Memorial Day is right around the corner, bringing with it the unofficial start of summer. And despite the folklore that L.A. doesn't have seasons, those of us who've endured long, 100-degree-plus SoCal days know the searing truth: From now through September, we have to be extra-vigilant to protect our skin from the sun.
Stick your face up to a Visia machine from Canfield Scientific (you'll find them at various tony dermatology offices around town) and you'll likely see the budding skin issues that go undetected by the naked eye, including a startling amount of UV damage and brown spots waiting to erupt all over your seemingly OK skin.
Experts report that 80% to 90% of prematurely aging skin is caused by UV radiation from sunlight. "People often underestimate the amount of sun damage they have," says Dr. Anthony Oro, a dermatology professor at Stanford University. He also points out a World Health Organization report linking climate change to a greater risk of skin cancer.
For protection, experts recommend that you:
Reapply a generous amount of sunscreen every two to three hours.
Wear sunglasses, preferably a wrap-around style, to protect eyes.
Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat or specially treated clothing.
Don't be shy about using an umbrella to block the sun (perhaps it's time to bring back the parasol).
Use extra caution near snow in cold climates and sand and water. "The sun can be very intense at the beach because of the reflection from the water and white sand," says Oro.
Remember you're still exposed to damaging UV rays during "June gloom" and other cloudy times. Look for "Broad Spectrum" on the sunscreen label and an SPF between 15 and 50. Also check your skin-care products and prescriptions when headed out in the sun to see if they will make you extra sensitive. Vitamin A products, such as retinol, are often best used at night.
Anyone who's experienced sunscreen-induced stinging eyes, knows all sun protection products aren't the same. Here are a few sunscreens meant for different activities and occasions:
Radical Skincare Skin Perfecting Screen SPF30, $55, radicalskincare.com
Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $65; sephora.com
Kate Somerville Daily Deflector Waterlight Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ PA+++ Anti-Aging Sunscreen,$48, katesomerville.com
La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum with Sunscreen SPF 50, $42.50, laroche-posay.us
At the pool or beach
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream & Lotion SPF 50+ WetForce, $40, shiseido.com
Coppertone ClearlySheer Beach & Pool Spray, $9.49, drugstore.com
Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Barrier Stick Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $10.99, ulta.com
Playing sports/working out
SkinCeuticals Sport UV Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $40, skinceuticals.com
KineSys Inc.SPF 50 Alcohol-Free Spray Sunscreen, $20, kinesys.com
Aveeno Hydrosport Sunscreen Spray with SPF 30, $9.79, drugstore.com
In the city
Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution SPF 50, $42, clarinsusa.com
Made for men
Clinique for Men UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $29.50, clinique.com
For acne-prone skin
EltaMD UV ClearBroad-Spectrum SPF 46, $32, dermstore.com
For mineral makeup lovers
Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sun Protection SPF 50 Brush, $64, colorescience.com