My Favorite Sunblock and Why

My internet addiction + My fear of cancer = A great product recommendation for you

I know you’re busy, so here are the Top 3 Things You Need to Know About Sunscreen:

  1. The sun shoots out two kinds of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVB is what makes you tan and sometimes burn. UVA is what gives you premature wrinkles and skin cancer. So UVA is worse. This Means That: When you shop for a sunscreen, you need to make sure that that sunscreen is effective against UVA rays, not just UVB
  2. But it is a lot easier to make sunscreens that block UVB rays than UVA rays. In the United States, sunscreens do not have to specify whether their SPF number (Coppertone has an SFP 90) refers to UVA or UVB rays. This Means That: When you’re looking for UVA blocking sunscreens, you have to look beyond the SPF number.
  3. The Environmental Working Group has an amazing database of information about the effectiveness and potentially side-effects of a gazillion sunscreens. This Means That: you should click here to find out how good your current sunscreen is, and to comparison shop for a new sunscreen.

Alright, now let’s put the attention back on me.  When I was eighteen, I developed an allergy to sunscreen. It would make my cheeks look really red, like I was blushing –I was already a chronic blusher at that time, so the last thing I needed was a permanent taint. My doctor told me that commercial sunscreens made by the big cosmetic companies such as Coppertone, Oil of Olay, and so forth, were not very good because those cosmetic companies just bought cheap reject formulations from research firms.

Or something… too long, didn’t listen.  I was a teenager!

So I started reading ingredient lists on sunscreens and I was able to, by trial and error, find the one sunscreen in Canada that did not give me red face. The thing is, it contained a substance that is common in Europe, but not legally allowed to be sold in America!

So after many years of flying back to Canada to get my sunscreen fix, I decided to look into more local options. Lo and behold, I founded the Environmental Working Group’s database, and I decided to pick the best overall sunscreen as determined by the working group for 2007, the Solar-Rx SPF 30, by Keys Care.

Look at the delicious ingredients:

According to the EWG, Solar-Rx tested well for UVA protection:

Compare that with a Coppertone sunscreen:

So it’s safe and effective, but is it easy to use? Or will it have a consistency like clay, take forever to rub into the skin, and leave a white chalky layer on your skin?

That is a great question because I also bought another sunscreen that came equally highly recommended by the EWG, made by Badger W. Company. Using that product really felt like I was smearing putty onto myself. So much tugging and pulling! If we’re trying to prevent premature wrinkles here, then it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to torture my skin everyday in this way. Furthermore, post-application, the sunscreen left a filmy white residue all over my skin. I looked like Stay Puft:

The Solar-Rx, on the other hand, is smooth and creamy, kind of like Greek yogurt.  It spreads easily on the skin.

Here are all the other good things about the Solar-Rx SPF 30:

  • The smell is very light and completely fades away after application.
  • It has a moisturizer in it, saving you the step of applying moisturizer under your sunscreen. I use it on my face everyday of the year.
  • It does not leave a white film on your skin.
  • It works very well as a primer under make-up.
  • It’s not the cheapest sunscreen, but it’s reasonably priced.

Here is one precaution:

It’s not waterproof. So if you’re sweating a lot or going into water, then you’ll need to re-apply all the time. In fact, last summer on a particularly hot day of sunbathing, I had to CONSTANTLY re-apply the Solar-Rx on myself for the whole time.  People lie out in the sun to relax, but that was the busiest I had been for a long time.

Well, good-luck out there, and don’t get burned!

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