Like smoking, tanning makes you old, and fast. Exposure to UV rays will make your skin look like well-worn leather, a look that works for Greek fishermen and people who live on communes in New Mexico, but probably not for you. If you’re going to be in the sun a lot this summer, use protection.
1. Kiehl’s Cross Terrain UV Skin Protector SPF 50
For the man of adventure. It has a unique wax texture, which aids in resisting water and sweat. A generous application to your face and body will help protect against the most extreme of elemental damage, namely sunburn and windburn. $32
2. Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sun block Spray SPF 70
One of the most stubborn sun blocks you’ll find. Neither water, sweating, rubbing nor wiping will wear this stuff off. An SPF of 70 means you can go longer under the sun without reapplying. Hairier men should use this since it absorbs through hair quicker. $13
3. Dermalogica After Sun Repair
If you’ve spent a few days in the sun without proper protection, consider this your skin’s rescue cream. It’s enriched with seaweed extracts and botanicals to cool irritated and sunburned skin, as well as glycolipids, molecules that help keep skin cell proteins healthy. $41
4. L’Occitane Ultra Moisturizing Fluid SPF 20
A rich fluid that doubles as an intensive moisturizer. It’ll keep drier than normal skin well-hydrated and UV-protected for up to 24 hours, so long as a liberal amount gets applied every morning (or any time you’re out in the sun, for that matter). $40
5. LAB Series Daily Defense Lotion SPF 15
This one’s not as gloppy as most lotions, so don’t worry if it disappears quickly after rubbing it on. Guards against UV rays, as well as city pollution and smoke. If you live, work and play downtown, look no further. It’s also infused with antioxidants to help keep crow’s feet at bay. $50
Sunscreen vs. Sunblock:
Sunblock has zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (that white stuff your granddad puts on his nose before gardening). These components physically block UV rays. Sunscreens have chemicals like avobenzone, mexoryl and oxybenzone, which absorb UV rays (if you’ve got sensitive skin, stick to sunblock). Both will do the job, but remember: the lower the SPF level and longer you stay in the sun, the more you should reapply.
Fact: “Broad Spectrum Protection”: Some of the sun lotions and sprays you’ll come across will have this printed on the label. This denotes a higher quality product because it’ll guard your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. What’s the difference between the two? UVA rays penetrate the skin cell, causing damage, mutation and premature aging, while UVB rays burn the surface of the skin.
With thanks to Dr. Benjamin Barankin of the Dermatology Centre of Toronto