By Christina Clemente | June 30, 2017 | Style & Beauty
How do you enjoy the summer rays when they’re your skin’s biggest threat? The latest and greatest sunscreens might just do the trick.
Over the last two decades, doctors, scientists, and researchers have warned us about the harmful effects of both UVA and UVB light, reinforced with data that shows melanoma rates in the US have doubled from 1982 to 2011. What’s more, recent studies, including one from Toxicology and Industrial Health, have shown that common environmental pollutants such as chemicals released from burning coals and gasoline significantly increase the skin’s photodamage when coupled with UVA rays.
So it’s little wonder consumers are gravitating towards products that offer a higher sun protection factor (or SPF). According to retail analyst Karen Grant of the NPD Group, the sales of skincare products with SPF 50 have quadrupled since 2013. The market for color cosmetics has taken off, too, with sales of SPF 50 foundations growing from $1.6 million to $21 million in just three years. “The consumer is very much aware of the need to have even higher levels of SPF,” says Grant. “You don’t see things quadruple or grow 20-fold unless people are thinking, Wow, we really need this.”
While cosmetics make for convenient sun protection, Francesca Fusco, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York City’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, cautions that SPF makeup shouldn’t necessarily replace sunscreen. In fact, when examining patients under a Wood’s lamp, which reveals some types of sunscreen on the surface of the skin, Fusco found that makeup with SPF may not always evenly protect the face. Instead, she recommends applying at least an SPF 30 sunscreen five minutes prior to your makeup to ensure ample protection.
The SPF number, however, is not the only factor to keep in mind. “It’s about the correct application and the reapplication, depending on where you are,” Fusco says. For days spent outdoors, she suggests applying protection generously, all over, every two hours. But don’t neglect your skin on workdays, even if your time in the light is minimal. Says Fusco, “People don’t realize that the incidental sun exposure they get every day adds up and contributes to their risk for skin cancer and sun damage.”
As simple as it sounds, reading labels is crucial for your skin health. “We want broad coverage when applying topical sunscreens,” says Fusco, citing the need to shield against UVA rays (responsible for tans) and UVB rays (responsible for sunburns), as both contribute to sun damage. Luckily, today every major brand offers a broad spectrum with comprehensive protection—whether physically, in the form of a mineral-boasting protective barrier on the skin to block UV rays, or chemically, in which compounds absorb UV radiation into the skin and then release the energy as heat.
New, sophisticated physical formulas (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) squash the notion that zinc only belongs on the noses of 1980s lifeguards. Hampton Sun’s SPF 45 Mineral Sunscreen Crème contains micronized zinc that “dissipates and absorbs right on the skin, so it’s pleasant to wear every day, as you should,” says the brand’s CEO and founder, Salvatore Piazzolla. Green Screen from Farmacy blends antioxidant-rich Echinacea GreenEnvy with mineral-based SPF 30 for an evenly toned, protected complexion.
Known to spread more thinly, chemical formulas contain filters like avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octinoxate, take 20 minutes to absorb into the skin, and “[allow] the cosmetics industry to add anti-agers like peptides and still leave it effective,” says Fusco. Silky finishes in recent products like Moroccanoil’s Sun Lotion SPF 30 and Sunscreen Care Milk-Lotion Spray SPF 50+ from Clarins make the application feel more like a spa treatment.
For those not sure which kind to choose, Wetforce Sports BB SPF 50+ from Shiseido and Clé de Peau’s UV Protective Emulsion for Body SPF 50+ contain both physical and chemical ingredients.
Clockwise from top: UV Protective Emulsion for Body SPF 50+, Clé de Peau Beauté ($90). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-6161. Sports BB Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ WetForce, Shiseido ($38). Sephora, 721 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-532-0904. Age-Defying SPF 50 Mineral Crème, Hampton Sun ($52). Neiman Marcus, see above. Line Interception Power Duo, La Prairie ($350). Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour Shops, 305-865-1100. Éminence Rosehip & Lemongrass Lip Balm SPF 15, Éminence Organics Skin Care ($28). The Spa at Shula's, 15150 Bull Run Road, Miami Lakes, 305-820-8146; buynaturalskincare.com. Sun Lotion SPF 30, Moroccanoil ($32). Sephora, see above. Sunscreen Care Milk-Lotion Spray SPF 50+, Clarins ($36). Sephora, see above
New, innovative color products make it easier for sun protection to play a part in everyday makeup regimens. Says Jameson Slattery, vice president of global marketing at Colorescience, “Consumers are becoming more educated about the need to use sun protection daily, and not just on weekends or when they are visiting the beach. They’re looking for multi-functional products that elegantly combine high-quality SPF into their existing beauty routine.”
New broad-spectrum foundations like Giorgio Armani’s SPF 25 Power Fabric and Dior’s SPF 50 Dreamskin Perfect Skin Cushion do the trick, providing a smooth complexion as well as a sun barrier. “Many of these products are allowing the consumer a one-product solution that can give you blemish correction and protection at the same time. That’s where we’re seeing the strongest growth,” says the NPD Group’s Karen Grant.
And when used alongside other sun protectants, these multitasking cosmetics will reduce the risk of missing a spot or two. “If you have an SPF in your primer and foundation, it’s unlikely that once you’re applying those products you’re going to miss the same spot on your face with multiple products,” says Slattery, who adds that Colorescience’s SPF 50 Sunforgettable brush-on sunscreen, with its mineral powder that can be layered seamlessly over a full face of makeup (on the go, no less), was specifically developed for all-day reapplication.
Clockwise from top: Les Beiges Gel Touch Healthy Glow Tint SPF 15, Chanel ($60). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-868-0550. Dawn Patrol SPF 30 Classic Primer, Coola ($42). Blo Blow Dry Bar, 900 S. Miami Ave., No. 129, Miami, 305-374-2565. Power Fabric Longwear High Coverage Foundation, Giorgio Armani ($64). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 305-865-6161. Dreamskin Perfect Skin Cushion, Dior ($82). Sephora, 721 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-532-0904. Sugar Candy Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15, Fresh ($24). Sephora, see above. Laguna Body Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30, NARS ($45). Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour Shops, 305-865-1100. Mineral Corrector Palette SPF 20 ($54) and Natural Finish Pressed Foundation SPF 20 ($55), Colorescience. Brickell Cosmetic Center, 1913 SW Third Ave., Miami, 305-456-6001
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NADYA KOROBKOVA. THIS PAGE: JEFF CRAWFORD