If I Could Turn Back Time...

Simply said, if I could turn back time, I would wear a high SPF each and every day and never burn my skin to a crisp while laying in the sun. Especially as a young teen. Slicking on the baby oil to get burnt to get a dark tan; it almost makes me sick now to think what I put myself through. Besides the risk of skin cancer, which was never talked about in the 80's and 90's, I should have known better than to pre-age my skin.

I still love to sit in the sun, go to the beach and play in the pool. I crave warmth of the sun on my skin and the extra boost of Vitamin D. But I wear a high SPF, usually 30 or 45. At the beach, except for being in the water, I am stationed under an umbrella. I wear a wide rimmed hat and large sunglasses. I think if I had done these things from the start, I would not be dealing with the sun damaged skin that I am dealing with now.

My freckles and age spots are out of control. My dermatologist says that my hyper pigmentation is more of a hormone issue, while the onslaught of freckles and larger spots is definitely due to all of the time I previously spent in the sun without sunscreen.

Dr. Jeffrey Dover, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology, at Yale University School of Medicine and author of THE YOUTH EQUATION recently sent over some great sunscreen advice.

Dr. Dover said that while most people now recognize the direct link between sun exposure and skin cancer, many are confused over which SPF products really protect them. This even prompted the FDA to revaluate the way the industry labels its sunscreens. Dr. Dover recommends wearing at least SPF 15 when spending minimal time outside and SPF 30 or higher when outside for longer or if living in the south.

According to Dr. Dover, only formulas labeled “broad spectrum” guard against both UVA and UVB rays.

Some of his favorites include:

  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios 40 Sunscreen Cream with Mexoryl SX - $32
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock with Helioplex, SPF 55 and 70 - $9.49 - $11.99
  • skin effects by Dr. Jeffrey Dover Continuous Action Spray Sunscreen SPF 45 with DermaplexTM which contains less chemical sunscreens and remains effective for up to five hours - $12.99

High-quality sunscreens are part of the equation, but being fully protected also means re-applying often. Ideally, you should coat every exposed patch of skin with a thick layer of sunscreen,and continue to reapply it every few hours you remain outside (apply more often after sweating or swimming).

“If at the end of the summer you’re still squirting from the same tube that you bought before Memorial Day weekend,you need an education in application,” says Dover, who suggests about one ounce (or a full shot glass) of sunscreen to cover your entire body.

All of the products Dr. Dover mentioned are conveniently available at your local CVS/pharmacy, so you don’t need to travel far for cost-effective and accessible sun protection. The main point is to wear it.