6.20.2015

Sunscreen Primer



Sunscreen is my pet topic. So much have been written about sunscreen, so many experts, so many articles, it's hard not to get too technical, even for my taste. However, when I think of sunscreen, I try to distill it to things that matters.

The Four Sunscreen Commandments

  1. Use it.
    If you don't use it, you won't get protection. Duh! That means using it daily, even though it is cloudy or you are just driving and getting in-out of indoor places (more about this later). I think formulating sunscreen must be a feat of cosmetic formulation --  a balance between fulfilling all regulatory requirements while making sure the product has elegant feel and finish to it. Choose a texture and formulation that you like that you will want to use it daily.
  2. Use enough of it.
    All sunscreen measurement of protection is based on the amount applied per area of the skin (it is 2mg/cm2 to be exact). Using enough mean a full shot-glass for the whole body, which comes down to a teaspoonful (5 milliliter) for the face and neck. Go ahead and measure it! A teaspoonful is quite a lot to spread over your face and neck. If you use less, you won't get the stated-protection, you may not even get any protection.
  3. Reapply.
    All sunscreens degrade. If you don't reapply, you won't get enough protection. This is especially important on all-chemical sunscreen. Physical block may degrade less than chemical sunscreen but skin's own sweat and sebum can still break through the barrier that the sunscreen provides.
  4. Don't rely on sunscreen alone.
    Especially for those sunscreens marketed in the U.S., the very definition of sunscreen protection per FDA is,".... sunscreen products meeting modern standards for effectiveness may be labeled with new information to help consumers find products that, when used with other sun protection measures, reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, as well as help prevent sunburn."
    If the FDA won't rely on sunscreen alone, I sure won't, either. I use hats and UV-block clothing on regular basis when I'm outdoor. This also means, to avoid burns, I stay under the shades whenever possible. Do what you have to do to avoid sun exposure.
Notice there is no mention of sunscreen ratings on my "Four Commandments" -- the reason why we shall explore below.

Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) -- Not another Tom Ford's Eau de Perfume


O.k. I'm thinking about Violet Blonde (or as I may want to say Violent Blond) -- never-mind the lame joke. Which one cause burns? Which one cause aging? Which one cause cancer? Easy.

UV-A = Ageing
UV-B = Burn
UV-C = Can't reach the Earth

All UVR causes cancer, some wavelength more/less to a certain degree.

Of the total UVR to which we are exposed, 95% consist of UVA, only 5% of UVB. UVC basically is scattered in the stratosphere/dispersed in the ozone layer.

Moreover, UVA penetrates through glass (that includes the windshield and side-windows of cars) and clouds. I am a textbook example of that. Most of my adult life, I drive a car almost daily, and most of my sunspots are on the left hand side of my face, down my left shoulder and arms, aka the side of the driver seat, aka the side that I got the most sun exposure. I've got 3-4 biopsy sites on my left-hand side and none of my right-hand side. Coincidence?

Sunscreens in the market, thus far, have done good job in UVB protection. One can even get under the shade to avoid burning, right? UVA, however, is another story. This, and the fact that the majority of UVR is UVA, and that UVA goes through practically everything should make one think that UVA protection should be paramount in any sunscreen formula.

SPF


When I think of SPF, I think of UVB (Burn). It is a measure of protection against burn. There are so many definitions out there, but one that helps me is this:

"If I burn within 10 minutes without sunscreen, with an SPF of 15 I can stay as long as 10 minutes times 15 (150 minutes) before I got burned."

SPF is quite an arbitrary measure of burn protection, because each person burns in a different rate. Papalorp actually rarely burns, he just tan. The Tod also tans straight on his limbs but not on his face and scalp -- he burns on those areas. I practically just burn, never tan (to tan, I need suntan lotion -- more of this below).

It would be ideal to match one's skin tendency to tan with the SPF rating, right? But who wants to check how long one got burned and choose the SPF accordingly? Pas moi.. This is yet another reason why SPF rating can be deceitful: technically for someone like Papalorp, any SPF rating would do -- he can even use SPF 2, but for me, I need choose as high as possible since I got burned easily. How high? Some regulations actually cap the highest SPF rating at 50 (FDA included) as to not give an illusion of impenetrable protection.

A little anecdote that I hope will make sense to you once you understand what SPF means: way back when, sunscreens are not really called sun-screen. They are called sun-tan lotion. Why? Because with SPF 2-4, you can sit in the sun as long as you can, achieving the glowing tan while skipping the burn. Tan, as we learn, is part of persistent pigment darkening, the product of UVA. Devilish, eh?

Ahh.. the scent of summer. Image from bananboat.com

SPF is not a measure of duration of sunscreen's protection. A product with SPF 15 does not last longer than a product with SPF 50; both products should be reapplied every 2 hours -- commandment no. 3. On the above example of staying in the sun for 150 minutes? Well, that rating will only hold if I reapply every 2 hours (120 minutes), so, if I only apply once, I can be sure I'll get burned.

Finally, SPF is measured in-vitro, with in-vivo as control/comparison. They measure this by shining artificial light (with calibrated wavelength and so on) through the tested product, and see how much light can go through the layer of sunscreen (remember the 2 mg/cm2, commandment no. 2). Why does this matter? Because sometimes in-vitro measurement is not a good representation of in-vivo, actual-human-usage of sunscreen.

PPD and PA


Both PPD and PA are a measure of protection against UVA. In short, a rating of PPD 5 allows five times increased of UVA exposure before a persistent pigment darkening occur compared to unprotected skin. Again, what does this mean? Whose unprotected skin?

Another problem: none of these tests and values are internationally standardized. PPD testing, for example, uses human volunteers (in-vivo), but recently European Cosmetic Industry Association (COLIPA) has adopted an in-vitro equivalent of PPD testing. So confusing.

Even more confusing, most European sunscreens, which are subject to PPD testing, do not actually specify the PPD rating on the bottle, unlike the easily-spotted SPF value. The bottle of La Roche Posay Anthelios only mentioned "SPF 50+, UVB + UVA."

Then, there's the PA rating. PA rating is only used in Japan. The majority of web sources I found translates PA rating as direct interpretation of PPD rating. For example, PA+ = PPD 2-4, PA++ = PPD 4-8, and so on.


How to interpret sunscreen ratings?


Granted, sunscreen rating, SPF or PPD or PA, are not perfect, but all of them are intended for consumers to make a better, informed decision about the product. I pay attention to them and I rely on the product's website for this information (e.g. La Roche Posay's website is quite helpful with this. They also state the full ingredient list on each one of their products). Japanese sunscreens are more "consumer friendly" with the PA rating printed on the bottle.

Without getting too technical, the equation that describes the SPF protection (transmission of UVB = 1/SPF) has an asymptote at around SPF 30, which means, a protection of SPF 30 and SPF above 30 is practically indistinguishable. For this reason, I always choose my sunscreen to be at least SPF 30 or above (above most commonly comes as SPF 50). I definitely would not hesitate using an SPF rating of 30 on my son (most environmentally-friendly, kid-friendly sunscreen rarely goes above 30 anyway).

Finally, let's talk about the term "Broad Spectrum" used in sunscreens in the U.S. market. You can read the original FDA press release here. "Broad Spectrum" is FDA's catch-all phrase to certify that a certain product has "..pass(ed) the FDA’s test for protection against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays." In addition to the term "Broad Spectrum," a manufacturer can state a claim that the product, "... reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, when used as directed," if the product is of SPF 15 and above. Example, a sunscreen with SPF 4 can carry the term "Broad Spectrum" so long as the manufacturer pass this FDA-required test, but it cannot carry the "reduce the risk of skin cancer..." claim.

The take home message is choose the sunscreen that is labeled "Broad Spectrum" with at least SPF 30. If there is a PPD or PA rating stated, I prioritize on choosing the highest PPD/PA rating, without sacrificing the Suncreen Commandments.

Are sunscreen ingredients and formulation safe?


Being a mom, I tend to be more careful lately with product safety. There actually has been a call to reexamine the safety of sunscreen, especially on skins of elderly, children, people with some skin condition such as psoriasis, eczema, or other type that makes the skin more susceptible to increased sunscreen topical absorption. Nothing has been decided yet -- at least from what I read so far. Again, commandment no 1 is the key: in my case, it takes numerous trial-and-error to find a good sunscreen that I equally feel good using.

Another impact of sunscreen is to the ecosystem, particularly on body of water that drains to the sea (like the lakes that are here in Seattle). Again, I am extra careful on researching that the sunscreens we use while we are playing in the open water is also environmentally friendly.

Will frequent use of sunscreen cause vitamin D deficiency?


UVB is the UV spectrum that initiates the first step of vitamin D conversion in the skin. Subsequent transformation happen in kidney and liver. Remember that of the total UVR, UVB only comprises 5% of it.

There are theories in regards to the duration of UVB exposure needed to supply the body with vitamin D's daily value, the optimal wavelength of UVB, the latitude/area on Earth that receives optimal wavelength of UVB, seasonal variation of UVB wavelength received on particular place on Earth, etc. Sufficed to say, under this condition, frequent sunscreen use will not result in vitamin D deficiency. I mean, just think about it, there are so many factors involved than just the ones mentioned above -- sunscreen reapplication (how many of us remember to re-apply?), the percentage of skin surface actually covered with sunscreen, etc.

The British Journal of Dermatology. 2009;161(4):732-736. 


Which sunscreen to use and when?


I rarely stray from my regular skin care but when it comes to sunscreen, it's good to have a few sunscreen on rotation and it's good to experiment. Even the most low-tech sunscreen can fill a niche. Finding sunscreen has mostly been a trial-and-error process for me, but no sunscreen is wasted at the Land: we use those which does not work on our bodies.

  • Under Makeup
    I trust most Japanese sunscreens with their elegant, high-tech formulation to perform very well under makeup and give adequate protection. There are many variations, including those which contain ingredients to prevent sebum breakthrough. My favorite so far is Hada Labo (the slim tube, not the squeeze tube which contains alcohol), and Sunplay. Other sunscreens that perform well under makeup are EltaMD and Bobbi Brown Protective Face SPF 50. Another promising candidate is LRP Pigmentclar UV SPF 30 (only tried samples, yet to purchase a full-size). It has nice hydrating ingredients, niacinamide and broad spectrum SPF 30 chemical screens.
  • Extended Outdoor Use (such as a picnic day at the park, or summer days with the Tod)
    On my face and body, I normally use La Roche Posay due to its high PPD rating (see the gigantic tube of Anthelios XL). Commandment no 4: I always seek shades anyway but there is no reliable filtering UVA. I even put LRP sunscreen on my face for re-application.
  • Water Sport (our-kind of water sport consists of wadding pool, lake, and beach)
    Nothing is more tenacious than the low-tech Badger Sunscreen. It is quite badass; so white, so tenacious, it takes either Clinique Balm Cleanser or a bit of coconut oil on the Tod to remove. It protects well and I feel good using it since it is biodegradable and friendly to the water ecosystem. 
  • For the Tod
    Goddess Garden, hands down, has a great, non-sticky yet spreadable texture that is nicely scented with lavender. I slather this sunscreen regularly on the Tod and he does not mind a bit. This one is also biodegradable.
  • Lips
    Don't forget the lips! My stapple is Shiseido Water-In-Lip UV Care SPF 18. I found the formula very emollient but not greasy, without any detectable sunscreen taste (in fact, it taste like cool menthol). Jack Black would do in a pinch, but the Shiseido is notches above any lip sunscreen I've came across. I do not use anything that contain oxybenzone for the lips, and that includes balms by Bite Beauty and Fresh.


Physical v.s. chemical screen, nano v.s. non-nano, critical wavelength, sunscreen stability, etc. etc. are topics that are beyond the scope of this measly blog post. I don't claim to be an expert, but I use, read, buy, and experiment with sunscreen enough that I hope this has been helpful. Please leave a comment with your opinion on sunscreen, your favorite sunscreen for you or your children, or even sunscreen for lips!

12 comments:

  1. Thank thank your for taking the precious time to write this and post it on your blog, you know I was waiting for this!!! This is such an amazing, practical sunscreen post that doesn't go into unnecessary technical debates. I will bookmark it for future reference, and add products you mentioned immediately to my list. I definitely need to amp up my PPD/ PA protection, especially that I freckle very easily - and I know I need to apply more than I do currently, but it's a bit hard to wait for all that product to absorb before putting on make-up. Why do you avoid oxybenzone for your lips - is it because of the toxicity debate? I'll look into that Shiseido balm, thank you for the recommendation!

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    1. Thanks, Monika, sunscreen is my pet topic, I've been meaning to write this for a long time.

      I agree with you, everywhere I go discussion about sunscreen is about controversial (often unsubstantiated) technical debates about ingredients, etc. etc. I just try to go to the bottom line of what I want to know about my product. I hope someone else will find it helpful (curiously, this post is the second most-read post as of late but noone comments yet.. c'mon people, I'd like to know what you think about your sunscreen, too!).

      Oxybenzone: this ingredient has had a bad rep, but mostly from EWG report. However, from what I read it has been extensively studied, and has been found to be safe for a long time, and it has NOT been banned in Europe (contrary to many web gossips). However, there must be a reason why many countries (Europe, US included) put an upper limit for this ingredient. Moreover, sunscreen absorption are tested on skin -- technically lips are skin, too, and when you put some ingredients on the lips, it inevitably will be ingested. Finally, oxybenzone has some of the highest cutaneous absorption for sunscreen since the molecule is small and oil-loving (skin will absorb oil more readily and "resist" water by the virtue of its structure and composition). I think bottom line is, I am not confident to use this as an ingredients of sunscreen on the lips and there are many other options out there.

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  2. Thank you Claire for this informative post! I think it is really easy to get confused and you really broke it down into the elements in a way that is easily understood.

    I kind of have a super simple way of a criteria for suncreens. 1) high enough SPF & PPD factors. I try to stay in the SPF 50 range and will specifically shop for PA ++++ rated products. My current face favorite is the Mentholatum Sunplay one. 2) cosmetically elegant so will work nice with my makeup! No super thick, or goopy products that leave a white cast. I really like Japanese ones because even though most have a lot of alcohol (I don't normally mind, and it's nice the Sunplay is alcohol free) because they texture is so light that wearing it doesn't feel like an annoyance.

    I don't really have a preference for chemical or physical either as long as criteria 1 and 2 are met. I think it's really easy to get overwhelmed in general, so I try to keep it simple and wear it every single day. Even if I am indoors all day, it's just part of my routine. I also try to keep a big ol' hat on if I am driving or outdoors for any length of time.

    I am no scientist (or particularly science journal literate), so don't even want to wade into how ingredients can degrade other ingredients, potential toxicity and all that *waves hands around stupidly* stuff.

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    1. ITA w/ your criteria. Last year when I was in Asia, I came across numerous Japanese sunscreen and most I found contain a combination of film former + alcohol +/- sebum controller/absorber or silicone-base with lightweight feel (like Sunplay) that leaves a nice finish perfect for makeup application. I found the alcohol-containing formula rather-ok to use in hotter climate but not here. Something that comes across near that in the U.S. market is probably Neutrogena Sheer Touch range -- which is not as nearly "feel like nothing" on the skin as these Japanese sunscreen.

      I also found, like I mentioned above, that "primitive" sunscreen formula (with beeswax, oils, and such) can fit a niche like when we swim outdoor. I do care about that kind of stuff.. hopefully part of being a mindful-consumer thing :-)

      Thanks for stopping by & dropping your comment!

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  3. Thanks for this great post! I am on the market for a new sunscreen. Which Hada Labo do you use? I see an SPF 30 and a 50 in tubes. My skin is combination, like a very dry field with sunscreens. Would you recommend the Hada Labo for that?

    I used the Neutrogena dry touch for years, but I've come to the conclusion that it was part of the cause of my facial redness, I have switched to physical sunscreens. I am not sure that they are working better. My skin used to be great and has not been the same since I left Neutrogena mask on for too long.

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    1. I should have been more specific about the Hada Labo: the one I use is the "UV Moist Emulsion SPF50 PA +++." It is on the picture above, the slim white tube. The Hada Labo "Creamy Gel" series contain alcohol. Hada Labo UV contains chemical sunscreen, just FYI since you mentioned about "switching to physical sunscreen" on your comment.

      Sunscreen recommendation: as I mentioned above, it takes trial-and-error to find one that suit my skin, and unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all, even for similar skin type. What sunscreen have you used in the past that you liked? What kind of texture? What ingredients have your skin reacted to? Do you plan to use it under makeup or for sport? These are just a few considerations.

      Hada Labo is silicone-heavy, which one can associate with "greasy" or "slippy" feeling, but some of the silicones do evaporate, leaving a good finish for makeup. I personally apply about 5 mL (which is A LOT -- this is why it is important that any sunscreen one chooses, to be sure to like the texture) and brush my teeth and change my clothes, then when it is still moist, put on my base makeup on top. It does the "synergy" thing with the foundation that I use. Do you like more of a matte-dry finish? If so, there are other Japanese sunscreen that has film-former + alcohol + sebum absorber that you may like better, like Biore UV Sarasara range. If you prefer something in-between, a feel more like facial moisturizer or lotion -- somewhat fresh and tacky, but not too slippy or too matte, some of the U.S. brand can fit the bill, like Bobbi Brown or EltaMD.

      Assuming you live in the U.S., when in doubt, try out a sample. Japanese sunscreens are readily available via amazon and I found the price to be super reasonable that you may as well jump the gun. If it does not work, you can always use it up on your body (like what I do).

      Hope that was somewhat helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Hi! Thanks for such a great response and recommendations. Sorry for the crazy typos in my first post. That's what happens when you write on your phone and don't proofread adequately!

    I do live in the US. Last night I went on Amazon and ended up with the Hada Labo UV Whitening Emulsion SPF 50 PA+++ and the Sunplay Mentholatum Sun Protect Clear Water SPF 50. My skin is combination and quite sensitive, which is why I originally switched to a physical sunscreen (first Neutrogena Pure and Free and then Skinceuticals) but I feel like the sunscreen is just sitting on top of my skin like a thick and visible layer. That's after using three blotting papers to blot down the oil that is in the Skinceuticals physical sunscreen. And my skin is the worst it is been a long time, so I am willing to make a change. And that includes giving chemical sunscreens another go.

    I like sunscreens that feel imperceptible on my skin. I do not like any of the tacky "moisturized" feeling. If I had my way my skin would feel bone dry all the time. Strange, I know. I just really dislike the feel of lotion. I am also quite pale, so the white cast of the sunscreen is not as much of a problem for me as it is for others, especially in the winter. If you have any other suggestions, I would love to hear them!

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    1. All-physical block/sunscreen usually are formulated with "oily" base, for a lack of a better, non-technical term. Why? Because one of the way to disperse the particles of Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide is via oil-base as the minerals tend to "clump up" in water/water-base delivery system (I have yet to see a decent water-base system that has only physical block). Just think about making a uniform layer of clay/kaolin using water, no matter how careful, you'll have to keep stirring/agitating to prevent the clay from eventually settling down on the bottom. This is simply cannot be have for a shelf-stable formula or that consumer would perceive this as "less elegant." At least, silicones (some of silicones are light enough to evaporate after the product is applied to skin) are needed to help disperse these minerals into a uniform layer. In this regard, chemical blocks are easier to formulate in many different delivery systems that are more agreeable in terms of shelf-stability and consumer preference.

      Also, when you feel the all-physical block seems to be sitting right on top of the skin, it is doing its job: physical block is exactly that, providing a thin layer that can physically block UV rays. Chemical blocks needs to be absorbed to the skin in order to provide protection -- they absorbed UV rays by the virtue of the molecules. It can absorbed so much UV rays before the UV degrades the molecules completely. This is why it is crucial to re-apply, especially when using all-chemical block. Even exposure to light/UV rays from the bottle will degrades the molecules, so change all sunscreen at least once yearly.

      If you like the feeling of "bone dry all the time" I would highly suggest Biore UV Sarasara range that contains film former + alcohol + sebum absorber. The sebum absorber will help minimize oil breakthrough and the flim former makes a very good makeup base. Hada Labo and Sunplay does not contain sebum absorber and thus will give that slight moist-slippy feeling.

      I hope you'll come back and let us know how it goes with your sunscreen search. Good luck!

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    2. Hello! I wanted to come back and give an update...

      Your suggestion of the Biore UV Sarasara was right on. Even a giant blob absorbs into skin very well with only the slightest residue that I can blot off. The only problem is that it looks and smells like the inside of a Boston cream doughnut, which is really a challenge in the morning. :)

      I like the Sunplay Mentholatum Sun Protect Clear Water SPF 50 reasonably well and will be saving it for the winter. It is still a bit too oily for my taste. I think some of the extra moisture could be useful when my skin is parched in the cold and dry months. But certainly, it's not that bad even now in the summer. The Hada Labo that I ordered has not arrived yet, so I still have one to go.

      Thank you again for all your advice, and your recommendation to try the Japanese sunscreens!

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    3. LOL the temptation of Boston Cream donut in the morning..

      Meow, thanks for your input! I have not tried the Sunplay Clear Water range but reading the ingredients, I think it will have the same feel as Sunplay Super Block that I use. The Hada Labo I mentioned also have the same feel as Sunplay -- anything with cyclopentasiloxane will have that slippy/oily feeling when applied. Glad it works out for you, please come back when you try out the Hada Labo/Sunplay more often.

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  5. Thanks for this informative post Claire!

    I LOVE talking about sunscreens, am obsessed with them lately after looking in the mirror and discovering light brown patches that looks like they'll become a beauty mark / spot soon *shudders*. My bf can attest to that, after giving him lectures on importance of SPF lol!

    Putting on sunscreen during weekdays is not a problem but I am too lazy to bother about SPF protection when i'm staying home or when it's raining (sweat + grease makes SPF slide off minutes after applications). Plus my routine has focused too much on face, and neglected arms, legs and neck (I know!) but am picking this habit up recently. Even though I live in Asia and plenty asian / japanese varieties are at arm’s lenght, I found most of them contains either fragrance or alcohol (I prefer the milk / fluid more than gel from Biore, as an example of textural preference), which is good for makeup as it leaves a matte base, but probably not good for skin in the long run, and exacerbate dryness of my face. So I’ve turned to mostly cream / lotion formulations from Western brands like LRP, Vichy, Elta MD, Coola.

    I do want to know if there's a happy medium in between - I'm happy to try and experiment if an Asian brand doesn't have alcohol in its sunscreen formulation! (that being said, I need to get that Hada Labo non-alcohol bottle recommended in this post.) As a consumer and a beauty blogger, I find it really difficult to navigate the sunscreen options without delving into the details of ingredients, after spending some time to study the components I'm still confused as ever whether something is mineral / chemical (or some formulas have both?), nano / non-nano! But I'll take alcohol-free and fragrance-free for a start ;) and wait for further enlightenment from posts like this! :)

    I have a few questions re: the topic of sunscreen though:

    1) Suppose you wear makeup, and sunscreen has to be re-applied, how do people actually achieve that? I surely can't apply sunscreen on top of a made up face without spoiling it, I’m doubtful of using sprays as components might be inhaled, not being a fan of loose mineral makeup isn't helping either. The closest thing I found is a cream compact / pressed powder with SPF in it for easier reapplication without interfering with makeup - but again, a) how potent is a swipe of powder / cream foundie with SPF on top? b) if a heavy hand is needed, how to avoid it looking cakey and too thick on the face? I haven't found an answer for this yet.

    2) Technically this is less about skin but more about the eyes – has anyone found out whether our sunglasses are really equipped with sunscreen protection? I have a feeling that tinted glass doesn’t mean anything, but have yet to research on sunglasses’ real SPF protection (e.g. do they have to possess a certain degree of something as a benchmark to be able to protect our eyes, etc). Would like to hear what you and others think!

    For now I apply sunscreen up to my brows and both lashlines…but sometimes the formulations interfere with makeup adherence on it, similar to problem #1.

    3) Do you mean the Badger sunscreen will leave a white cast on skin? I am considering this as a body sunscreen since it seems to be affordable and gets the job done, like you said, but white cast is a no-no for my NC30 arms.

    Apologies for the novel (length)…

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    1. Welcome, Jenni! You are exactly the kind of person I love to engage through my blogs, your comments and questions are what I blog for :-)

      I quite like Elta MD sunscreen as well, it feels like a light lotion to me and it makes for a perfect foundation/makeup base, I think it is some of the best formulation I found out there. I have yet to try Coola, mostly because I haven't been able to try it in person (I'm very conscientious about returning used makeup product, so as much as possible, I go to places where they have testers/where I can get a bit of samples before trying on the full-size product). I agree with you about Asian sunscreen. Film formers in the long run can potentially cause problem if one does not cleanse meticulously.

      To answer your questions:

      1. Oh, this is my huge, another yet pet topic: sunscreen RE-application AFTER makeup. Almost nobody talks about this in any beauty blogs I know yet this is I think a very important topic to discuss. I can talk about this in length since I do wear makeup almost daily and always on the look out for touch-up UV. Sufficed to say, I have yet to find a fully-protective product that can be applied post-makeup, simply because chemical sunscreen needs to be absorbed into the skin in order to protect. If one already have makeup on, imagine what fraction of the product actually gets absorbed through the layers of makeup. This is where physical powder/block would be very handy, like you said, powder foundation with UV protection, or face powder with UV (I personally use one from Chantecaille and Physician's Formula, both are excellent). Another type that I use is BB Cushion from Laneige, since my skin is on the dry side, I really don't mind piling this up on top. Again, this is mostly chemical screen, so I really don't know how much protection I get, but it is better than nothing. And nothing out there is elegant, for sure.

      2. From what I understand, unless your lens is coated with a special UV-protective coat, tinted lens will go through the glasses. I think some commercially-made sunglasses have UV coating, mine does (I have Maui Jim's). Yes, let's hear it if anyone else have any experience/comments.

      3. Yes, with Badger, your arms will be WHITE :-) That's why it is so good, so you can see if you miss a spot. Not very fashion-forward but it protects.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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