Sunscreen Gets Serious – Globe and Mail May 26 2007
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Sunscreen Gets Serious – Globe and Mail May 26 2007

By Amy Verner

Fifty is the new thirty. No, this isn’t another pro-aging story (sorry boomers). We’re talking about sunscreen.  This is the summer we get serious about sunblock, with SPF 50 the new normal, and drugstore shelves full of formulations that promise to block more harmful UV rays than ever.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be. No doubt news that vitamin D-abundantly supplied by the sun’s rays-can dramatically reduce the risk of cancer has many consumers wondering whether they can skip the slip, slop, slap. The short answer: no. People should spend no more than 10 to 15 minutes in the sun without any protection (this includes clothes), says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a Toronto-based dermatologist. It is difficult to give a precise recommendation, because of factors such as skin colour and sun intensity. “(We) worry that if you tell people they can go out, they’ll go wild,” she explains. But three hours of bathing suit lounging at the beach – you need protection. The good news is that the latest sun-care products are light-years away from their thick and smelly former selves, making for one less chore at the shore.

Coppertone calls its latest formula, Spectra3, “the next generation in sun-care protection.” The SPF 50 sunscreen contains micronized zinc oxide, which absorbs rays before they even came into contact with the skin. Ombrelle’s reformulated SPF 60 for the face offers a patented molecule, Mexoryl XL, that is said to provide the highest UVA protect on the market. It is “photostable,” so it does not degrade in sunlight. Then there’s Clinique’s SunCare UV Response Collection for face and body, where ingredients include antioxidants, caffeine and nylon (to wick away moisture). Self-tanners, too, continue to improve, offering benefits beyond bronzed skin. The St. Ives Healthy Brilliance range includes firming and anti-aging lotions. The ever-popular Jergens Natural Glow Face now comes with SPF 20. And Sun Shimmer for legs from Rimmel features Lycra for a smooth “second skin effect.”  Men can now get a faux glow with products designed just for them, including L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra-Bronze, a self-tanning moisturizer with SPF 15.

Of course, there will always be those who want to remain porcelain. Lucky for them, people get more vitamin D than they think in the summertime, Kellett says (light through windows counts). She recommends that people who are concerned about their levels take a supplement. Much better than risking skin cancer, she notes.

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