3 Simple Steps To Sun Protection
This may seem like a “duh” issue, but the single best anti-aging treatment is sunblock. Scratch that, it’s actually staying out of the sun entirely…but for most of us (raises hand) that’s just not possible.
I spent my youth as a sun worshiper. I baked until my skin was that perfect golden-brown. And I loved every minute of it. I was under the impression that a tan made me look “healthier,” “skinnier,” and “sexier.” A doctor once told me that vitamin D is good for the brain, and the sun emits vitamin D so…yeah, I used that as an excuse for daily sun baking.
My dad is French Moroccan so he has a naturally olive complexion. He never burns and he, too, is a sun worshiper. Until recently (late 60s/ early 70s), you wouldn’t even have been able to tell that the sun had any effect on his skin. Now he’s got some sun spots on his face — but he says it’s a small price to pay for getting to soak in all of those rays. Then again, men aging is like a fine wine — women aging, not so much.
While I do have more of an olive tone to my skin, I also am prone to freckles and pigmentation issues, thanks to my mother’s Irish descent. I don’t burn, but I can get red if the sun is super strong. And the freckles on my body are becoming a serious game of connect the dots. Not to mention the melasma that has wreaked havoc on my face in recent years. I’ve tried everything to curb it — more on that in another post — but the single best treatment thus far is no sun at all.
Okay, so zero sun is not happening in my world. I live in LA; it’s sunny 350 days of the year. I also still love a good sun bathing session and, while I don’t tan my face at all, I do like the sun’s rays on my limbs. Alas, here’s my sun protection routine, while still allowing myself to suntan. After all, I still believe that a nice golden bronze tan makes me look healthier (and skinnier and sexier!), I’m just not willing to get old or sick to help the cause. For body, I use at least SPF 30, and I prefer the spray version, like Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Body Mist with SPF 100 (!!!).
1. Always wear SPF. Duh. I slather it on my face every morning, applying to my neck, chest, and hands, too (these are the areas of your body that show your true age! If you’re not applying to neck, chest, and hands every morning… prepare to age!) . My go-to – and the one used by 99% of my friends is Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 ($33). It’s formulated specifically for skin prone to acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation, and the high percentage of zinc actually protects skin from sun and acne, yet it goes on without a trace of white. It’s crazy how amazing this sunscreen truly is – it actually gives skin a hint of dew. I buy this stuff in bulk and *literally* cannot live without it. I’ve heard the tinted version ($29) is great too, although I haven’t tried it yet.
2. Always protect your face with a hat. I have a hideous red hat that I wear solely to drive around in my car. It has a massive brim and protects my face from the brutal sun exposure (in your car it’s even worse because the sun reflects off of the windshield making it stronger!). My friends make fun of my “driving hat,” but now some have even taken up this preventative trick themselves. When I’m out and about, I either wear a baseball cap or a Panama hat, and when I’m at the beach or pool, I opt for a wide-brimmed hat. It’s chic and anti-aging. Remember: the bigger the brim, the better the protection.
3. I wear sunglasses even when I can’t see the sun. So the thing about the sun is that it’s not just the rays that are bad for you, it’s the faces you make when exposed to the rays – like squinting – that can cause fine lines and wrinkles. That’s why I always, always wear sunglasses during the day, even if the sun isn’t out — but it’s still kinda bright. I don’t want crow’s feet, thank you very much.
These are my three daily steps to prevent sun exposure from aging me. I have a bunch of post-sun skincare tips that I’ll share next week. Stay tuned. In the meantime, shop some of my favorite hats and sunglasses below: