Glam Slam: The Friday Five – Sunblock For Every Age

Sending out an SOS… as in Save Our Skin!

Luckily, there are many ways to protect our skin these days against Summer's killer rays.

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So many, in fact, that it can get a little overwhelming. Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Daniel Taheri breaks it all down for us. "There are a number of factors, including age and skin complexion, which should be considered when selecting sunblock" says the good doctor.


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"For teenagers who are afflicted with oily skin, the SPF ingredients can clog pores and exacerbate breakouts," warns Dr. Taheri. "It is important to pay attention to the ingredients and use an oil-free and light-textured sunblock. There are also sunscreens that contains salicylic acid, but be very careful with extensive exposure to the sun using this sunblock because it can predispose one to become more photosensitive."

PICK: Try oil-free EltaMD with transparent zinc oxide.


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"For females in their 20s, tinted moisturizers can be of great benefit," according to Dr. Taheri. "These sunblocks are lighter than the average foundation and provide a 'soft coverage.' They even out the skin tone without the "pancake makeup" effect."

PICK: Try MelaShade sunscreen SPF 45 or Laura Mercier.

30s & 40s

Dr. Taheri recommends that those in their 30s and 40s look for sunblocks which have been formulated with antioxidants to further help combat wrinkles. "Antioxidants block free radicals which are directly related to wrinkle formation. A number of different formulations are available utilizing antioxidants including green tea, vitamins A, C and E."

PICK: MelaShade antioxidant sunscreen SPF 45.

50s & 60s

Those in their 50s or 60s (and those with generally dry skin), may benefit from sunblocks with added moisturizers, suggests Dr. Taheri.

PICK: L'OCCITANE Ultra Moisturizing Fluid sunblock with Shea Butter or Clarins Hydration-Plus Moisture Lotion sunblock.


You can never start too early when it comes to protecting your skin. "For babies and small children, it is generally recommended that a "physical" or "chemical-free" sunscreen made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide be used," says Dr. Taheri. "Unlike "chemical sunscreens", which may cause irritation or allergic reactions because the skin absorbs the active ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide generally don't penetrate the skin. Rather, they form a layer on top of the skin and form a barrier against the sun's rays. Although there's no evidence that chemical sunscreens are toxic to the body, it is generally safer not to expose toddlers to unwanted chemicals. Additionally, sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide have an added benefit of protecting as soon as one puts them on. Chemical products must be slathered on the body 30 minutes in advance so the skin has time to absorb them."

"When using a chemical-based sunscreen, a small amount should first be applied to make sure the child won't have a reaction to it. Apply a small amount to the inside of her upper arm. If they develop a rash or redness at the site by the next day, choose another formula instead. Also make sure any chemical sunscreen you use is labeled "PABA-free." PABA was once widely used in sunscreens but now has been linked with skin irritation."


"You may have heard you should look for a "broad-spectrum" product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. These sunblocks include La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Lait (which uses the chemical Mexoryl to block UVA rays) or Neutrogena (which uses the chemical Helioplex). Any sunscreen that contains the physical blocker zinc oxide or titanium dioxide will also do this.

It is also important to protect the lips with sunscreen because lips have little to no melanin and are highly susceptible to skin cancer. A number of sunblocks are available in the marketplace that not only allow for sun protection but also allow for natural lip color and gloss."

PICK: Neutrogena MoistureShine Lipstick SPF 20 or SkinCeuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair.

For active individuals who spend a lot of time in the water, waterproof or water-resistant formulas stay on the skin longer while in the water. "Water resistant" generally stays on for about 40 minutes while "water proof" provides coverage for up to 80 minutes. It is generally recommended to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours while swimming.

PICK: Banana Boat Ultra Defense sunblock or Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunblock.

Lastly, it important to note that old sunscreens won't allow for the same level of protection since the ingredients break down and the effectiveness wears off over time. Pay attention to the expiration dates listed on the bottle.

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