Protecting your skin is a recurring theme on this blog. Before my mom’s initial melanoma diagnosis my dumbass was a tanning salon client. That abruptly stopped, and I’ve been slathering on sunscreen ever since.
A sunscreen-related question I used to ask was raised in the comments recently that I think warrants its own post. What better a time than Melanoma Monday? In essence, it was:
If most sunscreens must be reapplied every two hours or so, how does one reconcile reapplication with makeup usage? Do you need to remove your makeup, reapply sunscreen, then reapply makeup? How does that work for people who, you know, work?
Sunscreen for Desk Jockeys
Rejoice! You don’t need to literally reapply every two hours unless perhaps you work next to a window (through which UVA rays can penetrate). For those of you with cubicles or windowless offices, this means you can apply in the morning, commute, work, and not need to reapply for a lunch our or your commute home.
Chemical sunscreens aren’t time-released; they don’t have an expiration timer that starts from when they get massaged into your skin. The two-hour estimate is based on the photostability of the chemical components that protect your skin; subject to sun exposure, they gradually break down and become ineffective.
So, the TWO HOUR sunscreen reapplication guideline is two hours of EXPOSURE, not on a stopwatch.
That said, the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests you should reapply sooner if swimming, toweling, sweating, or rubbing of the areas to which sunscreen has been applied. So use common sense.
Commonly-encountered indoor light sources such as fluorescent, incandescent, and LED light does not emit UVA/UVB in such a fashion that chemical sunscreen’s efficacy will diminish.
What I Use
I cannot stand thick, greasy, pasty, smelly sunscreen. Unfortunately, that’s what the US is really good at…so I looked at what our skincare-obsessed neighbors to the east were up to. I ultimately adopted Biore Japan’s Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50 PA++++ for my face. Delightfully, even being imported, it is cheaper than many of our drugstore options here in the US. I order from a third party Amazon seller for about $10, shipped. Take that, Coola.
Biore Japan does a few other highly-reviewed sunscreens as well – Reddit is a good resource for community input on such things.
I think I have a ton of room to improve on this front. For now, I use this SPF 30 spray by Hawaiian Tropic.
This year, I plan to pick up a wide-brimmed hat. Hats are uncharted territory for me, so I’m going to keep it simple and inexpensive with something like this from Target.
Mommy & Me
Fortunately, a mid-April dermatologist visit of my mom’s resulted in a, “pass,” (no scary spots/biopsies needed). I haven’t had any concerning spots, either. Don’t be like either of us. Don’t let a scary diagnosis in yourself or a loved one scare you straight. Learn from our experiences.