Out Of The Shadows
Don’t hide indoors! With these products you can play in the sun all day
TThey’ve read (or written) all the studies. They’ve researched and tested countless products. And they witness, daily, the effects of too much UV exposure in their patients. But in one very important way, dermatologists are just like us! They still go out into the world and worry about the health of their own skin. So what do they actually do with this knowledge? How do they boil it down into doable steps for everyday mornings and beach-day activities? We polled dermatologists about the educated tweaks they make to a typical SPF routine. This full-access guide to protecting your skin like an MD starts with, of all things, toothpaste.
THEY KEEP THEIR SUNSCREEN NEXT TO THEIR TOOTHPASTE.
Giving sunblock a front-andcentre spot on the bathroom sink serves as the greatest reminder to put it on every morning. “I’ve been doing this for years,” says dermatologist Dr Ranella Hirsch. The habit is backed by science: a recent study showed that participants who stored SPF next to their toothpaste had a 20-percent increase in use compared with the group who kept it elsewhere.
THEY CHOOSE THEIR SPF LEVEL MATHEMATICALLY.
When sunscreens are tested in the lab under perfect conditions, scientists determine their SPF based on using a super-thick (some say impractical) amount to cover skin. “Studies have shown that people tend to under-apply sunscreen and that it wears off over the course of two hours,” says dermatologist Dr Macrene Alexiades. All the more reason to opt for (1) Cetaphil Daylong SPF 50+ Liposomal Lotion For Face and Body (R284), whenever you’re going to be outdoors all day. SPF numbers stand for the rough measure of time a person who has applied the sunscreen can stay out in the sun without getting burned. How do you work this out? By calculating the time it takes you to burn with a sunscreen and dividing it by the time taken for you to burn without a sunscreen. “If you burn in 300 minutes with a sunscreen and 10 minutes without a sunscreen, that’s 300/10 = 30. So the sunscreen will have an SPF of 30,” explains dermatologist Dr Nomphelo Gantsho. Every single derm we polled said the minimum they reach for on regular days is SPF 30. “No matter what the SPF is (30+ or 50+), consumers should reapply it every two hours if they are in the sun all day,” says Gantsho.
THEY CHECK OFF BODY PARTS LIKE A TO-DO LIST.
These doctors spend all day examining people from head to toe – and they’ve seen the places where skin cancer pops up and wrinkles set in. In addition to the tops of and behind ears, backs of hands, knees and tops of feet, there are three other places that seem obvious, but we regularly forget: “I see a lot of that pluckedchicken-skin effect on the sides of people’s necks. Our chins protect the center of the neck a bit from the sun, but not the sides. I always make sure I’ve applied my facial SPF down and around my whole neck,” says dermatologist Dr Doris Day. The other often-overlooked areas are between your toes and along the hairline. “I witness a ton of brown spots in front of the ears as well as on the top of the forehead, so I start my facial sunscreen at the periphery, then get more product if I need to once I reach my nose,” says Day. Others dust a powder SPF, like (2) Bioderma Mineral Compact SPF 50+ (R340), through those face-framing baby hairs if they don’t want to gunk them up with a cream.
THEY WORK IN LAYERS.
Most derms agree that the standard measurements recommended for sunscreen – a teaspoon for the face, a shot glass for the body – are completely lost on everyone (including themselves – except for the one derm we spoke to who actually measures it out!). Instead, nearly all of them apply in layers to get sufficient coverage – and rub in different directions on round two. “This ensures I haven’t missed a spot,” says dermatologist Dr Vivian Bucay. Oh, and they do this while naked: “Doing so avoids burns along the edges of a bathing suit or clothes, which I often see in patients,” says dermatologist Dr Emmy Graber. Still unsure if you’ve applied enough? Our derms insist that you’re properly covered only when you can see the results glistening on your skin.
THEY START THE MORNING WITH COFFEE... AND ANTIOXIDANTS.
But first, coffee: dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe upped her java intake from 236ml to 355ml after reading a recent study that showed more coffee equals a lower risk of developing malignant melanoma. As for antioxidants, they’re a safety net, protecting against free radicals that slip through the cracks of your SPF – which one study showed can be up to 45 percent! “There’s research that says the combination of ferulic acid with vitamins C and E can increase your sunscreen’s SPF by eight,” says dermatologist Dr Tina Alster, who layers (3) SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum