Monday, June 23, 2008

facial sunscreen: lessons learned

Two summers ago, I was travelling around Sweden and Denmark with friends. We spent the most amazing day walking and biking around Copenhagen, eating cheese sandwiches, drinking beer and stumbling to the top of the spiral tower of Our Saviour Church. Naturally, we took loads of pictures to document every moment. So you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when I went through the photographs and saw that in almost every image, my face was an unnatural, ghostly white. I'm always quite pale, plus my hair was dyed black at the time, but I'd still never seen myself look quite so ghoulish. Then it struck me. I'd borrowed some European drugstore sunblock from my Danish friends. Although it wasn't noticable in person, the sunscreen gave my face a reflective, white cast that was dreadfully apparent in photos.

I already had a lot of qualifications for facial sunscreen, so I simply added does-not-cause-scary-ghoul-face to the list. For a sunscreen to meet my holy grail criteria, it can't cost an arm and a leg, because I go through a ton of it. It must be at least SPF 45. It can't clog my pores. And it absolutely musn't be greasy. Thank goodness for Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock. This product goes on light, without any residual greasiness or whiteness. Plus, it's never triggered a break out. It comes in SPF 55 with helioplex, so I feel confident that my skin is getting the protection it needs. And since it's Neutrogena, you can pick this up at any drugstore. This sunscreen got me through an outdoor concert last weekend without a smidge of redness, a major accomplishment for my complexion. I used it on my shoulders, arms, and legs as well. Good thing too, as my knee-high gladiator sandals would have given me pretty ludicrous sunburn lines.

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