natural sunblock. We're learning more and more about sunscreen chemicals like oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, which some experts say are harmful hormone disruptors. Plus, many people find chemical sunscreens irritating to sensitive skin.

The good news is that there are now PLENTY of natural choices out there. The two ingredients to look for are zinc oxide and titanium oxide, and I've included several in this gallery. But I ALSO encourage you to check out the Environmental Working Group's 2010 Sunscreen Guide for more information and to look up the safety of any sunscreens you wear or are considering.

5. You're not outdoors long enough to need sunscreen or to bother reapplying.

If your summer weekdays consist of travelling from air-conditioned car to office and home again, with maybe 10 or 15 minutes of outdoor time in between, then I can see why you wouldn't want to slather yourself like you're heading to the beach.

And it always struck me as CRAZY that derms would suggest reapplying sunscreen at lunchtime, thereby messing up our makeup just for a quick dash out to go buy a sandwich.

What to do? I'd opt for a mineral powder with built-in sunscreen, which you can quickly dust over your face in a jiffy. (Did I just say jiffy?) Anyway, I know most are only SPF 15, but they'll give you at least SOME protection and you can reapply as needed without messing up your makeup underneath. Just don't rely on them if you plan to bake on the beach or be outdoors for extended periods of time!

6. Don't we need the sun to produce vitamin D?

Busted Image

And now we come to the health part of the equation, which I'm probably as passionate about (maybe more) than all the beauty stuff I gab about here. (But keep in mind, this is not medical advice and I'm not an MD, obviously!)

Yes, our bodies produce vitamin D from the sun, but for those of us who don't live in the tropics (I only wish), we're realistically never going to make enough from the limited time we spend in the sun. ESPECIALLY us Canadians (even though some of us are enjoying a heat wave this week). Oh I know, the experts like to tell us that we can get all the vitamin D we need from exposing our bare skin to the sun for 10 minutes per day, but this simply isn't true—read this excellent article for more details on why.

Instead, we should be doing what our ancestors did—obtaining our vitamin D from food sources. Supplements are okay (and I did used to take them), but what is blowing my mind lately, as longtime readers will know, is high-quality cod liver oil. From what I've read here, it's safe in higher doses than the pills (i.e. less toxicity risks), although you should still follow package directions, and there is a fabulous bonus: it makes your skin look amazing too. (Wiped out hormonal acne in me and my BFF and makes our skin, as well as my mom's, absolutely GLOW. My hairdresser is even a convert now!)

Besides the cod liver oil (which I order from here), you can obtain vitamin D from foods like butter, whole milk, egg yolks, organ meats, lard, shellfish and oily fish. It's a good idea to have your doctor check/monitor your levels before and during any new supplementation programs.

So whaddaya think? Have I converted any sunscreen slackers out there? Let me know if you have any more sunscreen hate-on reasons in the comments!