Tag Archives: Sun Protection


It’s cold and it’s snowy and I’m talking sun protection. Why?

Damaging UVA rays are around all year. They trigger the release of free radicals and can age your skin significantly. Sunscreen protects your skin but most people don’t apply during cold or cloudy weather or they don’t apply enough, miss spots or fail to reapply. That’s where a little insurance can come in handy. In addition to your usual topical sunscreen containing at least SPF 30 I highly recommend you get some added protection like Heliocare, a natural anti-aging oral supplement with antioxidant effects on the skin. Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals before they have a chance to do damage. Heliocare contains Polypodium leucotomos, an antioxidant extract shown to help maintain the skin’s ability to protect itself against sun-related effects and aging. It helps eliminate free radicals produced by sun exposure. Less free radicals means younger, healthier skin.

Heliocare, $29.99 at  drugstores nationwide and walgreens.com.


Summer School

Unfortunately, more often than not the lessons that stick are the ones that are learned the hard way. I’ve found myself getting “color”–a sunburn or tan–even though I applied sun protection before heading out and I could never understand why. After meeting Dr. Jeannette Graf, M.D. I finally have the answer. She says “sunscreen has a cumulative effect on the skin. Over time, it accumulates giving you more than just that day’s protection.”

If you haven’t been applying sunscreen each and every day and you’re only applying it when you spend lots of time in the sun it might not be enough to protect you from those burning, damaging and aging rays. Lesson learned!


Doctor’s Orders: What you Should Be Doing Every Day

The Location:  Club Metropolitan, NYC.

The Topic:  Anti-aging.

The Mood:  Relaxed, cocktail party-ish vibe.

While sipping wine and enjoying apps and bite-size desserts I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Jeannette Graf, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She was there to talk about anti-aging, specifically on how we can stop the aging process. She’s a big believer in diet and lifestyle but says “the right skin care plays a crucial role to stop aging now.”

Dr. Graf explained how our cells are hard-wired to function differently during the day when they’re in protective mode vs. the night when our bodies are at rest and our cells are renewing and repairing damage. Our pH levels,  sebum, antioxidant production and more support this. “We can help this process along with the right products,” says Graf. “The bare minimum you should be doing is applying sunscreen during the day and a retinol product at night.”

MORNING: According to Dr. Graf the number one daytime anti-aging product to use is broad spectrum sun protection. It’s the most important thing you can do for your skin.

  • Use it each and every day. Incorporate it into your morning routine, the way you brush your teeth.
  • Use an SPF50 or greater in late spring through early fall since the sun’s UVB rays are stronger then. In late fall through early spring you can stick with an SPF30.
  • Apply 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every 40 minutes.
  • Sunscreens with added antioxidants like Vitamin C and E will further enhance protection from environmental pollutants.
  • Apply it even if you’ll be in the shade or it’s cloudy out.

Try: Glytone Suncare Block Sunscreen Lotion, $37 at dermshop.com or Neutrogena Age Shield Sunblock, $9.99 at target.com.

EVENING: While you rest, your cells are in renewal mode. Dr. Graf believes “no matter what your age, complexion or skin type, retinol (Vitamin A) is the most important  skin care ingredient to help your skin renew itself.”  Retinol has been clinically proven to regulate skin repair on a molecular level. It will decrease fine lines and wrinkles, improve collagen production, enhance elasticity, improve tone and texture and target hyperpigmentation.  There are multiple forms of retinol available in prescription and over-the-counter strength. Look for retinol, retinaldehyde and retinyl palmitate.

  • Only apply your retinol product at night.
  • Don’t apply on damp skin. It will absorb unevenly, increasing your chance of sensitivity.
  • To avoid irritation, use every other day and start with the lowest percentage retinol cream and increase up from there as you find your skin tolerating it well.
  • When using a retinol product, always apply sunscreen during the day.
  • Continue using to maintain your results.

Try: Glytone Enhance Night Renewal Cream, $72 at dermstore.com, Eau Thermale Avene Retrinol+0.1 Cream, $69 at dermstore.com or SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5, $55 at skinceuticals.com.


Hats Off!

I always miss the mark on buying a summer hat–I start a little too late in the season and all the good ones are gone. This year will be different! Since it’s almost time for fun in the sun, it’s definitely time for a new summer hat. Here, some great picks:

  1. Olona Wide Brim Sunhat. $135 at barneys.com. Bright orange, 100% cotton, canvas soigne hat with an extra wide sun protecting brim.
  2. Biltmore for Madewell Panama Hat, $43.50 at madewell.com. A beach-ready, floppy, panama hat made from toyo paper.
  3. Jonathan Adler Print Bucket Hat, $98 at nordstrom.com. Playful typography and a raw-cut brim adorn this jute bucket hat.

photo courtesy of Beso, Bop Basics Floppy Raffia Sunhat, $98 at shopbop.com.


Healthy Skin is In!

Today is my birthday! I woke up to a nice surprise–my bedroom blanketed with balloons and the most beautiful handmade cards, courtesy of my children. I’m thankful for the gorgeous day because I plan on spending lots of time outdoors, first an early morning run, and later a picnic lunch with my husband. I’ll definitely be wearing sunscreen–I don’t want to be one of the 50,000 Americans diagnosed with Melanoma this year!

I bring this up because May 6th is also Melanoma Monday, a day dedicated to raise awareness of all types of skin cancer,  melanoma being the most serious. Often appearing as as a new mole or a change in size, shape or color of an existing mole, when found in its early stages the chances of recovery are very good. When not found early, it can grow deeper into the skin and spread to other parts of the body, making it much more difficult to treat.

To keep yourself safe:

  1. Limit your sun exposure, especially at the peak hours of 10:00am to 2:00pm.
  2. Use more sunscreen than you think you need. The average adult needs a shot-glass full for the body plus an additional 2/3 a teaspoon for the face and neck. Reapply every 2 hours and immediately after swimming.
  3. Use sunscreen every day, even when cloudy.
  4. Never use a tanning bed. Indoor booths have a proven causal link to skin cancer.
  5. Do a skin-check self exam every 6-8 weeks to hunt down suspicious moles.
  6. Get a yearly head-to-toe skin exam by your dermatologist.
  7. Toss sunscreen products that are more than 24 months old or if the scent and/or texture seem off.
  8. Choose sunscreen with broad spectrum protection (protection from both the UVA and UVB rays). Three to try: Mustela Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen LotionNeutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF30 or Banana Boat Sport Performance Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Lotion SPF50.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.