Just for a minute. Can we talk about sunscreen? One thing about living in San Diego—we are spending a lot more time in the sun than ever before. I’ve never been a sun worshipper. At our neighborhood pool in Virginia, I was the mom trying to squeeze myself into the bar of shade cast by the fencepost. In fact, I have friends who laughed hysterically when they heard I was moving to one of the world’s sunniest vacation spots. The climate, they feared, would be wasted on me.
What I didn’t realize about Southern California until living here was that, except for a few hard-baked weeks in the summer, sunny doesn’t necessarily mean hot. It’s balmy and breezy and just so darn pleasant. And so off we whisk to Balboa Park or Mission Trails, and the kindly sun beams down upon us.
Which means, of course, sunscreen is our new best friend. But I have to say I don’t entirely trust this friend. I once heard an oncologist say that if you use any sunscreen stronger than SPF 15, the chemicals are worse for your health than UV rays. I don’t know what kind of stats support that statement, but it’s always there in the back of my mind.
So what do you do? Chinaberry sells a "natural sunscreen" that’s supposed to be safer than most brands (it does not contain oxybenzone, whatever that is), but yeesh, the price tag! (Although when I went to get the URL just now I discovered they’re having an end-of-summer sunscreen sale, so there you go.)
In the summer the kids go through the stuff so quickly that I usually wind up opting for whatever’s on sale at Target. But ugh, that chemical smell, I can’t stand it. And what’s in that stuff? I seriously don’t trust it. For occasional use, fine, but for something they need to wear every day?
For myself, I seldom bother to do more than put an SPF 15 moisturizer on my face. I always forget about my arms…
I don’t wear makeup, but I’ve been looking at the SPF-containing mineral powders (like Bare Minerals) and wondering if they’re a better idea than the creams. But then I read that Bare Minerals contains bismuth, which sounds as sinister as oxybenzone. So I’m back to square one.
What brands do you use? For you, and for the kids? Do you use something
different for faces and bodies? Every day, or only in summer?
Things that Don’t Mix
Sometimes Cliches Are Imprecise
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What We Said Seventeen Times Yesterday
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