Cori Zeichner, aka The DermWife®, started sharing her skincare secrets on her popular blog, thedermwife.com, after friends began asking about her beauty routine. Married to a prominent New York City dermatologist, Zeichner has tried it all and is willing to talk about it.
The July 4th weekend is upon us here in the Hamptons. Whether you are relaxing at the beach, barbecuing in your backyard or letting your hair down in your convertible, we’re all hoping to enjoy the warm weather. Being married to a top NYC dermatologist, I’ve learned a thing or two about making it through the summer unscathed by the sun. So here are my top tips on how to use sunscreen properly, so you and your family can have fun in the sun but still be protected.
1. Don’t use expired sunscreen. Reusing last year’s beach chairs is one thing, applying old sunscreen is another. When it comes to protecting yourself from the sun, you shouldn’t skimp. If the sunscreen is past its expiration date, toss it without a doubt. If the sunscreen does not have an expiration date, it should last up to three years from the purchase date. But if it doesn’t look, smell or feel like it originally did, toss it. You’ve purchased a new bikini (or five) for the season, so buy a new bottle of sunscreen, too.
2. The best sunscreen is the one you actually use. Everyone thinks they have discovered the best sunscreen brand, and there are lots of sunscreen ratings out there, but the reality is that no sunscreen will work if you don’t put it on. Of course, the basic rule is to choose a sunscreen that has at least SPF 30 protection and is labeled with the words “broad spectrum.” Other than that, just choose the product with a consistency or smell that you like so you actually put it on. No excuses.
3. Look for water resistance if you are a swimmer or a sweater. Some sunscreens have been specifically tested to give protection even in the water. So if you’re going to be at the pool or on the tennis court, look for sunscreens labeled as “water resistant,” which means that they’ve been tested and proven not to wash off for either 40 or 80 minutes, depending on the product. Even if the sunscreen is water resistant, my husband says always to reapply after you get out of the water or after heavy sweating to give yourself the best protection possible.
4. Make sure to use enough sunscreen. As great as it would be for the sunscreen you applied in the morning to protect you for the entire day, alas, that is not the case. The effectiveness of sunscreen wears off after about two hours, so you must, must, must reapply. Since a glass or two of rosé can make you forget, I set my cell phone alarm as a reminder. Plus, you need to use enough sunscreen to get the protection labeled on the bottle. The Derm recommended amount is a quarter-sized dollop for your face, and a golf ball–sized amount for the rest of your body. (If you’re doing the math, you’ll see that your new bottle of sunscreen should probably not last you beyond the weekend if you’re using it the right way.)
5. Both chemical and mineral sunscreens are great options. There are a lot of opinions on what sunscreens are best for us and for the environment. I can’t tell you what to choose, but here’s what I can say: Sunscreens are actually monitored by the FDA and all of the ingredients used in them are considered safe. According to my husband, despite decades of use, there have been no reports of adverse health issues reported from the use of sunscreen. At the end of the day, the benefit of using sunscreen to protect you from skin cancer and aging skin outweighs any health risks you may be worried about. However, if you are concerned or choose to stay away from chemical sunscreens, the great news is that there are tons of mineral options out there for you.
Here are some of my top picks:
Top Body Susncreen
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Face & Body Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40
Top Ultra High SPF Protection
Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 100
Top Anti-Aging Sunscreen
Sisley Paris Sunleÿa Age Minimizing Sun Care SPF 50+
Top Mineral Suscreen
Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50