I’m one of the few people in the world whose mom did not have to tell me put on sunscreen as a child. As a card carrying member of the “Pale as a Ghost” club, I’ve been blessed with very pale and very sensitive skin. This means that even on a freezing winter day, if I am not wearing sunscreen or covered up I will turn the telltale “sunburn-red” color. I was educated not only on the ouch-red-factor as a kid, but also on how it would make my skin look as I got older. Even at 5, I didn’t want wrinkles. I’ve been wearing sunscreen daily for as long as I can remember.
Now this doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to be not pale. As a kid going to Mexico on vacation, my mom used to take my red-headed brother and I to tanning salons to “build a base” before getting to our destination. (Note: Does not work. Have been seen with my equally burned and blistered brother at the hotel front desk pleading for somewhere we could buy aloe vera cream) Then came High School when I was too cool for sunscreen and figured I just wasn’t using tanning oil therefore wouldn’t tan (Note: Does not work. Will result in the kind of sunburn where you can’t have a shower because water pressure hurts your blistered skin). Realizing the sun was not my friend, but longing to be “sunkissed” I also tried spray tanning in University until it rubbed off on my brand new 800-thread count white sheets. (Note: Does not work. Will destroy expensive bedding or make it look like you’re sleeping with an Oompa Loompa)
As a proud pale member of society, I’ve been wearing sunscreen on my face on a daily basis to not only avoid the burn, but also to avoid the inevitable wrinkles that sun damage can cause. I operate with the motto that the higher the SPF, the better. Apparently this is not universally known though, as an article released recently was touting the scientific breakthrough that is… Wait for it… Sunscreen may slow skin aging.
I suppose I appreciate that not everyone is as pale as me and thinks about the dangers of UV rays when doing mundane tasks like driving, sauntering out and about on a cloudy day or even sitting at a desk indoors near a window. Call me a weirdo, but I like to think that unless I lived under a rock, I am being mercilessly attacked by UV rays on a daily basis. I put sunscreen on daily on my face before my makeup and then I apply sunscreen on the tops of my hands when I get in the car driving since I’m scared of old lady hands.
My favorite facial sunscreen is Neutrogena Age Shield Face Sunblock SPF 110 with Helioplex. It’s not too greasy and rubs in really well. I also use a makeup BB cream daily with SPF built-in, Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35. In the car, I keep a bottle of Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 70. I use the sport type on my hands as they are moving around and the sunscreen claims to last even if your hands get wet.
I realize that I may be more cautious about the sun given my propensity to burn, but I’m actually quite grateful that I’ve not ever gotten “involved” with suntanning. There is just no good that can come of me and the sun. We`re not compatible and I`ve come to terms with that. I still love to lie in the sun… I just do it under a large umbrella, with a hat and yes, still slathered in SPF 70. Wrinkles are a natural part of a woman aging, but do we really want to encourage them to come even a millisecond earlier than they must?