A Safe Place in the Sun

Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice your fun outside to protect your skin. Here, answers to your sun care questions, and the most foolproof ways to safeguard yourself.

A Safe Place in the Sun
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I apply and reapply my sunscreen, but I still burn. Why?
If you’re being super careful about covering every inch of your skin with sunscreen (meaning your sunburn isn’t patchy) 30 minutes before sun exposure and you’re still getting burned, you’re probably not applying enough, Woolery- Lloyd says. The rule is one shot glass or about 1 ounce for face and body. If you’re doing that (and wearing a hat and sitting in the shade) and still getting red, your skin could be extra sensitive. Look for sunscreens containing antioxidants, like resveratrol, licorice, caffeine, lycopene, green tea and vitamins C and E, which are proven to boost sun protection by preventing UV-induced inflammation. (All sunscreens in this story contain antioxidants.) Give your skin a greater line of defense by eating lots of kale, oranges, blueberries and pomegranates or taking one daily capsule of Heliocare, a natural, plant-based antioxidant ($30 for 60 capsules, drugstores).

And what’s up with all these sun spots? Am I using the wrong sunscreen?
The freckles and dark spots you’re seeing now have been developing for years and are a giveaway that you haven’t been quite so scrupulous with sunscreen in the past, O’Brien says. As you get older, your skin loses its ability to regenerate and discoloration caused by UV rays appears. You might see them right after a visit to the beach, because you got just enough extra sun exposure to bring them to the surface. To lighten spots, apply a serum with vitamin C, glycolic acid, retinol or kojic acid every morning on clean skin until they fade. We like Jasön C Effects Pure Natural Hyper-C Serum ($37, Whole Foods stores).

I forget to reapply every two hours. Is there an easy way to remember?
Set an alarm on your phone or get a little help from a cool sensor. Strap a Sunscreen Band ($9 for 10 bands, around your wrist, then apply sunscreen to it; the bracelet will turn bright pink when it’s time to reapply. Or place a UV-detecting Sun Signals Sensor ($6 for 18 stickers, on your forearm; when the sensor turns bright orange, it’s time to slather on more SPF. Keep in mind, the only way these innovative nudges will make an impact is if you don’t ignore them.

Do I have to resign myself to pale skin or is there a way to naturally fake a tan?
Good news: You don’t have to be alabaster all summer! Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the ingredient in selftanner that changes your skin color, can be naturally derived (from beets, sugar cane and corn). Try True Natural Tropical Tan Self- Tanner ($23,, which is free of the harmful parabens and synthetic fragrances usually found in self-tanners. Scared you’ll get a streaky application? Keep a Bronze Buffer ($10 for 2 sponges, close by. If you see an area that’s too dark or uneven, use the nifty sponge to gently scrub off color. Or try a body bronzer that washes off in the shower, like paraben- free Hampton Sun Airbrush Bronzing Mist ($42,, for a foolproof glow.