Do You Always Wear Sunscreen?

By Camille Styles

do you always wear sunscreen?The Right answer: I’m religious about slathering on my SPF 50 every day, rain or shine, regularly reapplying at 3 hour intervals and after getting out of the pool. Plus, I always wear a hat with a big brim to keep all those rays off my face! We’ve only got once chance to protect our skin, after all… 

The Real answer: Most days I wear a moisturizer and foundation with an SPF, and if I’m going to be out in the sun for more than 20 minutes, I might slather some sunscreen on my chest and shoulders. On really hot days, I’ll put it all over my legs and arms too, to prevent a burn, but I don’t usually reapply right when I should because, let’s be honest: I secretly want to get a little golden.

No doubt that my somewhat laissez-faire attitude towards sunscreen is going to send a few (hi, facialist!) into a sunscreen preaching frenzy, so let me start off by saying: I’m not claiming it’s a smart idea. I’m just being honest about the fact that I’m not always as vigilant about sunscreen as I probably should be, and I have a suspicion that some of you might not be either. Let’s note that I’m on the road to reformation: in high school, my best friend worked at a tanning salon, so you can be sure that I took her up on her offers for free weekly tans. In my twenties, I thankfully retired the tanning bed (gross), but that didn’t stop me from getting really dark during summers spent poolside. Over the last few years, my glow mostly comes from a bottle, but I can’t deny that during the warm months, there’s something just plain happiness-inducing about spending a few hours in the sun and coming in with some subtle tan lines and freckles across my nose.

The issue is muddied even further by a few of the studies out there that suggest wearing sunscreen can prevent the absorption of Vitamin D, crucial for bone growth and preventing all kinds of disease. While the argument serves as a good rationalization for us sun-lovers… it’s recently been debunked by most reputable sources (sorry, guys), and the only thing that’s really for sure is that sunscreen lowers your risk of skin cancer and premature aging.

What are your sunscreen habits really like? Are you a die-hard head-to-toe user? Or do you get lax with your sunscreen application, hoping you get a little bronze-y in the summer sun?

Also, if you have any favorite sunless tanning or sunscreen products that you swear by, I’d love to hear them. (See below for my faves in the “Shop the Post!”)

*image: joanne mckay