Summer Skin Survival Guide
Why we skip sunscreen continued...
4. "It feels greasy."
Fair enough. No one wants to feel like she's been dunked like a lobster in melted butter. Sunscreen makers realize this, too; that's why active formulas are usually designed to dry without an oily film. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 55 ($10.69/3 oz) quickly absorbs and won't run once you start sweating. Also try Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Lotion SPF 33 ($33/3.3 oz). The lightweight milky consistency feels much more comfortable than a heavy cream going on.
5. "It takes too long."
An aerosol formula is ideal for those with a Twitter-length attention span. The mists go on in seconds, dry quickly, and don't require rubbing. Keep in mind: A mist offers spotty coverage unless you really lay it on thick -- think of coating a pan with cooking spray. One of the most appealing formulas is Coppertone Oil-Free Quick Cover Lotion Spray SPF 30 ($9.69/6 oz) because it's fragrance-free and waterproof as well. Or try Banana Boat UltraMist Continuous Spray Sunscreen Sport Performance SPF 50 ($9.49/6 oz) containing alcohol to speed drying time and panthenol for greaseless hydration. You shouldn't breathe in the spray, so for your face, mist your hands, then blot your skin.
6. "It's too messy."
Nothing ruins a day at the beach faster than rain or an exploded bottle of lotion in your bag. Purse-friendly wipes or stick options offer a no-mess alternative to liquid sunscreens and make it easy to carry sun protection with you. Try the new Clinique Sun SPF 45 Targeted Protection Stick ($17.50/.21 oz) or Shady Day Daily Sun Protection Wipes SPF 30 ($13.99/15 wipes).
7. "It irritates my skin."
Sensitive types have even more incentive to avoid the sun since UV rays sometimes aggravate irritation. You can generally trust formulas labeled "for sensitive skin," and products containing zinc and titanium dioxide, sun shields that are less likely to irritate skin.
Vitamin D: To sun or not to sun?
Some sunbathing stalwarts cite our need for vitamin D as their justification for unprotected sun exposure. But they're charring their skin for no good reason: The idea that the sun is the best source of vitamin D is FALSE.
Yes, it's true we need vitamin D to help absorb calcium, and emerging research shows a strong link between the nutrient and lower risk of many cancers. But here's the truth: No good scientific data show that using sunscreen inhibits vitamin D production.
"About 15 minutes of exposing your arms and legs to the sun twice a week will create sufficient vitamin D," even with sunscreen on, says Jeffrey Dover, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine. He advises taking a daily supplement containing 1,000 IU of vitamin D and eating fortified dairy products and fatty fish such as salmon for the safest and most effective way to produce the nutrient.