Apothecary: Choosing the Right Sunscreen

We love that hot summer sun, but it’s a love that comes with a steep price.

“The sun is brighter now than it was four centuries ago,” confirms Drew Shindell, PhD, of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “And there is less protection from the ozone, [so] we are exposed to more dangerous UV rays now than in earlier decades.”

And while sunburn-causing UVB rays send us seeking shade, it’s the stealthy UVA rays that penetrate skin more deeply, causing not only the wrinkles and sagging of photoaging but also cell mutations that can trigger skin cancer.

A study published this past June in the Annals of Internal Medicine is the first to quantify the amount that sunscreen aids in anti-aging, stating that skin aging was 24 per cent less in those who used daily sunscreen.

A broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays is essential, but so is selecting the best formula for your lifestyle because sunscreen can’t do its job if it stays inside your beach tote.

1 If you only use green products …

Canada’s Green Beaver Certified Organic SPF 27 Spray, $22, blocks UV rays with zinc oxide, which, unlike chemical sunscreens that require a 20-minute wait time, is instantly effective from the moment you apply it. And its moisturizing formula gives a boost of hydration to dry complexions.

2 If you “forget” to put it on …

Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, but some of us ignore that edict, not wanting to disturb our makeup or muck about with lotion. Éminence Sun Defense Minerals, SPF 30, $58, an organic, physical sunblock mineral powder with zinc oxide, comes in a handy powder dispensing click-pen with a built-in brush for easy application.

3 If you’re a sports lover …

Water- and sweat-resistant Neutrogena Beach Defense 60 SPF Spray, $16, contains photostable helioplex, a broad-spectrum sunscreen blend of avobenzone and oxybenzone. And the nifty spray simplifies application, a not-inconsiderable concern if you’re coaxing a hairy-armed man to protect his skin.

4 If you have oily acne-prone skin …

“If you have acne, sun damage will make scarring worse because UV damage weakens collagen and elastin,” says New York dermatologist Dr. Doris Day. But if the thought of using pore-clogging sunscreen has you shuddering, then choose an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula. Try Miracle 10 sunscreen lotion, SPF 30, $52 or Ombrelle Cream SPF 60 for Face, $17.

5 If you want protection with no ghostly “white face” … 

Wanting an invisible sunscreen is not frivolous. “Cosmetically elegant sunscreens increase compliance,” observes Toronto dermatologist Dr. Kucy Pon. Try new La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Lightweight Lotion, $28, containing Mexoryl XL, which combines physical block avobenzone with titanium dioxide for a pleasingly translucent finish.  —Liza Herz



Today’s bronzers and illuminators are light-years ahead of their orangey ancestors, imparting a believable summer glow to every skin tone.

English Roses can add luminosity with rose-gold, soft-peach or pink shades. “Brown- or red-based bronzers make fair skin look dirty,” says makeup artist Diana Carreiro.

For dewy shimmer, try Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminator, $17, in Bare Light or Aerin Beach Cream, $50, for a subtle all-over glow.

Darker skin needs bronzer with a hint of shimmer as overly matte shades “can look too dry,” cautions Carreiro. Apply with large fluffy brush “lightly along cheeks, across the bridge of the nose, and along hair and jawlines.”

Try Guerlain Terra Nerolia Tan-Enhancing Bronzer, $66, or Pixi Daylight Bronzer in Summertime, $21, exclusively
at Target.