June 1, 2013 6:08:58 PM
I confess there was a time between adolescence and my 30th birthday when I was addicted to the sun. Tanning beds were my best friends, along with silver reflective sun blankets and baby oil. The sun was my drug, and I was an addict.
At age 41, I slather on sunscreen like Elmer's glue on an elementary art project, finding solace underneath hats, big sunglasses and long sleeves. And I remember those other times as my very own dark ages.
Sunscreens are designed to shield us from the harmful UV rays. Keep in mind there are two types of radiation, UVA and UVB radiation. It's paramount that your sunscreen has the ingredients to protect the skin from both kinds. The two basic ingredients to look for in your sunscreen are called chemical blocks, absorbed into the skin preventing sunlight from penetrating the skin, and physical blocks, staying on top of the skin bouncing sunlight away.
Keep in mind that there is no sunscreen that provides 100 percent protection from harmful UV rays. Don't be fooled by the newer, more sophisticated bottles that come in a spray. Sure, Jennifer Lopez and the French Riviera make them appealing, but consider a thicker cream applied to exposed areas 30 minutes prior to getting out in the sun. Throw those pretty bottles of mist in your beach bag for touch-ups throughout the day.
Also, SPF (sun protection factor) is of critical importance to combating skin damage and cancer. The SPF you choose determines how long you can beat the heat without getting burned. All skin can benefit from some healthy sun, but your skin tone, complexion and skin composition will determine when it's time to hit the shade.
I never leave the house without at least SPF 30 on my face. I love Lancôme Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Daily Moisturizer. Then I smear on a coat of SPF 70 or higher to all other exposed areas: back of neck, top of head, ears, arms and the hands. I adore Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55, and when I'm in a rush, new Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock SPF 100. Beware that some sunscreens may cause irritation, so if you have sensitive skin, read those labels and select the PABA-free ones with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Faces Ultra Gentle Sunblock SPF 50 gets five stars for sensitive skin.
So, the next time you feel like "walking on sunshine," make sure you grab those sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen with at least SPF 15, and you'll be sure, like the song says, to "feel good."
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.