"I truly believe sunscreen is the No. 1 anti-aging ingredient"
May 30, 2016 9:28 AM   Subscribe

You Know You Should Use Sunscreen. But Are You Using It Right? [SLNYT]
"Look, we're not here to nag. We all know we're supposed to use sunscreen more reliably than we probably do.

"Instead of hounding you again, we asked experts for tips on skin cancer prevention and using sunscreen that you're less likely to have heard: the counterintuitive, the new or the little-known.

"Here's what they told us. (We know this is a little 'Eat your vegetables' of us, so we'll give you a reward if you make it to the end.)"
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (176 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 


I just don't go outside. I have the skin of a nerd half my age.

This is not a good thing, btw.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:34 AM on May 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


I know its necessary but sunscreen is the worst. I have oily skin and putting that stuff on my face is guaranteed discomfort and will eventually run into my eyes and cause me pain. Also arm hair. I don't really love how it makes it all matted down and sticky like I'm wearing a bald guy's comb-over for sleeves. I think I'm just gonna wear hats, lightweight long sleeve shirts, and continue to avoid the beach. And cross my fingers I guess.
posted by Hoopo at 9:36 AM on May 30, 2016 [17 favorites]


I'm really bad about putting on sunscreen but then I'm also really good at not being in the sun if I can help it, so win-win?
posted by Kitteh at 9:36 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love the spray stuff and will use it until the FDA pries it from my pale, ageless hands. Lotion is such a PITA.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:37 AM on May 30, 2016 [16 favorites]


From the end:

Congratulations for making it all the way through an article about sunscreen. As your reward, we present you this adorable photo gallery of parents applying lotion to visibly annoyed children. You earned it.
posted by damayanti at 9:41 AM on May 30, 2016 [14 favorites]


I'm still not aces at applying sunscreen, but I found my performance improved dramatically after watching my uncle battle skin cancer and die.
posted by notyou at 9:43 AM on May 30, 2016 [33 favorites]


Came for the sunscreen lecture. Stayed and giggled through the pictures of VERY ANNOYED TODDLERS.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:45 AM on May 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


As one of God's paler creatures I have learned the ways of sunscreen well. Without it I could get a sunburn indoors on a cloudy day.
posted by cirhosis at 9:49 AM on May 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


The main reason to reapply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every two hours isn’t that it breaks down; most of today’s sunscreens are stable in sunlight. Rather, reapplication is crucial because most people don’t apply enough sunscreen in the first place.

A full ounce — or the amount in a shot glass — should be slathered on 15 minutes before exposure, then reapplied. Use products that offer “broad-spectrum protection,” meaning they protect against both UVA and burning UVB rays. Both kinds of radiation can lead to skin cancer.

“In the past sunscreen broke down, but now technology has bypassed that,” said Dr. Steven Q. Wang, the director of dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Basking Ridge, N.J. “Unfortunately people’s behavior hasn’t changed, so that’s why the two-hour rule is still a good principle.”
wtf? So one ounce is the proper amount, and sunscreen doesn't degrade in sunlight... but you should reapply every two hours because you didn't use the proper amount already given in step 1?
posted by indubitable at 9:54 AM on May 30, 2016 [21 favorites]


A full ounce — or the amount in a shot glass — should be slathered on 15 minutes before exposure

Over what surface area? Is that amount just for the face? Face, neck, and forearms? Or are they assuming you're on the beach and that should cover most of the body?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:01 AM on May 30, 2016 [11 favorites]


Maybe you used enough for 2 hours, but if you're going to be out for 4 hours you should use more.
posted by bongo_x at 10:01 AM on May 30, 2016


I tried the shot glass thing, but now my scotch tastes like Coppertone.
(I know, some would say that's an improvement)
posted by MtDewd at 10:05 AM on May 30, 2016 [22 favorites]


If you're going to spend much time on a beach, you're better off letting a long sleeve rash shirt, longer shorts and a hat like this be your main protection, and then top up with sunscreen for the places it doesn't cover. Arm hair and all that problem stuff is no longer an issue, and a rash shirt worn slightly loose is surprisingly flattering/slimming, in a dark colour and with cool surf logos etc.

The other thing the media doesn't emphasise enough is that your skin should not be changing colour, at all (something still referred to as 'getting a tan'). Any change in colour is damage. Don't damage your skin. There is no reason to.
posted by Coda Tronca at 10:10 AM on May 30, 2016 [12 favorites]


really though if there was some kind of daily pill form of sunscreen that would let you frolic upon the beach cancer-free and the only side effect was that you shed your skin like a snake maybe once a month, i would be all over that. otherwise sunscreen is a fucking nightmare and i can't deal with it. everything people insist is non pore clogging or good for sensitive skin has been a huge and terrible lie, so i either have to resign myself to a constant parade of hairline and nose crease acne, or resign myself to potential cancers.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:19 AM on May 30, 2016 [25 favorites]


(We know this is a little “Eat your vegetables” of us, so we’ll give you a reward if you make it to the end.)

That was pretty much the worst reward ever. I know those pictures are supposed to be cute, but I can hear the associated crying and screaming and tantruming. Lecture and torture. Yay.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:23 AM on May 30, 2016 [16 favorites]


I'm another person for whom sunscreen hasn't worked well. It's gross and slimy, it always gets in my eyes or mouth, and it just doesn't seem to work all that well even when really slathered on. It's not a beach solution, but for days when I have to be outdoors in the sun I prefer to wear long sleeves and a broad-brimmed hat to simply minimize the skin exposed to the sunlight.

The other thing the media doesn't emphasise enough is that your skin should not be changing colour, at all (something still referred to as 'getting a tan'). Any change in colour is damage. Don't damage your skin. There is no reason to.

I strongly suspect that with time the advice on this will shift to say that there are both benefits and costs to moderate sun exposure. There's nothing healthy about those people who spend so much time tanning that they look like jerky, but the pallid cave look probably isn't the healthiest either.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:26 AM on May 30, 2016 [9 favorites]




If you're going to spend much time on a beach, you're better off letting a long sleeve rash shirt, longer shorts and a hat like this be your main protection, and then top up with sunscreen for the places it doesn't cover. Arm hair and all that problem stuff is no longer an issue, and a rash shirt worn slightly loose is surprisingly flattering/slimming, in a dark colour and with cool surf logos etc.

I am imagining that you must live in a fairly temperate place. Here in the southeastern US, between the sun and humidity, a dark colored long sleeve shirt is not something that is pleasant to wear on the beach.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:37 AM on May 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


I've been using sticks of sunscreen since I found out about them. They fit in a purse, no grease and not much smell, no stinging on sensitive skin. I just had a very sunny weekend, reapplying it regularly, and didn't burn. And yet somehow I suspect that they're so easy they don't in fact work.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:44 AM on May 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


I strongly suspect that with time the advice on this will shift to say that there are both benefits and costs to moderate sun exposure. There's nothing healthy about those people who spend so much time tanning that they look like jerky, but the pallid cave look probably isn't the healthiest either.

The current thinking is that tanning is a biological signal by the skin that reflects the presence of DNA impairment.

a dark colored long sleeve shirt is not something that is pleasant to wear on the beach.


It's for being involved in the water. If you're just sitting there, then you just need a parasol.
posted by Coda Tronca at 10:44 AM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


There are researchers who don't go so far as to recommend 100% avoidance of the sun:

"We found that patients with skin cancer who practice very good photoprotection [sun protection] have lower vitamin D levels," said Dr. Jean Tang, lead author of the study. "This makes sense because they're avoiding sunlight and sun is required to synthesize vitamin D."

But having healthy levels of the nutrient may be necessary to protect against cancer, broken bones, heart disease and even some autoimmune diseases.

posted by eye of newt at 10:45 AM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


You can get all the vitamin D you need from sunlight without tanning. There's no issue here.
posted by Coda Tronca at 10:46 AM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Until we have poffin boffin's pills to undo the damage caused by the sun, taking Vitamin D supplements seems like a better solution than advising people to get more sun exposure.
posted by straight at 10:48 AM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


the pallid cave look probably isn't the healthiest either

It was considered pure and beautiful back when everyone had to work out in the sun except for the very rich.
posted by straight at 10:50 AM on May 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


Actually, the best sunscreen is called 'indoors'. Hermits don't need sunscreen. I'd tell you to get off of my lawn but I'm not opening my blinds for anything.
posted by Splunge at 10:50 AM on May 30, 2016 [21 favorites]


You know where I'm definitely getting skin cancer if I get it though? The part of my hair on my scalp. There is no way to sunscreen that baby, I can't wear a hat all the time (actually I look pretty stupid in hats and it's also a pretty inappropriate look in 90% of situations) and it has been burnt as many days as I have seen the sun.

The amount of sunscreen they suggest you rub into your face daily is a (not even joking) 15 minute process to try to get it to absorb, and then you're left with a greasy mask, which you're then supposed to add moisturizer to, and then apply foundation and makeup on top of, which will just slide off your greasy ass sunscreen face and into your eyes and ruin everything.

What is the evolutionary purpose of me being so pale? Will I nakedly need to blend into a fresh snowfall one day? It's easy to say "don't get a tan, it's unhealthy" to people with beautiful olive skin tones, but you can see the veins IN MY FACE in the winter.
posted by euphoria066 at 10:51 AM on May 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


Because you’re probably taking your phone to the beach

All this talk of the beach, in the article and in this thread is damaging. Sunscreen is not a thing for the beach, sunscreen is a thing for being outside or by windows. Going to work? Unless you're traveling exclusively thorugh a tunnel to get there, put some sunscreen on. Walking the dog? Sunscreen. Driving to your friend's house? Sunscreen. Going to watch a baseball game? Sunscreen (she said, with a sunburn on her upper chest from Saturday's game, cause I swear, you always miss a spot). Washing the car? Sunscreen.

Sunscreen is not a beach thing.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:52 AM on May 30, 2016 [40 favorites]


Is the Great Barrier Reef already dead, so that we can go back to wearing sunscreen with a clear conscience?

Or was that all just bullshit, that crap about sunscreen chemicals destroying the planet's coral?
posted by fredludd at 10:53 AM on May 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


There is also the argument that increased sunscreen use leads to people staying out longer in mid-day summer sun, leading to more skin cancer, as is seen in Australia.
posted by eye of newt at 10:58 AM on May 30, 2016


The ingredient that damages coral DNA is called oxybenzone, and it's toxic to corals in very low amounts. Oxybenzone has other human health issues such as mimicing hormones or causing skin allergies, which are more reasons to avoid it.

You can choose sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide, which are natural mineral ingredients that have not been found harmful to corals, and avoid the skin and hormone issues at the same time. Stream2Sea, Badger Sunscreen, Cerave and Sun Worshipper sunscreen are some brands that don't have oxybenzone.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 11:10 AM on May 30, 2016 [31 favorites]


If you find the stinging from sunscreen getting in your eyes to be unbearable, I'd advise trying out a "physical" type sunscreen instead. They take a bit of getting used to, and definitely take longer to apply, but since I've switched I haven't had to deal with "sunscreen in the eyes!" blindness.

(on preview, what Hardcore said)
posted by Hutch at 11:10 AM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Or was that all just bullshit, that crap about sunscreen chemicals destroying the planet's coral?

About a third is dead/dying, yeah.
posted by meowzilla at 11:11 AM on May 30, 2016


> What is the evolutionary purpose of me being so pale?

To help with Vitamin D because the northern european wheat your ancestors ate lacks it.
Children with fair skins are able to get their daily dose of Vitamin D with just 10 to 20 minutes in the sun.
But research has shown that sun-protective skin pigments in black children means that it takes up four times as long for the skin to produce enough of the vitamin.
-Daily Mail
posted by morganw at 11:11 AM on May 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


The sunscreen chemicals that damages coral reefs are strictly, to my understanding, the newfangled chemical-based ones in the oxybenzone family. physical barriers like titanium oxide and zinc oxide are still fine. somehow it's harder to find physical-based ones for facial sunscreens in the west, because it does give a whitish cast. otoh... that's not a problem here in asia. If anyone is looking for recs, I'd still recommend japanese/east asian formulas because they're not sticky, but the trade-off is that they're formulated with alcohol in order to get that fast evaporation.

I was just about to comment about East Asian physicians are now trying to encourage people to avoid the sun less because of this concern about Vitamin D deficiency. I'm not surprised tbh, the lengths to which people avoid the sun...
posted by cendawanita at 11:12 AM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sunscreen and I were not friends for a very long time as I constantly burned even thought I was wearing them, and they dripped into my eyes, as people upthread have mentioned. Then I found better sunscreens. What they all have in common is that they are not creams. Antihelios 'fluid' feels nicer on, but if you really want to not burn, Rieman P20 all the way. It's easy to put a goodly amount on if the damn stuff stays where it is put, and feels fine to be on my skin all day once it has dried. Neither of them are great to put foundation over if used in full amounts, but what I tend to do is a thinner layer of the SPF50 antihelios then use a foundation with an SPF on top of it, and hope that the combination of the two will do the job of one thick layer of suncream. Looks ok, and they don't slide off unless you get sweaty (but if I get sweaty my makeup slides off anyway, so if I'm going to be sweaty I don't bother with makeup).

(I don't sunbathe because I'm ginger, but the above have served me well when spending all day outside on sunny days for other reasons.)

What is the evolutionary purpose of me being so pale?

Because rickets affects the pelvis. Rickets of the pelvis can lead a woman to have a pelvis that looks like this. There are probably other reasons as well, but I've always felt that the reason I'm so pale is that my ancestors were the ones who absorbed enough vitamin D in dark northern latitudes to not have rickets, rather than the less pale ones who died in screaming agony in childbirth.
posted by Vortisaur at 11:13 AM on May 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


oof, should've checked preview. :)
posted by cendawanita at 11:13 AM on May 30, 2016


Dr. Brewer said beachgoers often miss the bottoms of their feet, which can be exposed if they’re lying on their stomachs reading or napping.

ok you've gone too far dr brewer
posted by poffin boffin at 11:14 AM on May 30, 2016 [13 favorites]


sometimes i laugh with delighted abandon outdoors but there is no sunscreen on my gums or tongue, what now.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:15 AM on May 30, 2016 [49 favorites]


There are moisturisers with built in sunscreen. They feel as greasy as moisturiser.
posted by Damienmce at 11:18 AM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


euphoria066: Basically this.
posted by XtinaS at 11:20 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Didn't read the article, skipped to the pictures.

Kudos to this parent's smart technique for sunscreen application: A bottom-of-the-slide-ambush.
posted by cacofonie at 11:21 AM on May 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


I just don't go outside. I have the skin of a nerd half my age.

This is not a good thing, btw.



If you drape that over yourself before sun exposure you should be fine, although nerdskin doesn't protect very well against UVB.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:23 AM on May 30, 2016 [39 favorites]


I'm reading some of the alternative-to-regular-sunscreen suggestions with great interest because I don't just burn, I'm allergic or something. Less than half an hour of exposure and I'll start to break out in little itchy hives. P20 and rash shirts seem like promising directions to go in!
posted by Monster_Zero at 11:29 AM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here in the southeastern US, between the sun and humidity, a dark colored long sleeve shirt is not something that is pleasant to wear on the beach.

A dark colored shirt won't do much for you. A basic cotton shirt is like spf 5, I think I read, and cheap rash guards are maybe 15- esp if you wear them snug and they stretch.


I own varied layers of "beach" clothing that is rated between 15-50 spf. My irreverent friends refer to my look as "Beach Burqua". I always look like I'm on the way to the beach with outlandish tropical colors and patterns but I'm out of the sun. Even under 15 spf clothing I put on sunscreen. And I wear sunscreen on my face under the hats because I get reflected uv as well.

If I walk around with my elbows bent or sit with my knees bent, I'll burn through the spf clothing where it is stretched.

Palm Beach, Browrd, and Dade county may be hot as hell but these precautions keep me pale and healthy here. I went to Brevard county last weekend and was surprised how mild it was compared to the bottom of the state. Still needed all the SpF clothes. My fave is a surprisingly light bambooish Spf jacket --- I am a touch hotter than normal but the 50 Spf is saving my butt.
posted by tilde at 11:31 AM on May 30, 2016 [10 favorites]


Maybe this is a good time to remind everyone that there's really no low-melanin exception to the concept that it's rude as hell to make unwanted harassing comments about other people's appearance.
posted by thelonius at 11:49 AM on May 30, 2016 [14 favorites]


By 'rash shirt' I meant one specifically designed for the job - spf 50.

http://www.stingray.com.au


Brits on holiday throughout southern Europe tend to do a lot of 'beach burqa'. Certainly everyone's kids are in little tunics and hats.
posted by Coda Tronca at 12:13 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


It is totally impractical to apply sunscreen midday over makeup. And not reasonable to expect people to wash off and reapply SS and their makeup at 4:00 pm. The sprays are a sham, no way you can get enough on there to be useful. Same for powders.

Physical SS lasts all day, and you don't have to wait to go out with it on. Annoyingly, most of it is terrible under makeup; it makes all but the palest look sick thanks to the large particle size of the ingredients (and you don't want the nano sized particled ones, those bits go to livers apparently). It also feels like a mask made of zinc and/or titanium dioxide, because it is. And, the PPD isn't that high with physicals.

It's down to hats, really. I don't know how to wear a hat in a city and not feel like a jerk (and/or tourist).
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:16 PM on May 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that was a bizarre article, because I wear sunscreen every day, and I try very hard to avoid beaches. I need information about the kind of sunscreen that you wear when you're going to be living your normal life, which involves exposure to sunlight, and would still like not to get skin cancer.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:16 PM on May 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the organic SS suggestions! I'm going to try Badger next time I visit the beach. I have just enough melanin to be able to go day to day without sunscreen where I live, but I sweat profusely even just sitting in the sun, so when I'm at the beach I usually get very sweaty and inevitably any SS will run down into my eyes. The non-toxic ones seems like they might be a good solution for the face (I dunno if I can afford to spend that much for the whole body).
posted by numaner at 12:21 PM on May 30, 2016


I have skin prone to acne and have found the Sunsense face range really good.
posted by Coda Tronca at 12:35 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


. I am imagining that you must live in a fairly temperate place. Here in the southeastern US, between the sun and humidity, a dark colored long sleeve shirt is not something that is pleasant to wear on the beach.

I've never been there, but I grew up in the tropics and I find it totally normal and comfortable to wear a rash vest on the beach (high SPF clothing, as mentioned above) and I haven't worn less than a short sleeve shirt outside in over a decade - my guide is that if it's so hot I imagine it'd be comfortable to have less clothing, there's enough sun to burn me. In Australia it's pretty standard for every kid to be fully covered in clothing at the beach, although adults are less careful/smart about themselves.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:37 PM on May 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


I generally use lighter-colored (which usually means garishly brightly-colored, though you can find white and pastels if you hunt long enough) rash guards in hot humid climates, just to avoid the fabric itself getting unpleasantly hot when dry.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:46 PM on May 30, 2016


I wear a lot of sunscreen everyday and it makes a world of difference. My father had skin cancer due to extended exposure to sunlight without sunscreen so I'm extra careful and wary. Like cirhosis and others have said above, when you're really pale, sunburn happens even on cloudy winter days spent indoors. I will go outside occasionally sans sunscreen occasionally and find my vitamin D amounts are great. Depending on where you live, it doesn't take a lot of sun exposure get enough, although some people certainly require much more. I credit my "youthful looks" (unfortunate at 18, grateful now in my 30s) to genetics, trips to the dermatologist starting as a young teen, somewhat healthy living, and sunscreen!

I, too, dislike the smell and feel of many sunscreens available at the drugstore so I will special order mine online. My current brand is so-so but found the Spanish sunscreen Ladival the best ever! If anyone knows where to purchase it in the US, please let me know.
posted by smorgasbord at 12:56 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Or are they assuming you're on the beach and that should cover most of the body?

Yes. The measurement and answer to the question is provded in a single sentence in the very beginning "The Basics" section in TFA
posted by aydeejones at 1:06 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


sometimes i laugh with delighted abandon outdoors but there is no sunscreen on my gums or tongue, what now.

If you just think about skin cancer all the time when you are in the sun, it really cuts down on the delighted abandon and, hence laughing.

On the other hand, what do I know? I haven't been able to go out in the hateful light of the day-star since about 1820, so this is not really a pressing problem for me, unlike the humorless local villagers and their "quaint" pitchfork-mobs.

(Note, they don't have actual pitchforks; they just look down on my taste in music.)
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:10 PM on May 30, 2016 [14 favorites]


Scalp is a big one! If you're at all thinning on top and you also spend a fair amount of time outdoors, you're actually bound to get a ton of sun exposure up there. So lather that shit in. Personally I like the smell of sunblock and if I put it on before work it makes me feel like I'm going on an exciting beach adventure instead; yay!
posted by threeants at 1:13 PM on May 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


I've been using sticks of sunscreen since I found out about them.

Be careful because you could end up like
this if your friend is a lazy asshole.
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:23 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]



By 'rash shirt' I meant one specifically designed for the job - spf 50.

http://www.stingray.com.au


Thanks for the reminder and clarification .

But the US is the land of the free, home of the brave, and land of cheap knockoffs. The cheap ones aren't even measured at an spf and wear out fairly quickly. Sold at drugstores and low end department stores and fast fashion shops.

My stuff is rated and backed by the companies now that it's such a serous deal for me.
posted by tilde at 1:35 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


A basic cotton shirt is like spf 5

wow, really? i find that pretty surprising. Even just wearing cotton t-shirt I stay white as a ghost underneath it by contrast to the exposed arms etc. So...you basically need to bathe in this stuff or what?
posted by Hoopo at 1:36 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Are other animals susceptible to dangerous effects from sun radiation? I'm guessing most species don't live long enough for it to matter, but are there, like, tortoises with skin cancer on their heads/legs?
posted by threeants at 1:44 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sunscreen doesn't just destroy coral it kills zoo plankton. I wear physical sunscreen only and have for most of my life because the chemical stuff burns my skin plus because I'm in the water a lot. For the face when white paste won't cut it I recommend Elta MD hands down. The tinted one only comes in one color but it's somewhat neutral. Coola, Beauty Counter Protect, Neutrogena and Tarte are also good but you have to be careful once they start adding all kinds of extras since you are going to go and bake those extras under a giant energy source and all. The Honest Company makes a good cheap sunscreen but I'm allergic to the citrus based oils in it. That or they're sneaking oxybenzone in there which makes me burn a lot worse than the sun does. I find that problem a lot with the cosmetic type sunscreens- they add too many "plant extracts" and bam, it's irritating. OR they'll say "paba free!" but have a ton of other stuff in there that is just as irritating to the skin.

For the body and face when I don't care how I look I use Alba Botanica. Been using it for years including in the tropics. Works great. I've also used Badger, which is less whitening.

If you want to be super radical we recently found zinka online. They still make it in all seven colors!
posted by fshgrl at 1:46 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]




A basic cotton shirt is like spf 5

wow, really?


Well it depends ... Again, I'm in USA the land of the cheap. Burnout shirts are popular this year and they over the years have ranged from see through to heavy maxi dresses I wear without sunscreen.

I've been hitting the touristy areas in Orange and Brevard county these last few weekends. The shirts ranged from super thin to super thick -- so I sunscreen out the wazoo.

It was probably an ad for something like this I looked at a few summers ago for the kids.

http://www.amazon.com/Rit-Guard-Laundry-Treatment-Protectant/dp/B0000Y3F6W
posted by tilde at 1:52 PM on May 30, 2016


You know how some smokers just shrug and say "you gotta die of something" to justify that they can't imagine a life without cigarettes? That's basically my attitude about a life filled with mucking around with sunscreen. Ideally, I get out of the sun before burning and if I'm going to the beach to like hang out I have a nice umbrella. I also have a fine collection of hats. But as an avid skier, surfer, biker, and assorted outdoor sports enthusiast I live in a state of denial so I can avoid the torture of covering myself in grease thus preventing participation in any of the above sports. I've struggled with subjecting my kids to sunscreen because when they scream and cry about it, I think they have a valid point. So they never go near the water without their hats and swim shirts or they know that awful tube from Target will come out.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:53 PM on May 30, 2016 [11 favorites]


Are other animals susceptible to dangerous effects from sun radiation? I'm guessing most species don't live long enough for it to matter, but are there, like, tortoises with skin cancer on their heads/legs?

Pretty much every grey colored horse in North American ends up with melanomas by the end of its life. They usually don't kill the horse as most horses die in their mid-late 20s but they are typically riddled with them in sunny areas. Not nearly as common in Northern Europe. This is another reason never to eat horse meat in North America as they will accept these animals for slaughter without a second thought.

Any animal with pink or light colored skin or thing white hair will sunburn where the hair is thin: pigs, white markings on horses, cows occasionally, newly sheared sheep. Owners provide shade or apply sunscreen. Yes, really. Grazing animals might get into plants that make them more photosensitive and there's always the ones without the sense to come inside out of the sun so you have to really watch them and your pastures if you're in a really sunny area.

White cats in CA also generally end up with skin cancer on their ears if they're allowed outside.
posted by fshgrl at 1:54 PM on May 30, 2016 [12 favorites]


If you are the super paranoid type about sun exposure like I am, and know you have no choice but to be out in the mid-day Arizona sun for hours in the water without a chance to reapply. Use a diaper rash cream, they can come in zinc oxide percentages from 16 to 40 percent! You will look like a ghost, but it won't come off! Even if you want it too! Put it on thick! People might look at you funny, but you can't beat it for protection in unusual circumstances. (Open water swimming, triathlons) You won't change color at all.
posted by Dalton Luceria at 1:55 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Those pedigree cats with no fur basically have to be kept indoors else they will bask until cancer.
posted by Coda Tronca at 1:57 PM on May 30, 2016


The part of my hair on my scalp. There is no way to sunscreen that baby, I can't wear a hat all the time (actually I look pretty stupid in hats and it's also a pretty inappropriate look in 90% of situations) and it has been burnt as many days as I have seen the sun.

Although I use lotion for most of my exposed skin, I keep some spray sunscreen just for spraying into my hair, and massaging into my scalp as best as I can, for when I'm going to be outdoors for hours at a time. (I too dislike hats.) Sound gross? Yeah, it is. Still better than a sunburned scalp. Although a "clear spray" such as Banana Boat's "Sport Performance" tends to be slightly less gross than many other spray-on sunscreens which seem to be just aerosolized lotions. [warning, contains oxybenzone, if you use this you are personally responsible for the death of coral reefs and probably all life on earth eventually]

In my case, the need to re-apply is because if I'm out in the sun for more than 2 hours I'm probably also sweating like a pig and rinsing out and wiping off all the sunscreen with the sweat that is pouring off my face. Didn't reapply yesterday, but fortunately the diligent initial application of SPF 50 sunscreen still kept me to just a mild sunburn — probably not bad enough to peel — on my forehead, where I'm wiping away sweat the most, and sunburn-free elsewhere, after about 4 hours in the sun.

The article linked in the FPP doesn't address it, but perhaps you've heard elsewhere that it's possible to get sunburned even on an overcast day. It's true. Ask me how I know. Although in my experience you can get away with a lower SPF, I've learned to still apply some sunscreen if I'm going to be outdoors for several hours even when it's completely cloudy.

Also: if you wear mirrored sunglasses, pay special attention to the area around the top of your cheekbones, because they're getting a double dose of sunlight.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:03 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've never hated sunscreen and the coconut smell of Coppertone makes me smile. I don't buy the whole "shirts don't protect you" bit with the exception of sheer linen. A shadow is a shadow.

But, yeah, the less sun exposure your skin gets, the less it reflects the results of sun exposure.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:07 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


For an everyday sunscreen, I can't say enough good things about Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence. I never thought I could stand to wear sunscreen daily, but Japanese and Korean sunscreens have really been a game changer.
posted by bookish at 2:09 PM on May 30, 2016 [16 favorites]


I never use sunscreen.

First, I can't stand having anything on my skin. When I shower, I scrub with soap and rinse off. Thoroughly. No "product" in my hair, no lotion on my skin, no cologne, no deodorant. They all feel so disgusting. Plus, I really don't want my cats to have to eat that crap, which they would inevitably be forced to do after contacting my body.

Second, sunscreen doesn't really help much with the discomfort of sun exposure. Summertime sun just hurts. Five minutes here and there is fine, but no more. Living in a desert would be absolutely impossible for me. As it is, I scurry from shady spot to shady spot whenever I'm outside.
posted by yesster at 2:14 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Advanced technique: Move to western Washington (preferred home of sparkly vampires).
posted by mbrubeck at 2:21 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Personally, I don't think sunscreen works as well as appropriate clothing. If you're going out for a bit in the summer in California, you might want to have some basic sun protection. If you're going to stay out longer, consider a more protective outfit. Finally, if you're spending the entire day at the beach, you might want to go all out for protection.
posted by happyroach at 2:21 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oooh, is this the thread where we can pretend that MF is r/skincareaddiction? I stick to the physical sunscreens for the most part - the "natural" brands are expensive, but you can also use the baby version of the big brands and the price per ounce is much less. Avobenzone is the devil's own sunscreen! It turns my skin bright red and hot upon contact.

After years of avoiding chemical sunscreens, I decided that it wouldn't kill me to try the Biore Watery Essence. No red/burning reaction. It smells like restaurant citronella candles but not unpleasantly so. I haven't thoroughly tried it out, though. I hope this is something I can wear under makeup.

Speaking of sunscreen under makeup, for those of you that do, are you using the full 1/4 tsp recommended? I read reviews of products that I've tried and I wonder about the people who claim that this or that sunscreen wears beautifully under makeup.
posted by stowaway at 2:33 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I will be working on Warped Tour this summer and I have already bought a big floppy Tilley hat. Last year I was on for a month and came back ridiculously tan (for my base level of paleness), having gotten burnt repeatedly at the start in spite of applying sunscreen. Wearing long sleeves etc. sounds nice until you're confronted with June heat and (in some locales) humidity. Everything is drenched in sweat after like 3 hours. Less you have to be drenched in sweat, the better.

I am hoping to be more diligent with the sunscreen this time, especially given I'll be on for the whole tour and not just barely a month, although who knows if it will actually help. I've also read a little bit about antioxidants helping temper the effects of radiation exposure, so I may or may not be planning to buy a bunch of bulk green tea and just drink it endlessly. I'm like 70% sure it won't actually do anything significant, but maybe the good old placebo effect works for the cancer you're hoping not to develop later in life. At least the green tea will be nice in the summer sun. And hey, it may also help with the potential hearing damage??

I also burn and then tan whenever I go through a lap swimming phase since my favorite pool is outdoors. The speedo tanline is kind of fun.

Also, for fun, here's David Foster Wallace on sunscreen, from a supposedly fun thing i'll never do again: "I used to lifeguard part-time, and fuck this SPF hooha: good old ZnO will keep your nose looking like a newborn's."
posted by Gymnopedist at 2:48 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Be careful because you could end up like
this if your friend is a lazy asshole.


Oh my God I'm sorry but I laughed out loud. What was the other person thinking? Did they suddenly have a massive fit of insecurity about touching her lower back area?

I was under the impression that, prior to the hole in the ozone layer that appeared due to CFCs, people did not sunburn as readily, and that was why there was no sunscreen in the past. I'm pretty sure that's just an idea I picked up from earnest but jumbled grade school lessons about the environment, and that sunburn levels increased in the 20th century because that was when white people decided to use their leisure time to have fun outside without wearing yards of muslin or wool.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:03 PM on May 30, 2016


Although the Montreal Accord is basically the most successful environmental treaty ever and our release of ozone depleting molecules is way down, we are absolutely getting more UV due to stratospheric ozone destruction.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:15 PM on May 30, 2016 [11 favorites]


I'm glad staying healthy is so simple and pleasant. A basic round-up of easy ways to be healthy and young looking:

1. Engage in punitive physical activities such as running and weightlifting, as you're trying to convince your screaming brain that this is actually good, you're doing it because you want to. For best results, engage in these activities just as you wake up and are about to slave off to work for 10 hours, or right after you've returned, the painer, the gainer.
2. Pretend the outside is a perpetual Chernobyl on April 26, 1986, and wear buckets of gross, slimy white lotion even in the vicinity of a window. Make sure to have the same skin color as George Mallory on Mt. Everest year round.
3. Remember the golden rule that if something feels good enough where you really want to do it often, either don't do it or enjoy the cancer and/or infectious disease that inevitably comes with it.
4. Abide by the simple and non-confusing rules of eating, generously offered by the wise titans of nutritional science, such as eating fats will make you die of heart disease and not eating fats will make you' die from a disease that is caused by not eating enough fat. Also in the same spirit, vitamins are really good for you, and like all good things they too can cause cancer, so add some excitement to your life as you try to gamble how much of what, when.

If you do the above, you will leave behind the healthiest, most youthful 105 year old body that has ever died (looking maybe 85 at most) and because of the sheer misery of a life void of any pleasure, you'll get an added taste of immortality, as it will feel like you've lived for 200 years and death is just refusing to put you out of your misery.

(I'm just really bitter that there's no such thing as a healthy tan)
posted by ariadne_88 at 3:28 PM on May 30, 2016 [31 favorites]


For those agonizing over what hat to wear, how about a visor?

I carry a visor around with me at all times because
a) I live in Honolulu and tropical sunlight is no joke. While I think laugh lines are nothing to be ashamed of, I was stunned at how quickly skin gets that dry-aged look here and all the squinting into the bright afternoon sun was giving me headaches.
b) I wear glasses (and given my rate of losing sunglasses back when I wore contacts, I don't think getting prescription sunglasses is a good idea).
c) It's clearly a functional choice, not a fashion choice, so I don't care if I am wearing a fancy outfit and a golf visor.
d) Visors don't mess with your hairstyle.

Despite being 100% Korean, I've yet to graduate to the classic ajumma visor.
posted by spamandkimchi at 3:32 PM on May 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


A dark colored shirt won't do much for you. A basic cotton shirt is like spf 5, I think I read, and cheap rash guards are maybe 15- esp if you wear them snug and they stretch.

Tip: you can significantly improve the SPF performance of fabrics by applying "fabric brightener" to them. This can also be used to bring older sun-blocking fabrics (the SPF 50 rates ones) closer to original condition when they've been washes too much. Fabric brighteners contain compounds that fluoresce in UV light, which acts as a sunscreen. Make sure you note the difference between bleaches and fabric brighteners, or course.
posted by WaylandSmith at 3:32 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


A note to young women in particular: I was a pretty dedicated sun-avoider from the age of 14 on, but also not a sunscreen-wearer, and it wasn't until my late 30s that I started noticing - on myself and all my friends - a triangle-ish of sun damage from a lifetime of vee and blousey shirt necks that shows up in photographs better than in real life. Eventually you start seeing it in the mirror (about the time it really starts showing on the sides and upward planes of your face) and it'll flush extra bright when you shower, but it's startling the first time you see a picture of yourself in a group of women* and all the white women have the same splotchy pink skin on their chests even if their skin tones are different on the arms and face.

*Not that it doesn't happen to men. You can see really extreme examples of it on Sylvester Stallone, it's easier to see on film since he generally covers it with a collar and tie in personal appearances. There's not much the plastic surgeons can do for that area.

Most hats don't shade that spot, and even with dedicated parasol use that part of you is angled straight at the sun, so basically every time you go outside you're getting another blast. So even if you cannot stand sunscreen on your face, do your chest or use a scarf or wrap.

I'm not terribly vain, but that skin is getting crepey and capillary-y and looks a good 15 years older than the rest of me, scars really easily if scratched, and stings if I'm in the sun for more than a few minutes without covering it. Now I'm pretty good about keeping sunscreen on it, but I should have been doing it when I was 30.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:56 PM on May 30, 2016 [19 favorites]


I don't buy the whole "shirts don't protect you" bit with the exception of sheer linen. A shadow is a shadow.

It must vary with the weight and tightness of the weave, or the quality of the material. I rely on cotton shirts during the summer and have never been burnt through them, but an ex-girlfriend got one of the worst sunburns I have ever seen through her t-shirt, which looked just like every other t-shirt but was obviously transparent to UV light.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:01 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hereis the 4 spf cite. Third answer down spf on a plain cotton white shirt.

I should clarify the maxi dresses I don't wear sunscreen with ... They are crazy thick and I wear them outdoors maybe 30 min a day total on my way to and from errands .... I don't sun screen my legs daily but yes to outer exposed skin.

The 25 spf skirts I wore these last few tourist weekends I was outside for hours on pavement (reflected UV) I did sunscreen up everywhere. Even under the skirt but not the socks.
posted by tilde at 4:01 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


> I'm reading some of the alternative-to-regular-sunscreen suggestions with great interest because I don't just burn, I'm allergic or something. Less than half an hour of exposure and I'll start to break out in little itchy hives.

My mother has this condition, referred to as sun allergy or sun poisoning. In her case she has coped by wearing long-sleeved clothing, hats with ridiculous visors, and carrying parasols whenever possible when she has to be outside in sunny weather.
posted by needled at 4:13 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


It must vary with the weight and tightness of the weave, or the quality of the material.

I think this is something that is a much bigger problem with the sort of fabric women's clothes are made from than men's. Probably everyone has seen either on a friend or paparazzi/red carpet photo where a woman who thinks she's fully dressed (particularly in black fabric) actually isn't, when a flash goes off. I have had several shirts and dresses that were basically unwearable in daylight or photos even though they look absolutely opaque under normal indoor lighting.

I have burned through all kinds of clothing, and gotten really weird burns through clothing because of patterns or places where there was a placket or pocket or printing. Not all fabric is woven the same and not all shadow is shadow.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:26 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't know how to wear a hat in a city and not feel like a jerk (and/or tourist).

I ... have hat privilege? My city is unusually hat-friendly? What makes you feel like a jerk in a hat? (I sympathize if the kind of hat that would work best for your weather+formality+face has been adopted by a tribe of jerks, but also hope most people would notice that it's a becoming hat on you, and that you're not a jerk.)

I feel extra *plain* in a hat, sometimes, because people notice them and I'm mildly homely. Good-looking people are even better looking in the right hat.
posted by clew at 4:51 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Clew, you lie! You are not even a little homely. (I know her from dark Seattle pubs.)

Everything else you said about hats I can get behind. If you think you look bad in a hat, you simply haven't found the right hat.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:56 PM on May 30, 2016 [9 favorites]


clew, thank you, but, hats are super conspicuous! On women, anyway, at least that's how I feel. Especially actually sun-protective hats (brim needs to be ~8", iirc? I mean, look. Really now. I think these are cute, but I'm not and will never be Cameron Diaz (or the equivalent). I'm just not doing this.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:59 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm sure you're not homely, come on now!
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:00 PM on May 30, 2016


I wonder about the people who claim that this or that sunscreen wears beautifully under makeup.

all liars
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:03 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Too bad didn't read this two days ago before I got my first sunburn in years. I swear I put SPF 30 on but it didn't take. That and Toronto basically passed through the corona of the sun on Saturday.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:06 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


My uncle is a notoriously cheap bastard. One time as a kid, I swear to god, he was putting sunscreen on him, and my cousins!, while mixing it with water in his hand. His reason, "it goes a lot further, and it works the same". He burned the absolute living fuck out of himself on the first day, and we didn't see him again outside of the rented condo until it was time to pack up and go home. My poor cousins got a little burned too, but luckily for them my mom had them reapply (sans water) about an hour later out of their dad's sight.

No, sunscreen does not work the same if you mix it with water. Although I'll grant him it may have gone further.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:11 PM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oh, yeah, the enormous brimmed hats are Advanced Hat. But (a) in my lifelong experience, much more modest hats will shade your face and neck and ears. I've been wearing one a lot like this for decades. Literally one: it's lasted amazingly well. and (b) I would think the last one you linked would be pretty good and casual-looking on a lot of people -- the ad photo is all Glamour Closeup, but that's it's job and (c) (much more hypothetical) if you aren't self-conscious or actually a jerk, I think picture hats (or sparkly clothes, or fancy makeup, or for that matter black velvet cloaks) are reasonably fun for passersby and not jerky. But! Haters still gon hate, and if your haters hate on practical hats, that's a hassle.

(I think I'm homely in both the good and bad senses -- no face for a Romantic Lead but I would be very solidly cast as the Sensible Friend, possibly even the Funny Friend. I have adapted to this. Much calmer life.)
posted by clew at 5:20 PM on May 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


I use SPF 30-50 on my tattoos, face, neck, ears, feet, and hands. Usually zinc oxide on my face and ears if I'm going to do yard work or hang at the beach. I also wear a ball cap about 90% of my life and ALWAYS sunglasses. I have lived at the beach for 14 years out of almost 33 and I ALWAYS get carded anywhere I go; I credit my use of sunblock and my hats that mom always gave me hell for.

I will spray down the rest of my body with 15 at the end of the summer; March to August I wear 4-12, if anything at all. I have to be out in the sun for days with no sunblock to burn; I haven't had a real sunburn in years, and even then, I've never been as bad as a lot of people seem to get, and I don't turn "brown;" my skin looks more orange/gold (I'm a super light olive skin tone, like my dad and his family, if that makes sense; the freckles are from my mom, who was a ginger). I worry about skin cancer sometimes; a friend of mine had a big old chunk taken out of his shoulder in the winter, but he's older and never wears sunblock even though I yell at him. I have permanent tan lines from being outside for so many years, but I also visit my dermatologist and I kind of like the little bits of tan I can keep over the winter. Also, my occupation causes cancer, so it's one of those things...and since my buddy is in the same line of work, no one knows if the growth was a result of sun exposure or some other exposure in 33 years of firefighting.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 5:21 PM on May 30, 2016


Biore perfect milk. I use it every day under makeup. Every day, no exaggeration. It can give a bit of a white cast but it goes under the makeup so it's not a big issue. It's about $10 on amazon so it doesn't hurt to try. If you're worried about being greasy, just wait 5 minutes after applying to put on your makeup - but I usually wait about 1 minute and my makeup stays on all day without issue.
posted by sarae at 5:56 PM on May 30, 2016


@clew - hmm, maaaaybe... Will reconsider. I'm aggressively normcore lately for various reasons, but I guess there's always room for some kind of fun. (The main hater is probably my obnoxious inner fashion policeperson, when it comes down to it. They are telling me it's going to come across as "colonial" or way too cute for my demographic/habitus [tallish, severe-browed]. That said, melanoma isn't cute at all, I realize.)

(I won't argue with you on your self-casting, there; "Supporting Actor" & "calm" sound pretty good to me. I may also give credit to Slarty Bartfast here, if that's ok.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:57 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't enjoy sunscreen, but I did buy some mango-scented Coola and I prefer that to the usual chemical or coconut scent. I use an SPF moisturizer on my face, then makeup, then an SPF setting spray in the summer. I wear the occasional fashion hat (I have a few different styles that match ny various looks.) Works for me!
posted by stoneandstar at 6:00 PM on May 30, 2016


There are 10,000 deaths each year in the USA from Melanoma compared to about 30,000 deaths from automobile accidents.

Lets assume assume that "going out in the sun" is about as common as "driving somewhere". I think a fair assumption for many, but not all.

If so, we conclude that driving is 3x as dangerous as sun exposure.

Imagine if a government agency suggested you slather your body with a shot-glass full of "driving oil" each time you got in a car to reduce your risks of death.

Would you do it?

What if the "driving oil" needed to be applied to your eyes and hands, and was rumored to increase the risk of accidents?
posted by soylent00FF00 at 6:27 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Uniqlo and some other asian stores sell UV-protective clothes. They're just regular cotton t-shirts and cardigans and other basics but with some kind of UV stuff added so you get a boost.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:32 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


REI has all kinds of UV blocking clothes.
posted by bongo_x at 6:37 PM on May 30, 2016


Imagine if a government agency suggested you slather your body with a shot-glass full of "driving oil" each time you got in a car to reduce your risks of death.

Would you do it?
Maybe? If there were evidence that it was effective? I'm old enough to remember when adults didn't wear seatbelts, and lots of people were outraged by laws that required them to do so. And now that outrage seems stupid, and it's clear that wearing a seatbelt is a minor imposition that saves a lot of lives. There are definitely limits, but I am in favor of taking common-sense precautions to minimize realistic risks.

My father had melanoma, so I'm at a higher risk than the general population. I'm also concerned about less dangerous but still potentially disfiguring skin cancers, which are super common and have a much clearer link to sun exposure. I think I'm generally pretty sensible about health risks, and I don't freak out about every little thing. But this is a relatively easy thing to protect against, so I view it like wearing a seat belt.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:45 PM on May 30, 2016 [14 favorites]


Maybe? If there were evidence that it was effective? ...
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 18:45 on May 30 [+] [!]

posted by bongo_x at 6:47 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'd definitely wear the driving oil. Cars are insanely dangerous and anything that makes them safer would be good. And I'd trust actual research and data over "rumours" that they cause accidents, for sure. Where can I get this driving oil?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:51 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Where can I get this driving oil?

Sent a link to my web site to your memail. Buy now and and get a second bottle free with additional processing fee. Please share with all your Facebook friends.
posted by bongo_x at 6:53 PM on May 30, 2016


Great! I assume your web site will have links to all the peer reviewed research on driving oil.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:56 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Imagine if a government agency suggested you slather your body with a shot-glass full of "driving oil" each time you got in a car to reduce your risks of death.

Would you do it?


Oh man, absolutely. I would probably install a driving oil shower in the garage. I would keep spritzer bottles in all the cup holders. That isn't the important number for a lot of us; I have a basically 100% chance of having some kind of sun-related health issue down the line. The only question is how bad and when.

ALSO, fun fact, if you are an idiot like me always put on sun block when you drive. I thought car windows had more sun protection, but that was a lie I told myself. I always wore long sleeves while driving, but I try to keep up with the sunscreen stick on my hands and face too now.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:00 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


I live in Arizona and am very sun-conscious so nothing in the FPP article was new to me. It's not at all uncommon here to see women and men wearing hats, and parasols are becoming more common, especially on the university campus.

I've been wearing lotion style sunscreen daily since I moved here (1984) and I do think my 47 year old face is looking pretty good because of my diligence. I wear hats outside and expend a lot of effort jus staying out of the sun in general.

So for daily sun exposure I have my favorite products, but I have more problems when going on vacation or doing outdoorsy activities, because I can get asthma *and* migraines triggered by scents in cosmetics. So many sunscreens have *strong* fragrances in them that slay me and so having to buy full body type sunscreen products is such a chore. I hate spending an hour sniffing bottles in a Walgreens on vacation, but it's better than ending up wheezing with a blinding headache.

I'm tempted by the sexy Japanese sunscreens linked in this thread, but without being able to smell them, I have great trepidation.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:03 PM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh! Also, I'll out myself as someone who watched Dr. Pimple Popper videos on YouTube and watching her laser-burn-slice melanomas off people's faces will hella for sure make you feel dutiful about your sunscreen!

(Heard of solar comedones? I hadn't until watching dermatologist videos, but they're giant old blackheads you get from prolonged sun exposure. People who drive a lot will have a lot more on the left side of their face.)
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:07 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I live in Arizona and am very sun-conscious so nothing in the FPP article was new to me.

Yup, here in Albuquerque where we have clear skies almost every day, and we're a mile up where there is less atmospheric protection from UV rays, sunscreen is a year round habit for almost everyone I know. Drugstores here keep a fully stocked sunscreen section all the time, and I stock up on our preferred products 4 at a time when they go on sale.
posted by antimony at 7:53 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm so pale you can see the veins in my FACE, but I still test "incredibly low" (per my doc) levels of vitamin D. And I bike to/from work, so I should have enough sun exposure I would think. Maybe I'm reflecting the sun back at itself.

I have a wide-brimmed fedora that doesn't make me look too much like Carmen Sandiego, maybe I just need to invest more time in finding cool hats. I cut my hair short and I DO think hats look cooler with cute bobs than they do with messy ratnest hair.

I dutifully sprayed sunscreen into my scalp last time we were in mexico and I wasn't going to wear my cool sun hat, and got burned anyways, and looked like the greasiest person who has ever lived in all our honeymoon photos.
posted by euphoria066 at 7:54 PM on May 30, 2016


This question of driving oil reminds me of something I saw years ago, maybe even on Metafilter: that if you're in a room full of people and ask if people have spare stamps in their pockets, half the people will and half won't and each half will be completely perplexed by the other -- each finding it so obvious that of-course-you-keep-some-stamps-handy or who-would-ever-think-to-buy-more-stamps than-they-need-and-just-carry-stamps-around?

I mean it seems to me like if this driving oil existed, of course everyone would use it. Why would you not do something simple to make one of the most dangerous things you do safer? And the person asking the question seems to be thinking "that would be crazy! Who would rub oil on themselves just to do something they routinely do every day? Surely with this analogy people will see how ludicrous sunscreen is!"

Apologies for putting words in another mefite's mouth, but that's sort of what I thought the intent /logic of the original driving oil comment was. If I have completely misread, then feel free to correct me.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:11 PM on May 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


Advanced technique: Move to western Washington (preferred home of sparkly vampires).

Half the people i know are burned lobster red after the past few days, and were generally crisped by this months unusually sunny/warm weather.

So i mean, with the past couple years of weather, YMMV
posted by emptythought at 9:59 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sunscreen is a sham. Buy a hat.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:20 PM on May 30, 2016


Sunscreen is old hat.
posted by benzenedream at 10:28 PM on May 30, 2016


An umbrella parasol is quite the look for a lady strolling in the sun. Accompanying dude can wear an outsize trucker cap. Total hipsters.
posted by Coda Tronca at 11:48 PM on May 30, 2016


Parasol (or, more likely, just a rain umbrella) when it's sunny is a common sight in New Orleans. I think it helps that it is kind of like a moving pocket of shade.
posted by Night_owl at 2:18 AM on May 31, 2016


Snickerdoodle: don't try to logic them with the risk of synburn, logic them with the risk of tan. Since they obviously do get tanned, they can't tell you it won't happen. And a tan IS skin damage, so it's something to be avoided i itself, not just because you could burn later/instead.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 4:07 AM on May 31, 2016


Looking young for my years doesn't do me a whole hell of a lot of good when I can't leave the house. Sun allergy/PMLE is no joke, though good luck getting medical help. I may have a few feels about this.

Yes, I wear sunscreen and UV protective clothings. No, it doesn't really help. Window glass provides no protection. The only thing that might help would be to go full face shield, and people would stare and I couldn't drive in it anyway. Also, it is surprisingly humid here and there's almost no A/C.

I'd better stop because I need to go to bed before it gets too early.
posted by monopas at 4:17 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know where I'm definitely getting skin cancer if I get it though? The part of my hair on my scalp. There is no way to sunscreen that baby, I can't wear a hat all the time (actually I look pretty stupid in hats and it's also a pretty inappropriate look in 90% of situations) and it has been burnt as many days as I have seen the sun.

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/05/28/the-perfect-hat-for-your-ugly-mug/

Scalp sunscreen also exists.

The amount of sunscreen they suggest you rub into your face daily is a (not even joking) 15 minute process to try to get it to absorb, and then you're left with a greasy mask,

The famous Beauty Blender and one of its many less expensive dupes. Don't dampen the sponge before you use it with sunscreen, though. I spritz mine with homemade sanitizing spray (1/6 baby shampoo, 1/3 alcohol, 1/2 water) after each use, and replace it every 3 months.

which you're then supposed to add moisturizer to,

Um, no? If you put moisturizer on it you're just wiping it off. You put your moisturizer on FIRST, then give it ten minutes to absorb before you add sunscreen. Then you wait 5-8 minutes, assuming your sunscreen is chemical; if it's all-mineral you can proceed right to the next step.

and then apply foundation

I personally don't need foundation because the sunscreen itself does that job, though YMMV.

and makeup on top of, which will just slide off your greasy ass sunscreen face and into your eyes and ruin everything.

Any reason why you're not using translucent powder and eyelid primer before makeup?

What is the evolutionary purpose of me being so pale? Will I nakedly need to blend into a fresh snowfall one day?

In the north, we get less sunlight and some of us go for entire seasons with no sunlight at all. So the skin is as translucent as possible to get as much vitamin D to it as possible. I guess if you moved to Iceland, your skin would be a lot closer to its natural habitat, so you could try that.

It's easy to say "don't get a tan, it's unhealthy" to people with beautiful olive skin tones, but you can see the veins IN MY FACE in the winter.

That's nothing to be ashamed of, everyone has a blood supply to their face. Russian fairytale beauties used to be described as "and her marrow flows from bone to bone" which is as freaky as it sounds, but what it's meant to convey is that she's so pale you can see all the way through to her bone marrow, like The Visible Woman, or something. If it ever gets that bad for you, call us back.
posted by tel3path at 4:51 AM on May 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


"tanning" == "human toast" I mean, if your skin is changing color, you must be done on that side!
--
The NIH changed their web site and broke my link, but I believe that I read a minimum recommended width for a hat brim of 3". (Ah, right, it's from when I posted about my awesome hat-that-isn't-a-fedora, back in 2012, which I wear because I don't want cancer on top of my skull.)

Anyway, the CDC says to wear a "wide brimmed hat" and then specifically calls out baseball caps for leaving almost everything still vulnerable: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm#hat

GO BUY A DAMN HAT, PEOPLE.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:37 AM on May 31, 2016


1. Hats work better if you have short hair. I do now, but I used to not. Hat hair is no fun, especially hot sweaty hat hair, so hats are not going to work for many people on their way to places where appearance matters.
2. If it's hot enough to melt your sunscreen your makeup would melt off anyway, so why bother with it? I only wear makeup in non-sweating situations for this reason. Maybe put makeup on when you get indoors/can wash off the sunscreen?
3. I feel like we should just go ahead and be fine with parasols for non-beach situations at this point.
4. I also feel like every playground/water park should be mandated to have those shade thingies over it or some other form of sun blocking because they're basically roasting racks for children in the summertime.
5. In fact, there needs to be a lot more focus on sun-blocking capabilities in all public places, especially in places like Texas where it's a blistering hellscape from 10am to 6pm out there.
posted by emjaybee at 7:03 AM on May 31, 2016


2. If it's hot enough to melt your sunscreen your makeup would melt off anyway, so why bother with it? I only wear makeup in non-sweating situations for this reason. Maybe put makeup on when you get indoors/can wash off the sunscreen?

This is kind of - wow, look, people have their reasons for wearing makeup, and I think those should just be let alone. Not all of them involve capitulating to The Man. I'm not going to get into it more than this, because I don't feel I should have to and am a little irked that it's even been brought up, but I invite you to consider for a moment that dermatology is a specialty for a reason. Bit rude :/
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:56 AM on May 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


2. If it's hot enough to melt your sunscreen your makeup would melt off anyway, so why bother with it? I only wear makeup in non-sweating situations for this reason.

I've tried to force all of my friends and relatives to host their weddings in December-January but for some reason those assholes won't listen.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:36 AM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


> 2. If it's hot enough to melt your sunscreen your makeup would melt off anyway, so why bother with it? I only wear makeup in non-sweating situations for this reason. Maybe put makeup on when you get indoors/can wash off the sunscreen?

No, my makeup doesn't slide off in hot weather when I'm just doing ordinary getting-from-place-to-place outside activities *unless there's sunscreen beneath it.*
posted by desuetude at 8:56 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/05/28/the-perfect-hat-for-your-ugly-mug/

It's telling that they don't have a single picture of a contemporary man wearing a hat accompanying that article.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:02 AM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Any reason why you're not using translucent powder and eyelid primer before makeup?

For me, a medium- to unskilled makeup applier, this really feels like, "Why not apply cake frosting from a can to your face? It looks just like human skin, and you can put your blush on top of it."

I mean, moisturizer+sunscreen+ translucent powder+liquid foundation?
posted by purpleclover at 9:31 AM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


No, moisturizer+sunscreen+translucent powder or moisturizer+sunscreen+liquid foundation+translucent powder.

I think YouTube is your friend here, not like in the olden days when we were just expected to KNOW this stuff without having to learn it first.

The light bulb moment for me, back in the Dark Ages, was when I read something that told me I was supposed to "dot smartie-sized dabs of foundation in the places shown in the diagram" (iirc centre of forehead, apples of cheeks, tip of nose, chin, cheekbones) "and blend outward with a sponge. If you want more coverage, keep building up thin layers."

So that's what I did with foundation, and that's basically what I now do with sunscreen.
posted by tel3path at 9:46 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Did they ever back off of the assertion, common when I was in my 20s, that basically all of the damage that really affects you is done before you're even 18 anyway? Because that's what I've been using to justify my somewhat blase attitude toward sun protection--if I was already hosed by my childhood spent roasting outdoors, why spend a fortune on (dubiously effective) miserable goops now?
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:05 AM on May 31, 2016


If it helps, here's exactly what I do. I've had a lifetime of oily skin/acne/too-pale-for-the-market/dry surface issues, so this is the result of a lifetime of trial and error, and YMMV. That said:

As soon as I get out of the shower I apply Cetaphil Daily Advance moisturizer and set a timer for 10 minutes. They also have a moisturizer with SPF 50, and I tried that a couple of years ago but I found that it was not moisturizing enough for me and left me with dry lines. It also, being a moisturizer, was not much good as a base for makeup and I would have had to use foundation over it, which would mean I wasn't skipping that step so why bother. If I wanted to go out for a run first thing in the morning, though, I would probably use it knowing I was going to shower and dress afterwards anyway.

During those 10 minutes, I busy myself with other things - mostly, with applying sunscreen to any body parts that will be uncovered, or covered with only 1 layer of fabric (unless that fabric is denim). So for example if I'm wearing a lined calf-length skirt with sandals, I apply the sunscreen all the way up to my knees to allow for the skirt's moving around. If I'm going to be outside a lot I might apply the sunscreen all the way up the thighs because of light reflecting off the pavement. To figure out how many layers I'll be wearing, I check the maximum daily temperature and if it's 18 degrees or warmer, I assume I might go outside without a jacket and plan accordingly.

Lately I've been looking for new brands of sunscreen because I've gotten sick of my white clothes turning yellow and I'm sick of all this chemical shit that constantly gets put in sunscreen. So I got this Blue Lizard Sensitive which is all-mineral and non-staining, but expensive, and also this Calypso which is chemical, but purportedly non-staining and one of the least expensive. I also got this Raw Elements stick to carry around because it's all-mineral and non-staining, but it's really expensive.

I used to use sprays, but I got sick of breathing it in and sick of having my furniture covered in a sticky film that can't be cleaned off and sick of it turning my clothing yellow. But, I haven't actually tried any of these new brands yet as I'm still using up my old stuff, so these aren't exactly recommendations, but it's what I'm trying right now.

By the time that's done, the 10-minute timer is usually about to go off. I take a Beauty Blender or a dupe thereof, and without dampening the sponge, I scoop out some of this Ocean Potion with my hands and I schmear it over my face as though lathering up for a TV soap commercial. Whatever's left on my hands, I smooth over my hands. Then I pat the sponge - pat, not wipe - until the sunscreen is spread smooth and translucent all over.

I realize Ocean Potion is chemical and I'll look for an alternative when I have the energy, but for now it works the best for sun protection, gives the best finish, and doesn't make me break out.

I then do a few other things like fixing my hair, which take a few minutes, and then I go back to my face. FYI I apply zit concealer with a brush (Prescriptives in b/r light) and, if I'm wearing eyeshadow, a liquid eyelid primer for powder shadow or a stick primer for cream shadow. I smooth that down with the sponge as well. Then I take a big fluffy brush, dip it into my jar of loose powder, tap off the excess, and brush it all over my face. I have very oily skin, though, so again YMMV. I comb out the excess with a lash comb.

I then take a lipscreen with at least SPF 15 - Carmex is great - and then I can stop there or apply makeup according to my plan for the day.

As for hair, I always wear my hair in a style that's not affected by hats, but previously I used to pin the front of my hair out of the way with a bobby pin and, when I took off the hat, take out the pin and stash it in the interior band of the hat. To maintain volume at the back of your head, you can push the back of the hat up with a snap when you put it on. Running wet fingers through your hair will reactivate your styling products.

I'm partial to the hats in this range, but note they come in various crown heights and with varying amounts of taper. I have a long head relative to my full height, so if the crown of my hat is too high, I just look like a drooping Flowerpot Man so I try to keep the crown height somewhere around the 4 to 4 and a half inch level.
posted by tel3path at 11:08 AM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


(I feel like this assertion often appeared in magazines with a set of UV photos showing sun damage at 18 and sun damage at 35, in which the two were basically identical, except the 35 year old had visible wrinkles to show for it.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:09 AM on May 31, 2016


Did they ever back off of the assertion, common when I was in my 20s, that basically all of the damage that really affects you is done before you're even 18 anyway?

Yeah, it's definitely not true and I'll try to find the citation.
posted by tel3path at 11:09 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can get a sunburn sticking my hand out the window to see if it's raining. I hate and despise sunscreen, and have never found one that didn't feel like rubbing on extra-stinky Elmer's Glue. Sunscreen makers: is there really no way to make sunscreen that is not greasy, gooey, and stank?

I love to kayak, so when I go out, I wear a big ol' dorky hat with the SPF-50 clothes, a bandana at my collar, long sleeves, and long pants - my "boating burka." It is hot and humid here in NC, but on the water is usually a little cooler.

I've had countless sunburns, and quite a few really serious sunburns. Like Lyn Never, I have permanent sun damage on my neck and chest from v-neck shirts and no sunscreen. Stupid sunscreen.
posted by corvikate at 11:12 AM on May 31, 2016


Oh! I should add that I tried the Biore Sarasara facial sunscreen because it looked good for reapplying to the face before driving home from work. But it's really difficult and expensive to get hold of in the UK and when I could find some, it made me break out.

I did find some Japanese Coppertone facial sunscreens in the pound shop - equally portable, they also reapply nicely to my face before driving home from work, and they don't break me out. So I always carry one with me at this time of year.
posted by tel3path at 11:18 AM on May 31, 2016


my eyes immediately started watering and stinging as soon as i started reading this thread

i hate sunscreen on my face so much but i'm going to order that biore aqua rich watery essence that yall recommended on the off chance that maybe i'll finally find a sunscreen that doesn't make my face feel like a greasy eye-watering mess
posted by burgerrr at 11:26 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've had countless sunburns, and quite a few really serious sunburns. Like Lyn Never, I have permanent sun damage on my neck and chest from v-neck shirts and no sunscreen. Stupid sunscreen.

Moreover, every serious sunburn I've had has been acquired in spite of diligent sunscreen application. I avoid spending much time in the sun, but when it's been unavoidable (July outdoor weddings, I'm looking at you) no amount of applying and re-applying has ever prevented the burn. It does not inspire one to dedicate much time to the effort. I use a moisturizer with SPF as a nod to the basic idea of it, but on a daily basis cannot be arsed to do much more than that.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:27 AM on May 31, 2016


For people trying out Japanese sunscreens for the first time, I recommend trying a couple if you can, since preferences vary. The product available up until a couple of months ago (so, what most of us in the USish have tried) has mostly been replaced with "gel" versions (the previous texture was a thin serumy lotion) this year, which may not perform like the previous ones. I haven't tried the gel versions of my two favorites (I like the Biore Aqua Rich okay and use it on my chest and arms, but I like the Shiseido Senka better on my face) yet.

I do recommend taking it off when you're done and making sure not to sleep in them. I am fine through a day with all the Japanese formulas I've tried, but if I slack overnight it almost always gives me a rosacea flare.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:42 AM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


For people with fragrance sensitivities who want to try Japanese sunscreen: Hada Labo Uv Creamy Gel and UV Perfect Gel are both completely fragrance free. Not "unscented" as in masking ingredients, but no fragrance ingredients at all (I've done ingredient breakdowns on both). Smells like alcohol and chemicals.
posted by monopas at 11:54 AM on May 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


basically all of the damage that really affects you is done before you're even 18 anyway?

If Freud had been a dermatologist...
posted by Coda Tronca at 12:13 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Although, re my earlier comment - I appreciate that what it was responding to was an effort to offer a logical solution to what is evidently a problem. I've done that many, many times, I get it, sorry for going over the top for a bit there. What Lancome has joined together, let no one put asunder, is all I'm saying.)

For a zinc spf that's only medium-sucky under makeup, and easily accessible to Canadians (but unfortunately, really only practically useful to pale ones :/) I am *ok* (like just ok) with derma-e's antioxidant spf 30. It's matte. A little chalky :/ The options are what they are, hey :/ May try the Japanese SS, if I can adequately emotionally regulate when the shipping fees are made clear.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:34 PM on May 31, 2016


The most interesting takeaway here is that apparently Japanese sunscreen is way superior to any other sunscreen. Why is that?
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:49 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


It unfortunately does, because it even makes me (NC20-25) look ashy unless I've got a good bit of pigment over it :/

There are a few pigmented zinc CC creams I've seen, but most are still probably not ideal for women of (any) colour and are loaded up with oils (not great for skin that's not actively dry).

One tip I saw in the reviews for the derma-e was to mix a few drops of very strong pigment into the SS, but I think that takes a bit of knowledge of colour theory. The zinc has a blueish base, to my eye.
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:12 PM on May 31, 2016


I despise sunscreen. I just hate it. Nothing can compel me to use it on the regular, no matter how strong the arguments. That said, when I do force myself to use it, Korean/Japanese sunscreens are the only things I will touch. The difference between Korean/Japanese and US sunscreen is just absurd. Thin and pleasant v. goopy and greasy. So for those people who are better than me, and able to care even a little about applying sunscreen, check some of them out. They are pretty life-changing. (I prefer Hada Labo and Missha, but plenty of options out there.)
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 1:14 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


> Oh man. Now I feel all sorts of guilty for not putting sunscreen on my kids. They basically get tanned after 5 minutes in the sun and never burn, so it's hard to logic them into wearing it.

> a tan IS skin damage

True... but while there are other cancers that are no walk in the park (basal and squamous cell carcinomas), the really bad guy is of course malignant melanoma. However, it looks like (according to this lit review) sunburn, specifically, is a much stronger predictor of melanoma risk than lifetime total sun exposure. Total sun exposure doesn't seem to be linked to melanoma risk unless you live in the low latitudes. So if you're not letting your kids get actually sunburned and you don't live close to the equator, while it's probably a good idea to use sunscreen on them going forward, I at least wouldn't beat yourself up about the melanoma risk.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:19 PM on May 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


There are these drops by CoverFX, and these (more daunting, to me, but possibly more effective in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing) by Makeup Forever
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:24 PM on May 31, 2016


Cotton dress sock, I've been eyeing the custom cover drops, too, but it seems like a potentially expensive mistake.
posted by stowaway at 1:27 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, for those looking for a physical sunscreen and have medium-toned skin, I like Cotz. I wear that sometimes when I am feeling especially squicked out about slathering the entire surface of my body in relatively new substances which are also proven to harm marine life.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 1:28 PM on May 31, 2016


I mean it seems to me like if this driving oil existed, of course everyone would use it. Why would you not do something simple to make one of the most dangerous things you do safer? And the person asking the question seems to be thinking "that would be crazy! Who would rub oil on themselves just to do something they routinely do every day? Surely with this analogy people will see how ludicrous sunscreen is!"

Because what's simple to you isn't simple to everyone?

I have sensitive skin and fragrance allergies, which means that the only sunscreens that I can use are 1) expensive, 2) going to create a white sheen over my olive skin that makes me look like I am dying of some awful disease, 3) going to make my clothes stick to my skin and leave a chalky white residue on the clothes if I dress soon after it's applied.

I have exactly enough time and energy in the morning to shower, dress, and apply sunscreen to areas that are not covered by clothes. I don't do makeup, but if I did, I wouldn't have time both for makeup and sunscreen (especially since there is a Waiting Period between sunscreen and makeup application). But apparently I'm still Doing It Wrong because I'm not getting up 30 minutes earlier to applying it to areas underneath clothes and waiting until it absorbs before getting dressed.

I have decided to give no fucks about looking weird and ugly and sickly, but I suspect that people who need to look better than I do may need to prioritize makeup. Or may not be able to afford sunscreen that works with their makeup or doesn't irritate their skin. Or may have even less time to get ready in the morning than I do.
posted by creepygirl at 1:28 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


The US has worse sunscreen options than Japan because in the US, sunscreens are considered an OTC drug and not a cosmetic ingredient. The regulatory hurdles for OTC drugs is much higher than that of cosmetics. I imagine the cost of the approval process is just not worth it to the manufacturers.
posted by stowaway at 1:30 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


As someone who generally likes harm reduction I would love to see studies that see whether the long-term dangers of taking something like Melanotan in the medium-to-long term (apart from the dangers of self-injecting a sketchy powder of unknown provenance, I mean!) actually exceed the dangers of for-real tanning. (Melanotan is a synthetic mimic of a hormone that stimulates melanin production, which has been in trials for e.g. vitiligo patients and immunosuppressed individuals.)
posted by en forme de poire at 1:34 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Did they ever back off of the assertion, common when I was in my 20s, that basically all of the damage that really affects you is done before you're even 18 anyway? Because that's what I've been using to justify my somewhat blase attitude toward sun protection--if I was already hosed by my childhood spent roasting outdoors, why spend a fortune on (dubiously effective) miserable goops now?

I think that the origin of this advice had to do with studies (several? at least one) that linked a blistering sunburn before the age of 18 to an increased risk of melanoma, but not adult sunburns. They may be discredited or out-of-date now, but I think that's where that message came from. Sunburns are bad for other kinds of skin cancer too, but melanoma — the one that'll kill you — is hard to predict. My understanding is that basal and squamous cell carcinoma are basically more sun=more cancer. Melanoma is more complicated than that; I'm glad en forme de poire linked to a summary above. (Also, get your moles checked! All your moles! Checked!)
posted by purpleclover at 2:08 PM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


And my eyes totally sting too from the extra-exhaustive sunscreen application I did this morning! I haven't even been outside yet!
posted by purpleclover at 2:11 PM on May 31, 2016


ugh I totally have irregular nevi I have been procrastinating on getting checked because I don't have a dermatologist here yet. Thanks for the reminder, purpleclover.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:55 PM on May 31, 2016


> Here in the southeastern US, between the sun and humidity, a dark colored long sleeve shirt is not something that is pleasant to wear on the beach.

For clothing , UPF represents the ratio of sunburn-causing UV without and with the protection of the fabric and you can certainly get UPF 50 clothing in light colors. After burning horribly with SPF 30 on in Joshua Tree, I stopped at an outfitter the next morning for a hat & a glorious white shirt. It's blousy and has flaps and vents and stayed really comfortable. It was dry & there was a little breeze, so not as comfortable as in the southeast, but we were also out in the sun & climbing around on rocks all day, too. Here's a similar one.
posted by morganw at 3:09 PM on May 31, 2016


I actually own light colored high UPF clothing that I wear when appropriate, but it really isn't comfortable when it's 95 degrees outside and 80% humidity. I'm just amused by all the advice being given here as though everyone lives in the exact same climate and has the exact same skin.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:25 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm just amused by all the advice being given here as though everyone lives in the exact same climate and has the exact same skin.

New to the internet? Ah, you probably didn't realize there's only one right way to do everything.
posted by bongo_x at 5:39 PM on May 31, 2016


> By the time that's done, the 10-minute timer is usually about to go off.

Oooooof. I want to genuinely acknowledge that you are endeavoring to be helpful and informative and you are probably totally lighting a spark for people who are already kind of your ilk, but to me, your rote morning routine sounds to me like "oh, I just whip up a simple quick breakfast of a soufflé and fresh-squeezed orange juice and cappuccino with beans I roasted myself."

But I'm not being snarky; I'm totally interested to see how different these little details of peoples' lives can be. My coworkers often compliment me for looking very put-together in the morning, but your routine honestly boggles my mind and I wouldn't even be able to remember all of that on a daily basis. Things that seem practical to one person are unfathomably complicated for others.
posted by desuetude at 6:13 PM on May 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry. You're right, it is impossible and I can't be of any help here; I apologize.
posted by tel3path at 11:06 PM on May 31, 2016


for what it's worth, the kind of East Asian facial sunscreens (as represented by Biore if you're looking at drugstore ranges or shiseido if you're going for high-end) has a lot of slip thanks to silicones and can (and do) double up as makeup primer. For me, i don't need to apply them with anything else but my fingers - the formulations have very good slip and applies thinly and evenly regardless, and I prefer sticking to using my fingers so that I don't waste too much from being absorbed by another kind of tool. Because it's mineral-based, it can be mattifying (but in this hot and humid weather here, i do use another primer + setting spray as well, but I remember I didn't need them when I was in more temperate countries). I have gotten away with just applying them and then darkening my brows, and then finishing off with a coat of mascara and colour on my cheeks and lips. [actually talking about skincare, it's interesting how Japan has taken a different route than Korea - Korean skincare is practically legendary now with how many steps it can take, and I've gotten into Kose Freshel and Hada Labo 5-in-1 cream gels which practically replaces all of them]

Biore also has spray-on formulations too, and I use them on my scalp and hair (especially after colouring them).
posted by cendawanita at 11:13 PM on May 31, 2016


Can it be possible that we can't do sunscreen well?
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:33 AM on June 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


but your routine honestly boggles my mind and I wouldn't even be able to remember all of that on a daily basis.

You don't have to remember anything - now you can print out tel3path's comment and follow it every morning. Or not!
posted by Coda Tronca at 2:26 AM on June 1, 2016


New to the internet? Ah, you probably didn't realize there's only one right way to do everything.

I wrote that lightheartedly, and reading it back later I realize it could sound sort of like an attack. Sorry about that.
posted by bongo_x at 4:32 AM on June 1, 2016


No worries. As others have noted, this thread has been nothing if not a wake up to yet another way I am doing everything wrong. If I get skin cancer, it will probably be my own damn fault because my UPF clothing was the wrong color or I took it off to avoid heat stroke or I was just using cheap American sunscreen with chemicals in it instead of mineral sunscreen because minerals are definitely not chemicals.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:42 AM on June 1, 2016


But has there been anyone who is claiming mineral sunscreen as not chemicals, even lightheartedly? The difference between the --oxides and the --benzones is how they act as sunscreens, either as chemical barriers or physical barriers. But I'm getting myself lost in the weeds. I really hope my comments weren't taken as value judgements; I'm only sharing my own recommendations if anyone wants to pursue them.
posted by cendawanita at 4:58 AM on June 1, 2016


It seemed to me that people are contrasting chemical and physical sunscreen as though "chemical" is by definition bad because it contains "chemicals" and physical sunscreen doesn't and therefore physical sunscreen is better for your skin, whereas many people with sensitive skin find zinc oxide, the chemical that is one of the standard physical sunscreens, to be irritating to the skin. If that is not what's happening, my apologies.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:15 AM on June 1, 2016


I think the comparative tangent came out of the link-sharing that demonstrated that the newer chemical formulations have an unintended negative impact on the environment. So it wasn't that chemicals are bad because of chemical's sake. It is very much between a rock and a hard place that we're facing. Absent that consideration, it really is up to the person over which formulation is better. For example, one of the reasons the --benzones are favoured by the beauty industry is because there's better tolerance for certain consumers as well as the fact it doesn't leave a whitish cast and probably also because it was easier at the time to engineer a less-greasy formulation (I guess? I can only speculate because while I know the trademarked mexoryl took a while to enter USA from Europe due to FDA regs, at the same time I'm not sure why East Asia decided to stick to physical sunscreens and worked on their formulas.)
posted by cendawanita at 6:52 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I found out about Biore Watery Essence on Metafilter, and it has been the solution to all of my sunscreen woes, so I'm deeply grateful to people here for discussing it, even if I totally realize that it is not right for everyone. I have a family history of skin cancer and not-at-all-sensitive skin, and I'm looking for something for daily wear, not necessarily something to wear to the beach or when I'm planning to spend the whole day in the sun. If I had different needs, I would probably want something else. But yeah: if you don't have sensitive skin, don't mind that you can smell the alcohol a little bit, and are looking for a daily sunscreen, I totally recommend trying it, because it doesn't feel sticky and absorbs immediately, and it's the only sunscreen I've found that doesn't make me feel like I'm smearing mayonnaise on my face.

My brother lives in Japan with his family, and he's amused that I'm obsessed with a really ordinary drug-store product. It's like announcing that you have found the best thing in the world and it is called Chapstick. On the other hand, I am also obsessed with Burt's Bees tinted lip balm, so maybe I just have a weakness for finding salvation in random drug store products.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:06 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


maybe I just have a weakness for finding salvation in random drug store products.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious


Eponysterical.
posted by tilde at 7:25 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


My best quick browsing of the literature is that you shouldn't wear oxybenzone sunscreen while swimming at coral reefs. If you are swimming elsewhere in the ocean or in inland waters or a pool, or just walking around in sunscreen and then taking a shower, oxybenzone will have degraded long before it reaches a coral reef.

A far bigger threat to the reefs is climate change, which is currently causing bleaching events all over the world. If you want to change your lifestyle to benefit coral, better to concentrate on reducing your carbon footprint.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:26 PM on June 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Cendawanita, I've heard the "it's like a makeup primer" from a few different places, but the amount of sunscreen one is supposed to use (to get advertised SPF) is so much greater than the amount of primer one would use for makeup. Do you use the full 1/4 tsp? I measure mine out, and it's just too much to behave like a primer. And I don't have oily skin to begin with, so it's a mystery to me.
posted by stowaway at 10:52 PM on June 1, 2016


i've never measured before actually! I looked up what it means, and apparently 1/4 tsp is about a nickel-to-quarter sized, and if so, yes. But i tend to dab mine on and apply with light fingers (not rubbing it in), so it doesn't get spread out too much, and I use the Perfect Milk series, so it goes on a bit more 'thicker' than the Watery Essence (less slip) and it evaporates into a more matte finish. I can't remember if the the Biore Watery Essence line is also marketed as suitable as primers, but the Perfect Milk certainly is. The Watery Essences for me would work better if you want the dewy look.
posted by cendawanita at 1:55 AM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


As someone with a measuring spoon in her bathroom, I would say a 1/4 tsp is more like a heavy, thick quarter than a nickel!! I've only had the Watery Essence a week and haven't had the opportunity to try it out under a regular foundation yet. I have tried many sunscreens over the years (I burn easily) and I haven't found any of them so cosmetically elegant that they behave as well as nicely moisturized and primed skin.
posted by stowaway at 7:11 AM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


all right, so I took note of what you said and roughly had that amount (of Perfect Face Milk) in my palm, which is just a bit more than my usual. So that's a relief to me! (...but not to the wallet...) But yeah, the Biore Milk and the Essences go on differently, maybe you can try one of them (the classic is the plain white one) one day? That's the one (thanks to the sebum control powder) that has mattifying and priming qualities. I still use other primers for smoothing out my pores though, when I'm wearing proper makeup. Anyway, to anyone who may be interested in Japanese sunscreens, here's a good resource: Ratzilla Cosme.
posted by cendawanita at 7:36 PM on June 2, 2016


Discovery: Vichy's Ideal Soleil Ultra Light Lotion SPF 50 is not horrible. (Cosmetically. On me. Hopefully others, too.)

Canadian version, not sure if other formulations are different
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:29 AM on June 4, 2016


OK so I had read this whole thread. And I was using sticks and I was fine, but yesterday I was at the beach

And after about 80 minutes, I looked to put on more sunscreen, but I couldn't find the stick, and somebody else had Banana Boat spray sunscreen, and I remembered this thread, but I thought, well here this is; and guys

guys

it hurts to walk
posted by Countess Elena at 10:45 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Belated more on hats: the Sunday Afternoons company makes a couple of traditional-style straw hats for way, way less than Helen Kaminski. I wear the goony Adventure Hat when I really want to stay in the shade outdoors. Mojave-tested! (I took two and loaned one to overconfident fellow students.)
posted by clew at 11:13 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have the Sunday Afternoon Lotus Hat. I originally bought it for a summer trip to Arches National Park, but I find it fabulous for hot, humid weather, too.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:44 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


« Older The Descent of Snowman   |   Slamina: a graphic designer takes on phobias Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments