8 Solutions to Sunblock Issues
Too slick, too thick, too irritating—skin experts have heard every reason under the sun for why people won’t wear SPF. Here, resolutions for various excuses.
“It’s so slick, it runs into my eyes.”
This complaint may be the reason doctors are seeing a rise in skin cancers around the eyes. But there’s no need for your eyes to sting: Sport formulas, along with gels and sticks, contain polymers that adhere to the skin, so the sunscreen won’t slide if you’re sweating, says Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist in Washington, D.C. Studies show that UV radiation increases a person’s risk of developing cataracts, too, so protect your eyes with wide, wraparound sunglasses or contact lenses with UV protection, such as Acuvue Oasys (go to acuvue.com for information).
“I want to get a little color first.”
“Any sun-induced change in color, tan or red, is an injury to the skin,” says New York City dermatologist Jordana Gilman. “You’re fast-forwarding the aging process.” Incidental sun damage has a cumulative effect. A recent study found that Caucasian women living in the United Kingdom who took holiday trips to temperate climates had 74 percent more moles than other UK women—and more moles lead to a greater risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Some research also shows that the risk of melanoma doubles if you burn more than five times in your life. Color from a tanning bed isn’t safe, either: Any time spent in one before age 30 increases your risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent. Use self-tanner for color.
“My dark skin doesn’t burn.”
“The fact that you don’t burn doesn’t disqualify you from getting melanoma,” says Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. While melanoma rates are highest among Caucasians, African Americans have an overall lower survival rate because often by the time this cancer is diagnosed, it’s in an advanced stage. And no matter your skin tone, drugs such as oral contraceptives, tetracycline, and ibuprofen can make you sun-sensitive.
“I want to get enough vitamin D.”
Some research links vitamin D deficiency to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. But “why risk wrinkles and cancer when you can get vitamin D from food and supplements?” says Franks. Ask a doctor about the right level for you (about 1,000 to 2,000 international units a day), then look for vitamin D3 in supplements and buy D-fortified milk, cereal, and bread.