Posts Tagged ‘sunscreen’

Q&A logoQuestion:   How much SPF do I need to use  in the summer?  My favorite  foundation has  a 15SPF which I know is pretty low.  If I  also use a moisturizer with a 15SPF  will  that bring my protection to a 30 SPF?

Answer:  You’re righ,t a 15 SPF  is pretty low, but adding  another product with a 15 SPF will not give you a 30SPF.  Its not fair but the math on sunscren products  are not cumulative.  Your final SPF  will only be the  highest SPF you are using.  In this case, the final SPF  will still be 15.  If you use a moisturizer with a 30SPF  you final SPF will  be able  to face  the sun with a  very respectable 30 SPF.

Please  keep in mind that  the SPF numbers  are just an indication of how long you can stay in the sun without burning.   A 30 SPF means that you can stay in the sun  for 30 minutes without sundamage.  However these calculations were done in the laboratory and  made on the assumption that   at least  two teaspoons of sunblock  is  used on the face and  1-2 tablespoons are used on the body. I decided to put these  standards to the test and the results were both funny and troubling.  Clearly  few if anyone actually  use  the prescribed amount of sunblock  and   we often fail to reapply  during the day.  This means that   the SPF which we  have to  face the sun is much lower than  we think.  For that reason I recommend using at least an SF30 and in the summer aim for a 50 SPF.  During the day I dust on a mineral sunscreen powder like Brush On Block by Susan Posnick.  I can apply it over foundation  to  boost  sun protection.

One final thought.  If you have sensitive skin, rosacea, psoriasis you might find  chemical sunscreens too irritating.   Look for broad spectrum physical sunscreens that get their  sun block powers from minerals like  zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.


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Q&A2Question:  Is there a moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores?  When my skin gets dry from RetinA or a laser type treatment, I need to  put on a moisturizer to relieve dryness and flaking.  But whatever I try  seems to provoke acne  breakouts.  Any ideas?

Answer:  This is such a common problem and until last week I didn’t have  much of an answer.  Sometimes a moisturizer that was both oil and fragrance free would work, but often that too  could provoke problems.  Then at a recent dermatology conference in New York,  laser care expert Dr Mark Nestor of Miami recommended a  water based spray to provide moisture.  In addition to water, the spray should contain glycerin and  natural  moisturizing factors  such as hyaluronic acid. Plain water sprays would actually increase dryness but  the glycerin and hyaluronic acid would help the skin hold onto the water that had been sprayed on the  irritated face.

I found three such products and they all delivered as promised:

Thermal Spring Water Soothing Serum ( Avene,  $34, for 1oz)-  Don’t confuse this product with the  Eau Thermale  from Avene which is  just plain water– albeit apparently  very healthy water.   The Soothing Serum includes  both glycerin and dimethicone which provides  long lasting moisture holding  properties.  No hyaluronic acid, but it still hydrates the skin beautifully.

Ultracalming Mist ( Dermalogica, $32 for 6oz)- I really love product although it does not contain hyaluronic acid.  The  soothing ingredients like oat kernal extract and the water  holding glycerin really  provide hydration without  clogging the pores. 

Hyaluronic Hydrating Mist ( Derma e, $13 for 2 oz)– So far this is the only mist that I have found with all the ingredients recommended by Dr Nestor.   It also  has antioxidant rich green tea and two   super soothers– allantoin and aloe vera.

There are two other types of  water sprays that are less effective.  Some like those from Evian  have just plain water which can actually dry out the skin further.  Others  have oils  and waxes that put  it back in the category of a traditional moisturizer.   You need to read  the labels  carefully to spot unwanted  ingredients like oils and alcohol.

You can use the spray before bedtime or in the morning.  However during the day you will also need to use  a sunscreen to protect against aging UV rays. If  you find sunscreens, even oil free formulas   provoke acne breakouts,  brush on a SPF fortified powder such as Brush On BlockSPF 30 from Susan Posnick.

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve  posted my lists for recommended affordable  anti-aging products covering cleansers,  treatments, exfoliators, moisturizers and sun protection.   Now comes the fun  part- how to use them.

The Theory Behind the Practice

When you strip away all the inflated promises and pseudo science, great skin care  has four key goals:

* take off the top layer of dry dead skin cells

* stimulate growth of collagen

* help the skin  maintain a healthy water balance

* protect against UV rays


In the morning you want to clean the face gently and protect it from the sun.

* On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday use your basic mild soap or cleanser.  Wet the face first and work  up a lather on  your skn.  Rinse off with lukewarm water.  Too hot or too cold and you can  damage blood vesses that will lead to redness.

* On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday  clean your mornig face with the exfoliator of your choice.

* Everyday  apply a  sunscreen that has  at least a 30 SPF

Bed time:

At night you want to clean off the days oil and grime and prepare the skin for a  night of treatment.

On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday  use mild exfoliation ( eg Clarisonic) to clean the skin.   Dry the skin, wait 10 minutes and apply lotion with glycolic acid.  On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday use basic cleanser and blot dry.   Dab on homemade vitamin C serum.  If the skin feels  tight apply  a recommended moisturizer.

These types of products and this alternating routinue will deliver  a world class  anti-aging skin care routinue at  rock bottom prices.   I estimate that  this  plan will be about $300/year or about a dollar a day.  I save so much  on using effective but affordable products that I can  budget in  a yearly IPL or some Botox  to enhance the benefits of a good daily skin care.  I’d love to hear  about   your favorite drugstore  products.  Most of my favorites  have  come to  me through recommendations of friends.

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I’m thinking of producing a tee shirt that reads: ” Up to age 60, 90% of skin aging is due to sun damage”.  Seriously, its that important.

Effective sun protection  creams and lotions are the only non-prescription product that the FDA allows to make anti-aging claims.  But buying a powerful  yet effective  sunscreen can be daunting.  Go into any pharmacy and you’re met with a long  wall of options.  Waterproof?  Oil-free?  Broad spectrum, Fragrance-free?  I covered this material  before in a series of Sunscreen  Cheat Sheets, but once you have picked the right formula, then you want to  get the best possible price.  Remember you need to  use sun protection each and every day and you need to use it fairly generously.   If you’re not using up  a 3 ounce bottle in three months, you’re not applying enough.  Designer  sunscreens from Peter Thomas Roth and Shiseido  are beautiful products  that are at least 3X the cost of drugstore brands.   It wil cost you $120-140 per year for just this one product.  We can do better.

Here are five  of my favorite affordable facial sunscreens.   Products that are meant to be used for the body  will tend to discolor make-up that is applied over it.  Facial sunscreens  are formulated to accept  layers of makeup without turning them dark or orangey.

1.  Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant SPF 30 ($19)

A light  but broadspectrum moisturizing formulation that is beautiful for drier skins.  It also contains soy complex which is known to reduce melanin production.  This lightly scented sun screen  both prevents aging sun damage  and increased  dark patches.

2.Neutrogena Clear Face ( Break-out Free) SPF30($ 12.99)

This oil-free  lotion  contains Heli0plex, the uber strong broad spectrum sunscreen.   This is  an excellent choice for oily/acne prone complexions.

3. Coppertone Sensitive Skin Faces SPF50 $12.99

This super effective fragrance-free broad spectrum sunscreen is also water resistant.   It has both chemical and physical sunscreens for better protection with less irritation.

4. Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF 30 $10.99

This may be the best choice for truely sensitive skin as well as skin that  has just been treated with lasers, IPL or even Retin A.    This product contains only  titanium oxide  yet delivers a full 30SPF.  I always have a fresh bottle  of this sunscreen in  my beauty tool kit.

5. Susan Posnick Brush-On Block 30SPF( $25.00)

An innovative brush on sunscreen delivers a totally gentle broad spectrum 30 SPF.  When my skin seemed to be overreacting  to everything but water,  Brush on Block was the only sunscreen I could use.  Now that my skin has calmed down, I still use it  everyday to reapply  sunscreen protection.  It comes in a translucent shade that works  for  most skin tones. Its available online at Susan Posnick.

One final thought:  Most sunscreens are too irritating to use  in the delicate eye area.  Not only does the sun cause wrinkling, it  promotes dark circles.  To  protect the eyes, use sunscreen fortified concealers and   I reviewed   my five favorites in the current issue of the No-Nonsense Beauty Newsletter. You can subscribe to this quarterly online  newsletter  in the right hand column of this page.

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When it comes to personal care products, I tend to  follow the less is more philosophy.  Rather than   shelves of different options,  I  like to  find what I think  is the best product for me — and then stick to it.  This sets the bar pretty high and a new formulation  has to be unique to find a spot in my medicine cbinet. I’ve not added  to my  Fabuous Fifteen in more than ayear but with  newly sensitive skin, I needed new options:

1.  Anti-Redness Foaming Cleanser ( Alaur, $50) — When it comes to skin care it seems that most  people start with a moisturizer.  Not me.  I think that the right cleanser is the foundation of any treatment plan.   When my skin developed a type of rosacea,  I needed to change cleansers.  Anti-Redness Foaming Cleanser is a gentle product that not  only avoids irritating ingredients, it contains sulfosuccinate which deals with the organisms which contribute to redness. Its applied  all over the face and gently massaged into the skin, then rinsed off with cool water. It leaves my skin smooth  and refreshed and keeps redness at bay.  It is only  available from the  offices of Dr Albert Lefkovits ( 212- 861-9600).  You can call and  place an order to  be  sent out to you.

2. Sunforgettable  SPF50 ( Colorscience, $60)

When I’m asked for my single most important anti-aging  tip, its a no-brainer.   A daily sunscreen is both the easiest and most affordable  way to  prevent signs of early aging.   But finding a sunscreen  that works for sensitive skin can be challenging.  Chemical sunscreens like Helioplex are super-effective but can be irritating to rosacea or acne prone skin.  Physical  sunscreens  like titanium dioxide  work well but their  creamy base can provoke problems.  Since developing a tendency to  blossom with  red splotches, I’ve been using mineral make-up  which contain  physical sunscreens  but offer only a 20SPF.   Its  better than nothing, especially when applied  every two hours, but its really not enough coverage for a day at the beach. 

When I discovered Colorscience Sunforgettable at  Cosmoprof  in Las Vegas, I felt  like the mothership had called me home. This brush on powder is packaged in a brush topped vial and is uber easy  to reapply during the day.   I used it on vaca around a pool, on a picnic and playing tennis  and not  a single freckle or splotch appeared.   This is pretty significant since about 80% of people with rosacea report that  sunlight is the biggest redness trigger.

Sunforgettable is not inexpensive, but totally worth the money. Not available in stores, it can be  purchased   online, and from physicians and spas.   I don’t usually like to buy color-based  products online because its hard to find the right shade.  I have fairly light skin tones and ordered the medium shade.  I usually buy lighter shades, but I  thought it might give me a bit of summer color.  Medium turned out to be fairly  light and neutral, and  looked quite good.    I am so attached to this product  that I’ve added it to my ” leaving the apartment check list:  eg keys, wallet, phone and now Sunforgettable.

3.Sugar Lip Polish ( Fresh,$22.50)

I love when a little idea produces a big result.  Sugar Lip Polish just works.  This  gritty paste gently removes old, dry  lip skin  and makes  lips  look fresher and lipstick applies more smoothly.  Not only does the sugar as as a scrub, its also rich in glycolic acid– a great anti-aging ingredient.  Its available  at the Fresh counter in department stores and in Sephora– both instore and online.   This little tub  is worth  the real estate  in even the most crowded medicine cabinet shelves.

Note:  I purchased all the products used in this review.

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This week  Shawna of Female Fat Loss Over 40 is the host of Fashion Flash.   I have to admit that I am intimidated  by descriptions of  celebrity fitness programs. The intensity, the  pit crew of specialists to assist them,  the amount of  time and energy is overwhelming– and way above my pay scale.  What I love about Shawna’s  blog and DVD’s  is  that not only  are  the exercise programs  so doable, but  she shares real time success stories.  When a fifty something   schoolteacher works  diligently to lose weight  for a wedding, now that is something that  inspires  me.  I can relate to  the  people  who have worked her method and if they can do it, then   I can too. 

 This summer I published the  first No-Nonsense Beauty  Newsletter  Each issue will offer new material  not covered on the blog. This summer issue features  new  anti-aging studies and a review of six multi-tasking under eye concelaers.

 Click  the yellow  box at  to the  right of this page and you will  immeditely receive the first  newsletter and automatically get  new quarterly issues as they are published.  Right now   I am working on the fall issue  which will include a review of different microdermabrasion devices including Clarisonic and DDF Revolve.  All  I will say now  is that my skin feels very very clean.   For the winter issue I will be roadtesting  rich moisturizers that  can stand up to  cold, snowy weather.  In the spring I plan a round-up of  new ways to handle allergies. 

I added two new addictive   “over 40”  sites to my blogroll.  Over Fifty, Feeling 40  and Chic At Any Age,  are  warm, smart and  filled with   the kind of great fashion  advice you might get from a good friend– if she also had a great sense of style.   I love  learning news ways to  wear what I already have and these sites  offer  ideas  I can actually  use.

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Fashion Flash is on vacation  and will return  next week tanned, rested and ready.  In its place, I  decided to post my five New Year’s  Resolutions.  As I drew up the  list I realized that the promises I make to myself really reflect  where I am in  my lifeline.  Decades ago, I remembered making the resolution ” not to wait until the last minute to do a term paper”  Another  decade past and I vowed “not allow my daughter to watch Saturday morning cartoons no matter how much she whined.”   Clearly these issues  are  no longer on point. This year  I decided to focus on  health and beauty  resolutions:

1.  I will  never go to sleep with  makeup on:  Since starting No-Nonsense Beauty blog two years ago, I have been diligent about evening skin care routinue, but I’ve definately seen slippage in my committment.  Family and work issues have made for long, hectic days and by the time I can actually fall into bed I’m  not inspired to cleanse and treat my exhausted face.  That’s just dumb and  I’m going to do better.

2. Use sunscreen on my hands and neck.  I am compulsive about using  30SPF on my face, but often forget to  protect my wrinkly neck and hands.  I even had all the spots  removed by laser (and my neck and hands were gorgeous) but I’ve been so negligent that some of the feckles  have returned.  I’m going to carry a small tube of sunscreen in my  bag  just in case I forget  in the morning. 

3.  Eat  more vegetables.  Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t know that we should all eat 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables /day. I know that the NHANES study showed that people who ate  more fruits and vegetables  had fewer wrinkles– and yet, its so hard  for me to meet that goal.   Unless they start counting catsup and pickes as servings of vegetables, I am always falling short.  So 2012 is going be the year of produce.  And I’d love to hear  any advice on how to get this done.

4.  Eat  whole grains.  I have to admit I rarely get anywhere near the recommended guidelines for fiber.  I  love bagels, french bread and sliced  white bread  and its got to stop.  Diets low in fiber are linked  to earlier aging and all the Botox and Retin A in the world is not going to help if I keep eating white pasta and squishy white bread.  Today I’m going to raid my kitchen and toss out  fiber-less breads, crackers and pastas.  I’ve heard that it takes three weeks to extinct a bad habit– so for the next 21 days, it will be whole wheat or nothing.

5. Get my arms in shape.  Since it seems to be time  for confessions, I have to admit that I  hate to execise.  I do faithfully walk at least a mile a day, but  my handweights  are just gathering dust.  The only time I pick them up  is to move them after I trip over the pair in my closet.  THis year I’m going  to commit to baby steps and just work on my upper arms.  If I can focus on just one body part and get some nice results,  I hope it will motivate me to work on other body parts.  And to keep me honest I will take  before and after pictures as I try out different exercise regimes that PROMISE to deliver a great pair of guns.  We’ll see.

If you have made health and beauty resolutions this year, I’d love to hear about them.

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