I’ve Noticed Clearer Skin and a Smoother Complexion Since Switching to This Mineral-Based Sunscreen

Since I was young, I have despised the act of applying sunscreen. Something about how slimy and thick it feels has always put me off, but as an adult in my mid-twenties (and someone who lives in Hawaii), I know better than to go out in the sun without sunblock. After years of ignoring its gross texture and just applying sunscreen anyway to stay protected, I finally found an SPF option that I not only enjoy wearing, but that also has improved my skin texture, too.

The Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen is officially the only sunscreen I’ll ever wear again. The broad spectrum SPF 30 sunblock protects against harmful UV rays, and it helps keep my skin clear and smooth thanks to a wealth of nourishing ingredients. The hydrating sunscreen is packed with sugarcane-derived squalane for extra moisturization, and zinc oxide that keeps the skin’s outer barrier safe from damaging UVA and UVB rays, according to the brand.

Along with the zinc oxide and squalane, the formula features water lily which calms and cools my entire complexion. When I apply this natural sunscreen, it doesn’t sit on top of my skin or feel greasy—instead, it quickly absorbs into my pores and feels nourishing. I feel confident enough to wear it beneath tinted moisturizer or foundation, even in the hot Hawaii summer weather. I usually reapply it after jumping in the ocean (which the brand recommends as it’s not water-resistant), but more as a protective measure. I’ve worn one application on all-day hikes, and my fair skin didn’t burn.

After living with a chronic illness, I’m extra cautious about the beauty and cleaning products I use in an effort to reduce endocrine system overload. I love that this sunscreen is paraben- and fragrance-free, all while using mineral-based ingredients for UV absorption instead of chemical agents. I really can tell the difference in the way my skin glows and how my body feels when I’m wearing this sunscreen. And as a bonus, the zinc oxide is reef-safe—and because the squalane is derived from renewable sugarcane and ethically-sourced, it helps keep sharks safe from liver harvesting.

Shoppers call the product the “best sunscreen ever,” especially for sensitive skin. “The search is over: I finally found a mineral sunscreen that does not leave a white cast on my dark skin, is not greasy, and does not break me out!” one reviewer wrote, calling the product their “holy grail.”

One customer said that the mineral sunscreen is “so luxurious and so hydrating” that they don’t even need to apply another moisturizer before use. “There’s no sticky residue nor does it start to pill if you rub it in too much,” another added.

The 1.7-ounce bottle has lasted me since Christmas, and I wear a pea-sized amount nearly every single day. For me, the price point of $30 is worth it, since this SPF makes my skin feel amazing, is long-lasting, and is made with natural-based products. And if you want a bigger bottle, you can purchase it in a jumbo 3.38-ounce size for $42.

The Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen will be in my beach bag all summer long, and it deserves a spot in yours, too. Shop it at Biossance for a complexion that glows—free of sunburn.

You don’t need to be a doctor to know what the most important anti-aging and cancer prevention step in your skincare routine should be: Applying sunscreen. (Even just a sunscreen moisturizer is better than nothing.)

“Nothing decreases the aging process as powerfully as sunscreen,” says Zenovia Gabriel, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Newport Beach, Calif.

Plus, sunscreen prevents skin cancer, the most common form of cancer, which is especially key now that skin cancer rates are on the rise. Between 1994 and 2014, nonmelanoma skin cancers in this country increased by 77 percent, and in the past decade, the number of new melanoma cases diagnosed yearly increased by 47 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

While vanity might make it easy to remember to put sunscreen on your face (which you should do daily year-round, using a nickel-sized amount, Dr. Gabriel says), there are some forgotten sunscreen spots—those parts of the body we tend to miss during application, leading to sunburn and increasing your risk of skin cancer. Here are seven spots to put on your sunscreen radar—just be sure you’re not using expired sunscreen.

 

The Tops of Your Feet

Hanging out at a pool or the beach? Heading to the farmers market? Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of those feet and toes, which need as much sunscreen love as other parts of your body. “I see frequent feet sunburns with sandal or shoe pattern marks there,” says Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, who has a private practice in New York City.

 

Your Eyelids

Your eyelids and medial canthal areas—the corners of your eyes closest to your nose—have the thinnest skin on your body and the least amount of protection from UV rays, Dr. Gabriel says. While sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection can help, you should also wear sunscreen to protect that delicate skin, as eyelid skin cancers account for 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers, per the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Fortunately, most sunscreens are safe to use around the eyelids, but because this area of the body is so sensitive, you want to use a little more caution. For that reason, Dr. Gabriel recommends using mineral sunscreens made with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as they won’t cause the eyes to sting as much as chemical sunscreens—and if you’re confused about all these types of sun protection, study up on the difference between sunscreen and sunblock. You can also use mineral SPF powders that serve as double duty for protecting the eye area.

And if you get sunscreen in your eyes? “It’s not dangerous, but you should flush the eyes with water as soon as you can,” Dr. Gabriel says.

 

Your Scalp

Your hair will protect you from UV rays, right? Don’t count on it. “Your hair does provide a bit of protection, but it’s important to wear a hat as well, which also protects the ears, face, and neck,” Dr. Gabriel says. If you’re not into wearing hats, look for sunscreen powders and scalp mists.

 

Your Hands

One of the first places your body shows signs of aging is your hands, Dr. Gabriel says. In fact, one study revealed that you can tell a person’s real age just by looking at their hands. Whether just hanging out outside, driving, or working by windows, your hands, like your face, receive constant sun exposure. So put sunscreen on them daily, even if you’re not spending bona fide time outdoors.

And any time you wash your hands (or do a sweaty activity or swim), reapply sunscreen on those hands (look for handy contraptions like HandiGuru refillable wristbands, which make it a cinch to have sunscreen at your disposal).

While you might remember to use an SPF moisturizer on your face, you’re most likely skipping your neck and exposed chest areas. No more. “These areas attract substantial damage from the sun’s rays and aren’t as easy to rejuvenate as people to expect nowadays,” says Dr. Krant, adding that even if you wear a hat, it won’t shade the chest enough.

As you age, this will lead to leathery, sun-damaged chest skin that’s hard to repair. And although skin cancer is possible on any part of the body, it’s common in the chest, especially in women, and if you need any type of surgery, the results are often not pretty. “This is an area known for making pretty bad scars after surgery,” Dr. Krant says.

According to The Cleveland Clinic, the ears are one of the most common locations for skin cancer. And they’re an easy spot to forget, particularly if you have long hair. Because of all the folds in the ears, your best bet is a spray sunscreen that will be easy to apply. But a cream-based product works, too. Just apply the sunscreen to our palms and fingers and rub it in to our ears.

Your Lips

Believe it or not, it’s important to apply SPF to your lips, which are prone to sun damage. Not only can sun damage lead to cancer, but on the lips it can also create dryness and flakiness (which can lead to dehydrated or cracked skin). If you worry about getting sunscreen in your mouth, use a lip balm that contains SPF—and be sure to reapply throughout the day.

Finally: This Is the Real Difference Between Sunscreen and Sunblock

Browsing through the sun protection section of your local pharmacy or skimming through product descriptions of the best sunscreens online can leave you looking for a dictionary. The terms seem endless: sunblock, sunscreen, broad-spectrum, water-resistant.

The goal of all of these formulas is to keep our skin safe from harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause damage. Even so, it’s important to know what you’re buying and what you need. Here, dermatologists explain the sunscreen vs. sunblock difference—and why it matters.

 

Sunscreen vs. Sunblock

Basically, sunscreens absorb and sunblocks sit on top of the skin. The easiest way to remember the difference between sunscreen and sunblock is by the end of the words. As Ashley Magovern, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, explains, sunscreen will absorb and scatter sunshine before it can penetrate the skin.

Sunblock, on the other hand, sits on top of our skin and blocks the sun’s rays by reflecting them. Though both methods provide protection, they aren’t created equal, if you ask the experts.

 

Sunblock Is More Effective

If you read the back label of your sunblock and sunscreen, you’ll be surprised at just how different they are. Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery of New York, says sunblock often has zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. This allows it to become the physical barrier between the skin and the sun’s harmful rays.

Typically speaking, Dr. Murphy-Rose says sunblock is more effective than its sister sunscreen. She says zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are currently the only ingredients that meet the Food and Drug Administration’s requirements to be labeled GRASE (Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective).

“The active ingredients in sunblock are also thought to be safer for the environment,” she says. “Coral reef destruction is a major environmental concern, so it is important to choose a sun protectant that contains reef-safe active ingredients.”

Sunscreen contains chemicals such as avobenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, octinoxate, and oxybenzone, among many others. Though these do provide the sun protection we need, Dr. Murphy-Rose says the jury is still out on how potentially damaging they could be to our bodies with consistent use. Also, sunscreens often need to be reapplied more often and given more time to seep into our pores.

“Because sunscreen does not create a physical protective shield, it does not tend to provide as much protection against many sun-induced conditions like pigmentation changes and rosacea compared to sunblock,” she says. “Chemical sunscreen ingredients are more likely to elicit allergic reactions than are zinc or titanium.”

 

Sunblock Is Thicker

When you’re using a sunblock or mineral sunscreen, you may notice it’s more difficult—if not impossible—to rub in completely. This is because its ingredients create a thick formula to provide that much-needed physical barrier. While it can be frustrating with squirmy kids and when you’d like your sun protectant to be invisible, Zain Husain, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist, says it’s better to layer it on thick and reapply than to skimp.

 

FDA No Longer Allows Use of the Term ‘Sunblock’

Even if sunblock is more effective in terms of ingredients and use, you likely won’t find products using the word. How come? According to Adam Mamelak, an Austin, Texas-based dermatologist, the FDA outlawed the use of the word “sunblock” in 2011 because it felt the phrase gave consumers a false sense of security when spending time outdoors.

“According to their reasoning, topical preparations can help protect you from the harmful effects of ultraviolet irradiation. However, nothing can completely ‘block’ the sun,” Dr. Mamelak says. “The FDA, therefore, did away with this term and it is no longer allowed to be used with labeling of approved products.”

The same is true with sweat-proof and waterproof products, which are now called water-resistant since, technically, they are only effective for a period of time, not forever. “The idea here was not to give consumers the false sense that they are protected for an entire day at the pool. Rather, the cream has to be reapplied,” Dr. Mamelak says.

 

Focus On These Keywords

Since everything will mostly say sunscreen these days, to find a sunblock, consult the back label to look for zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Once you spot one or both of those ingredients, check the front and make sure it’s at least an SPF 30 or higher, says Brendan Camp, MD, FAAD, a double-board certified dermatologist.

Make sure the sunscreen also features keywords like broad-spectrum (which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays) and water-resistant (which means it will be effective for 40 to 80 minutes in the water before you need to reapply).

While sunscreen is essential, Dr. Camp says it should only be step one before braving the sunny day ahead: “It is also recommended to use UV-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses to defend against UV radiation directly from the sun and also from reflective surfaces, such as sand, snow, and water,” he says.

When in doubt? Remember: Too much sun protection is never a bad thing.

7 Easy Fixes for Common Self-Tanning Mistakes

Just in time for the unofficial kick-off of summer, you decided to do something about your pasty, post-winter skin tone. So you busted out the self-tanner and hoped you’d end up looking like a golden goddess. Despite giving it your best shot, you wound up resembling an oompa loompa (#WomenIRL). We asked Sophie Evans, a skin-finishing expert, how to fix the most common self-tanning mishaps, so you can glow on with your life and have coworkers asking where you spent the weekend.

 

You’re too dark.

Believe it or not, a quick dip in the pool will do the trick, since the chlorine in the water will help lighten your dramatic hue. No time (or pool)? Jump in the shower and gently exfoliate with a body scrub. Boost results by slathering on body oil—baby, coconut, or almond will do—10 minutes before showering. Oil plumps the skin, making it more pliable for exfoliation.

 

You look orange.

Similar to nailing a recipe, perfecting the art of self-tanning takes a little practice. For a quick fix (as in, you have to be somewhere, like, now), dust on bronzer to help tone down the orange. Next time, apply self-tanner to a small patch of skin to determine if you like the results before moving to the rest of your body.

If you look orange, you are using the wrong formula. Each one contains a different amount of DHA (dihydroxyacetone), a colorless sugar that interacts with the dead skin cells in the outer layer of the epidermis and changes your skin tone. With all of the offerings on the market, there’s one best suited for your skin tone—it’ll just take some trial and error to find it.

 

You’re streaky.

Get in the shower and exfoliate with a body polish, which contains finer beads than a traditional body scrub. The tiny beads won’t tear or strip the skin, but they’ll help even out your color and missed spots. Look for formulas with oatmeal opposed to a sugar scrub. We like the Tree Hut Oatmeal Scrub ($8, ulta.com). Once skin is dry, apply a liquid bronzer (dilute it with your regular body lotion if it’s too dark) to help conceal and blend streaks.

 

Your hands don’t match your body.

If your hands came out darker than the rest of your body, try this DIY lightener: Mix one teaspoon of baking powder with half a teaspoon of water and two teaspoons of lemon juice until a paste forms. Rub it onto your hands for about three minutes, then remove it with a warm washcloth. Repeat if needed. If your hands are too light, reapply self-tanner and rub regular body lotion on your wrists to help fade your darker skin into your lighter skin.

 

You can’t reach your back.

Look for a self-tanning spray with a 360-degree nozzle applicator, so you can turn it upside down. Try L’Oréal Paris Sublime Salon Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist ($11.99, walgreens.com). Can’t run out? Enlist a friend or your partner. Another option: Invest in a back applicator, like Xen-Tan Hard to Reach Applicator ($18, nordstrom.com). Or make this at-home version. Attach a self-tanner applicator mitt to a body brush with a rubber band or hair elastic, so you can target hard-to-reach areas.

 

Your knees, elbows, and ankles look discolored.

Exfoliate or dab on a depilatory (hair removal cream) and leave it on your skin for half the amount of time as recommended on the instructions. Do a patch test first to make sure your skin isn’t sensitive.

 

Your color isn’t fading evenly.

When using self-tanner, lightly exfoliate every two to three days, concentrating on the neck, arms, and any other tricky spots that don’t tend to fade nicely. Doing so will help the tan fade evenly.

11 Derm-Approved Ways to Soothe Your Sunburn Fast

Vacation is here! You set that out-of-office, zipped up your carry-on, and hopped in your ride share to the airport. As soon as you landed, you made a beeline for the shore to soak up that sun you’ve been dreaming about for weeks (er, months). But in your excitement, you forgot one key component of any beach vacation: sunscreen.

A day later, as you’re nursing a killer sunburn, you would do anything to alleviate the pain and diminish the red hue. Though this happens to everyone, dermatologists say a single sunburn is one too many. Especially when not treated properly, you run the risk of developing sores, infections, scarring, or even worse, skin cancer.

As soon as you notice skin reddening, it’s time to get out of the sun. Even if you would prefer to be back on the beach playing volleyball, it’s better to treat your symptoms quickly and give yourself the time—and shade—to heal. Camp out under an umbrella and avoid the sun until your burn is completely healed.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen, can help reduce the skin inflammation and relieve your pain, too, according to the American Academy of Dermatology

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If you have one too many margaritas with your friends by the pool and took a little siesta under the hot sun, you may return to your hotel room looking less sun-kissed and more lobster-like. When this happens, you need a full body sunburn relief. Instead of ransacking the local pharmacy for after-sun products, board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., recommends taking an apple cider vinegar bath. She suggests soaking for 10 minutes, which gives the natural solution time to restore your skin’s pH levels. Best of all, your pores will feel soothed and relaxed, even if you smell a little funky in the process. “The anti-inflammatory properties of apple cider vinegar soothe irritated skin, and acetic acid softens skin to help dead cells slough off,” she says.

 

Use aloe

 

One of the oldest home remedies for sunburn is aloe vera. Because of aloe’s healing properties, Sarkar says it will alleviate pain, cool down your skin, and most of all, will heal your skin. Her best recommendation is fresh, cool aloe which will feel sensational on your pores and offer instant relief.

 

Stay away from harsh cleansers

 

Think about everything that is clogging up your pores after a beach day: sunscreen, sand, sweat, salt water, and more. Though there’s nothing you’d rather do than wash your face vigorously to get rid of all the grime, dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., says to resist the temptation if you’re suffering from a sunburn. Because your skin is already damaged, using a harsh cleanser or exfoliator will not only cause more stress, but it’ll likely be very painful too. Instead, he suggests keeping it simple with a gentle cleanser or basic body bar that also hydrates, like Dove Beauty Bar, ($28 for 14 bars; amazon.com).

 

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

 

Since your sunburned skin is already irritated, it’ll be dry to the touch. This feeling will naturally make you want to lather up, but it’s important to pick the right kind of formula for fast, effective relief. Dr. Engleman says you want to fight against the possibility of pronounced lines and wrinkles that sunburns can cause and choose a vitamin E-rich product. Like vitamin C, vitamin E is a free-radical neutralizer and it helps to promote skin regeneration and hydration.1 It’s also smart to look for a lotion that has sunburn relief soothers, like chamomile and lavender. Dr. Engleman’s favorite is Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil ($12; amazon.com), which helps with all of the above, and can help to improve the appearance of new or old scars and stretch marks too.

 

Rehydrate from the inside

The sunburn can actually cause dehydration, by pulling fluid from your body toward the skin’s surface, the American Academy of Dermatology says. Make sure you drink additional water and other liquids to help replenish your fluids.

 

Load up on antioxidants

 

According to Dr. Engleman, sunburn is caused by powerful UV rays breaking through the skin’s barriers and causing free radical damage that turns our outer layer red. When you’re looking for ways to get rid of a sunburn, she says to load up on antioxidants, especially those found in vitamin C. They help protect our skin against free radical assaults by neutralizing the oxidative stress that can cause cell damage.2 “A vitamin C serum will be most effective in delivering to the cellular level,” she says. “Serums have the highest concentration of active ingredients. They have smaller molecules, which allows actives to penetrate further.” Try SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum ($182; dermstore.com).

 

Try a colloidal oat bath

 

A cool bath in colloidal oatmeal works just as well, Sarkar says. Try Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal Soothing Bath Treatment ($8; amazon.com). She does warn against a too-cold bath, since it can stress your already sensitive skin. When in doubt, go cool, but not icy.

Consider a prescription

 

When treated quickly and with care, most sunburns will heal within a week or so. However, if your burn is serious or you have open, painful wounds, a stronger sunburn remedy may be required. The sun can actually cause first- and second-degree burns, which require medical assistance. Or, if a leftover sunburn that didn’t seem that serious still has a wound, Dr. Engelman recommends seeing a dermatologist who can prescribe medications to hydrate and soften skin while repairing damage. Even if you have a normal sunburn, a derm may be open to prescribing these products since they will speed up healing time.

Everything You Need to Know About Hair Removal Cream, the Painless Way to Remove Body Hair

Also known as depilatories, hair removal creams are applied directly to your skin and work by essentially dissolving any existing hair. Yep, you literally just slather it on, wait a few, and then wipe away for a hair-free finish.

Unlike waxing or sugaring, hair removal creams are completely pain-free (though admittedly a bit stinky), and you can use them over and over again to maintain smooth skin. They’re also way cheaper than laser hair removal treatments. For everything you need to know about hair removal creams, scroll ahead.

How Does Hair Removal Cream Work?

Hair removal creams, lotions, and gels contain a chemical—usually thioglycolic acid, calcium thioglycolate, or potassium thioglycolate—that breaks down keratin, the protein found in hair.

“The hair is turned into a jelly-like consistency and is swept away when the product is removed,” explains Merry Thornton, PA-C, founder of Element Medical Aesthetics in New Canaan, Conn. As the protein breaks down, hydrogen sulfide is released. That’s what gives hair removal creams that infamous stinky-sweet odor.

Only the exposed hair on the skin’s surface and down into the upper hair shaft is removed, notes skincare pro Rebecca Gadberry, co-host of Facially Conscious. She says, “The hair bulb, or root, remains. This is why these products only deliver temporary results and can leave a ‘shadow’ under the skin’s surface if the root is dark.”

How to Use Hair Removal Cream 

Hair removal cream is generally safe, but it’s important to follow directions exactly. We also recommend doing a patch test and waiting 24 hours—especially if you have sensitive skin—to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions. That said, here’s how to use hair removal cream.

Step 1: Wash Up

Wash your hands and the area where the product will be applied. Dry completely.

Step 2: Apply the Cream

“Apply generously and evenly to the area with a downward ‘tapping’ motion rather than rubbing the cream into the skin,” says Gadberry. “Make sure the hair is completely covered.”

Step 3: Wait 

Follow label instructions for how long you should wait, which can range anywhere from three to 10 minutes. Try to remain still. “Moving around can cause the product to move, drip or fall off your skin, especially if you’re using it on your legs, underarms and pubic region,” Gadberry says. She adds that it’s normal to feel light tingling or itching while it works, but if you experience any pain or burning, remove it immediately with water.

Step 4: Remove the Lotion

Gently, but firmly, rub the cream from your skin. “As you do so, the friction will also remove the hair, so don’t just rinse the product off,” notes Gadberry. “Follow with a gentle facial cleanser or body wash and cool or warm water to remove thoroughly.” avoid hot water, which can cause irritation.

It’s imperative to remove the hair removal cream as soon as the time has elapsed. Because keratin also fills the top layers of cells that form skin’s barrier, if the cream is left on too long, keratin in this area can also be denatured, causing extreme sensitivity, itching, irritation, burns, blisters and peeling.

Step 5: Dry & Hydrate 

Follow with a soothing barrier repair cream or lotion to hydrate, smooth, and bolster your skin’s barrier. Avoid using any active ingredients, including retinoids and acids.

How Long Do Hair Removal Cream Results Last? 

How long hair removal cream lasts depends on how fast your hair grows. Thornton says that the average regrowth rate is about two to five days, but this varies from person to person. This is a shorter amount of time compared to waxing, threading, or plucking—where the root is removed, too—but a bit longer than shaving.

Considerations When Using Hair Removal Cream

People with sensitive skin or allergies to fragrance might want to skip these creams, Thornton advises. Also, make sure to use the creams only on the body parts they are indicated for.

“Some people might be bothered by the scent, although many of the newer formulations smell better than they did years ago,” says Thornton. “The skin will also be more sensitive to the sun afterwards, so consider this before going outside. Also, if the creams are not used as directed, you can get a chemical burn.”

Finally, there’s a possibility for patchy results, which is a potential drawback for larger areas like the legs. If this happens, it’s best to wait a few days and re-apply since you don’t want to over-use the product in the same area.

 

I’ve Tried Countless Lip Balms, but Nothing Works as Well as This SPF-Packed Pick That’s 50% Off for Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day isn’t over yet, which means it’s a good time to snag last-minute deals on just about anything, from vacuums and air purifiers to bras and dresses. Personally, I’m focusing my shopping energy on tried-and-true favorites, which is why I’m so excited about this specific deal: The Jack Black Lip Balm, which is a whopping 50 percent off for a pack of three.

As a shopping editor and as someone who has sensitive, chapped lips no matter the weather, I’ve tried a lot of lip balms. I’ve learned to stay away from products that do the opposite of what they’re supposed to (did you know that lip balm can actually make your lips more chapped?), and focus on nourishing lip balms that lock in moisture and also contain SPF protection. Once I finally tried the Jack Black Lip Balm, I knew I had found something that checks all the boxes

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