You’re headed to the office. You know you should be wearing sunscreen, but the brand you use when you go to the beach is too thick, too oily, and too smelly to go unnoticed among the cubicles. What should you do?
Many people choose to go unprotected, which isn’t a good idea. Studies have shown that sunscreen helps delay the signs of aging. Still, one sunscreen hardly fits all occasions, so to help you bump up the options in your sun protection kit, we put together some suggestions for how to match your sunscreen with your activity.
At the Office
Even if you use foundation with sunscreen, it may not be enough to offer anti-aging protection. Many have an SPF lower than 15, which means they won’t protect you from damaging UVA rays. Your best bet is to double up. Use a moisturizer with sunscreen underneath your makeup, or a BB cream with sunscreen, then top it off with a SPF mineral powder. You can also use a protective primer under your makeup.
At the Beach
Here you need the strongest protection you can get. Though no sunscreen is waterproof, using a water-resistant brand may give you more longer-lasting protection. Look for an SPF of 50 that offers broad-spectrum protection. Use the EWG’s sunscreen guide to find a safe option, and don’t forget to reapply every couple hours, or whenever you get wet or perspire.
If You Have Acne-Prone Skin
There’s nothing more disappointing than trying to protect your skin from damaging UV rays, only to return home and find bumps under your skin-betraying developing acne. Especially if you’re out in the hot sun and you have on an oily, heavy sunscreen, you’re likely to break out within the next day or so. Look for formulas made without dimethicone or other silicones, that are “non-comedogenic” and “oil-free,” and use zinc oxide rather than titanium dioxide, which has been linked with breakouts. Look for light creams that don’t feel heavy, and have a fast-absorbing, lightweight feel. Then be sure to cleanse your face thoroughly before bed-adding in an exfoliating scrub may also deter any developing blackheads.
When You’re Exercising
Exercising equals sweat, and that can quickly deplete your sun protection. Again, you need a water-resistant formula, but you also need to look specifically for products made for athletes. These are typically designed to stick to the skin even through heavy sweat. Look for the word “sports” on the product. If the sunscreen runs into your eyes and stings, try a children’s sunscreen stick on your forehead. Don’t forget to wear a heat and sunglasses to up your protection.
If You Have Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin tends to react badly to formulas that have too many ingredients, or that are packed with synthetic chemicals. For you, the fewer ingredients, the better. If your skin is prone to redness, look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like green tea, calendula, or chamomile. Then look for formulas made for sensitive skin.
If You’re Baring a Bunch
Places like your back, the back of your neck, the backs of your knees, and other remote areas are more likely to get burned if you’re donning a swimsuit. To be sure you’re covered, opt for a spray sunscreen, which tends to spread the coverage evenly even in hard-to-reach places. Just be sure to reapply, as most spray sunscreens are not water-resistant.
If Your Scalp is Vulnerable
Those who have no hair on their heads-and even those with lots of hair, but exposed parts-are likely to get burned on the scalp, which is one of the most sensitive places to bear a burn. (Ouch!) Coating your hair with sunscreen is not a pleasant thought. You can try an oil-free, watery formula that easily absorbs so you don’t have to rub it through your hair. A pointed tip applicator is even better for applying right where you need it. You can also try a mineral powder dusted lightly on your part. Several manufacturers are now making powder sunscreen that you apply with a brush.
If You Want Something Completely Natural
There are sunscreens out there these days made with 100 percent natural ingredients. Look for organic sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They’re likely to have things like olive oil, witch hazel, shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and rosemary extract. Try Marie Veroniques Organics sunscreens or Mychelle Sun Shield.
Do you have suggestions for sunscreens that fit a particular activity? Let us know!