10 years ago by

“Check out this sunburn!” I said to Alex the other day. Despite all the products and application techniques that I thought I had mastered, I realized that when it comes to sun-proofing my skin, I’m still a little shaky. Take my trip to Bali, for example… I wore a bathing suit that I love (Later on, we have to talk about bathing suits with their little tags that say “Do not come in contact with sun products. Do not get wet…”)(???)(What are we supposed to doooo?) and I wanted too make sure I didn’t stain it and avoided carefully the contours of the swimsuit…
And ended up with the chicest type of red sunburn swimsuit contour by the end of the day.
So chic.
And it also goes to show that sunscreen only works if you know how to put it on right.

So we decided to ask an expert all of our “sun” questions. We learned some good stuff, like the whole thing about wearing a hat all the time, but lots of other interesting things too. Here’s what she said! I send hugs and let’s keep this summer rolling!!!

30 is the magic number. For an everyday sunscreen, we recommend an SPF 30 that is broad-spectrum. It will ensure really good coverage. There is little difference between SPF 30 and SPF 100. Once you go below 30, it starts to drop off.

UVA vs UVB. There are several different types of ultraviolet rays that come out of the sun. The ones that get down to us here on earth are Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB). UVB are the classic rays that can burn the skin and they are very well blocked by sunscreen. UVA rays don’t burn the skin but they age the skin, cause brown spots and can also cause skin cancer. Sunscreen only blocks partial UVA rays. You should be using sunscreen but also wearing a hat, sunglasses, and going in the shade because sunscreen is not 100%.

Hats are key. They not only protect your scalp but your face, neck and chest. A hat is wonderful for protecting against UVA. Sunscreen is good but a hat is much, much better. For under the eyes, the best protection is a pair of sunglasses.

Reapply. It all depends on what you’re doing. If you’re at the beach, the pool, doing outdoor activities and sweating, you want to reapply frequently, every 2-3 hours. If you’re just out during the day, maybe running errands, apply in the morning and again in the afternoon. The most often missed spots are the ears, the neck and chest. People tend to forget these parts when they are out of the day and they get a lot of exposure.

Protect your lips. Don’t forget your lips. Women are often protecting their lips because they are wearing a gloss or balm, but men forget. Make sure you are putting something on your lips with a sunscreen. Lips get a lot of sun exposure and are a very high risk area for skin cancer. Skin cancer on lips is more aggressive and more dangerous than what we see on other parts of the face.

Powders and sprays. I love powder sunscreen on the face for women. You can reapply throughout the day, it looks like makeup, its fantastic. I use it myself, they have great coverage. I use Colorscience, it’s the best one.

Sunscreen sprays are convenient but you have to be very careful with application. You should apply a spray indoors but no one wants to because of the smell so they do it outside and it blows away in the breeze. You aren’t always getting the coverage that you think.

Sensitive skin. People with sensitive skin should always look for products that either have zinc or titanium, or both. It’s very easy to find these products because you just need to check the label for active ingredients. Under active ingredients it should say zinc, titanium or both. If it says anything else, put it back on the shelf, even if it says it’s a sensitive skin formula.

Treating sunburns. Your skin is going to be hot and painful, so you want to cool the skin. Take a cool bath and use a pure aloe gel which cools the skin and acts as an anti-inflammatory. You should drink a lot of water because a sunburn is very dehydrating.

For peeling, use a light, non-fragrant moisturizer, like a Cetaphil. It’s going to peel no matter what, but don’t help it along. Treat it gingerly.

Tanning beds. Sun exposure and UV exposure from a tanning bed is all cumulative. Although you can’t erase what’s been done in the past, you can reduce what is happening now and in the future. A lot of people make the excuses that the damage is already done, so they are going to keep getting a tan. Every time you expose yourself it increases your risk of skin cancer. Don’t think that the damage is done and that it gives you a free pass to go in the sun.

Stay safe. Don’t rely solely on your sunscreen, it’s just one part of your sun protection program. You want to avoid the sun between 10am and 2pm, wear a hat and sunglasses, cover up the best you can and seek shade. Get into the habit of doing a self skin exam once a month. Check yourself head to toe and if you notice any moles or anything changing, bring it to your doctors attention.

Recommended products…
For the body, CeraVe Body Lotion SPF 50. It’s great. It’s just zinc, so even people with sensitive skin can use it.
For the face, La Roche Posay Minerale, comes with or without a tint. It works for those with sensitive skin.

Thank you Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi for all of the advice!


Add yours
  • sarah L July, 22 2013, 9:09 / Reply

    I get so freckly and my skin reacts to the sun super fast… No matter what I try! I swear I think I’m going to start taking an umbrella out in the sun like those crazy looking but smart and with perfect skin ladies.

  • i wear sunscreen when i go out in hot summer sun :)

  • Such great tips, I always forget to reapply.


  • Wow elle est super jolie cette fille…

    Et oui vice les beaux jours! … Demain soir hangout avec Garance Doré! ;p

  • Thanks for some great information and for bringing more awareness to this very serious issue. I’ll definitely take sun protection much more seriously now. And I love the excuse to start wearing hats!

    Any advice on what kind of sun protection we should look for in sunglasses? (I know, you give a mouse a cookie and he asks for a glass of milk… It’s just so much more fun when the info comes from you!)

  • WHERE are those insane gold aviator sunglasses from?? They are too gorgeous.

  • Très bons conseils, il y a toujours quelque chose qu’on oublie et on se retrouve avec un coup de soleil!

  • By far the very best sunscreen I have ever used is Supergoop 30. No burn , a little tan. You have it pictured with your model-would highly recommend it to everyone-and do! I’m fair and have had moles removed due to dangerous changes in them…

  • Conseil d’une brésilienne très habituée au soleil et à la plage: le matin, avant de partir pour la plage, on passe une couche d’écran solaire très puissant toute nue, AVANT d’enfiller son maillot de bain, partout dans le corps, comme si c’était une crème hydratante. Comme ça, pas de risque de brulures aux contours, comme celui que tu décris.

  • As most surfers, me with 25+ years exposed to the sun at salt water and average of 4 days a week for 2 or more hours I strongly recommend the Shiseido 50+ ultra water proof. it is a little too white on, but there is nothing better in the whle world, Pro surfers choice.

  • carole July, 22 2013, 6:44

    I agree Shiseido great protection

  • Justine July, 22 2013, 10:12 / Reply

    Ha je connais l’effet coup de soleil (non prévu au programme) tout près du maillot de bain qu’on a pas voulu abimer… ! C’est vraiment horrible parce qu’après quand le maillot bouge un peu ça fait mal et en plus on devient bicolore.. Bref, merci pour ces précieux conseils je pars dans une semaine donc ça va bien me servir :D

    Bises bises

  • Anne So July, 23 2013, 8:47

    Tricolore même si tu comptes le “hâle léger”, le coup de soleil et la partie complètement protégée par le maillot ! (Ca sent le vécu aussi hein…)

  • personaly i wear hat in summer
    and i make it also !

  • We must try to always protect us from the sun, for example, I use the SPF 30 before and then SPF 15 … Praise Dior who sent me the sunscreen for this summer! ;)

    With love
    Elisa – My Fantabulous World

  • Also, note that aerosol sunscreens can occasionally light on fire! Especially if you’re close to grills, etc. Better to stay with the regular stuff, even if it’s a bit more of a pain to apply.

  • Johanne July, 22 2013, 10:28 / Reply

    Zut je pensais que les horaires dangereux c était de 12 a 16 h ? C était peut être une technique maternelle pour nous obliger à faire la sieste?

  • Et pour les peau noires, doit on aussi se protéger? Certain docteurs disent que si notre peau n’est pas exposée au soleil toute l’année, par exemple pour celle qui vivent en Europe, l’application de crème solaire est nécessaire car même si il est rare, le cancer de la peau touche aussi les personnes de couleurs. Je ne sais jamais quoi en penser….

  • Very interesting. Great day.

  • Beautiful photo!! I always wear a hat in summer and SPF50 in my face…I has a ultra pale skin!

  • I love that hat!!! I just bought a new one :)

  • I went out in Denver yesterday at midday and walked through downtown. It was hot and not a cloud in the sky. I wore a big hat and sunblock. I estimate that less than 10% of the hundreds of people I saw wore a hat and those that did wore a baseball hat, which doesn’t protect your ears. Yes, I got a skin cancer on the top of my ear! It happens and wearing a hat with a brim is important. I hope fashion bloggers can help by making hats more popular and trendy. Thanks for the post.

  • I’ve done some research on wearing sunglasses and summarized it in this post if you are interested.

    A couple of things to keep in mind:

    – Even if it seems cloudy out, the UVB level might be very high and harmful for your eyes, you can check the UVB daily forecast online now (how cool is that? :))
    – Start early i.e. get some sunglasses for your little ones
    – And last but not least, make sure your sunglasses have 100% UV protection (both UVA and UVB rays)

    also included is a cute diagram from the dermatology online journal showing when hat, sunglasses, etc are needed.


  • FANTASTICOS consejos ,gracias.
    Un beso.

  • j’ai toujours pensé qu’il ne fallait pas s’exposer entre 12h et 16h ..

  • rachel July, 22 2013, 2:50 / Reply

    Always apply sunscreen while you are naked, let it dry, THEN put on your bathing suit! It gets all bare skin covered but will protect your suit. Then just re-apply very carefully around the edges. I have a huge swim collection and never get any of them stained since I started doing this. Oh, and I have found that Clarins brand sunscreen stains the most, so stay away from it!

  • J’habite dans le sud de la Floride et fuis le soleil constamment. Sun block et lunettes sont de rigueur mais j’ai du mal avec le chapeau car, avec la chaleur, j’ai les cheveux plaques et humides !

  • Toujours de supers articles, j’adore ton blog :)

    New post on my French blog:

    Rain boots + Paris long tee-shirt :)

    Bisous bisous !!!

  • J’ai des allergies solaires, c’est le genre d’allergies qui ne donnent pas envie de plaisanter avec les rituels solaires (malheureusement insuffisant, je dois prendre des cachets qui pourraient assommer un cheval pour ne pas être touchée par ses foutues allergies).

  • Je pensais aussi que les horaires à proscrire étaient de 12h à 16h, ce n’est pas ça?

  • Another thing to do if you have a bad sunburn… Soak a towel in tepid water that’s 3 parts water 1 part vinegar (cider/white any vinegar will do) and lay the drenched towels on the burn. It takes a lot of the heat out and helps alleviate the pain so you recover a lot faster! It feels great too just a little stinky :-p

  • Carole July, 22 2013, 6:40 / Reply

    i am lucky i tan…i come with a arsenal of tanning lotion…different #s for different body parts…shiseido has a very strong sun block great for under eyes tip of nose.lips knees chest bone shoulders all those parts that stay in direct sun…i use St Barthe sun products…Australian Gold…and my favorite Bain de Soleil orange gelee #4 i love the fragrance It take me back to the summer at the beach when i was 10 and discovered this gelee….

  • Carol Vilas Boas July, 22 2013, 7:36 / Reply

    Adding one more tip (direct from the tropics): is always good to apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure. This ennables the chemicals to work and give their full protection for when you´re actually under the sun.

  • Could not wait for this article after you teased it last week! I’m obsessed with skincare, so sunblock has been folded into my obsession. My grandmother always told me that if I took care of my skin, I wouldn’t need makeup since beautiful skin would be my best accessory. Now I don’t wear makeup, but direct that money toward good quality sunblock. Since I live in California, I’ve noticed this year that even when it’s been freezing in the winter, the sun is still out, so I have a hat with me more often than not. After reading this advice, I think it’s practically giving me the go-ahead to buy more hats, right?

  • Where I’m from the sun is very fierce because of the hole in the ozone layer so I often find people are way to casual about protecting themselves from the sun. I think it’s great you’ve been doing articles about it!
    The best product I’ve used is called Skinnies – its gel based so is completely water (and sweat) proof and because you only need a tiny amount per application so its great for travel. –
    I’m not sure if they have started stocking internationally or not though.

  • I wish you’d have posed this a week ago. I just returned from a lovely holiday in the sun and I’m ‘crispy’. I’ll listen to your advice for the next holiday, although I think I’m going to stay away from the sun for a while…

  • Leonie July, 23 2013, 2:38 / Reply

    Hi Garance
    I live in the top end of Western Australia and the sun is very, very strong, as it is in Bali. We often have days of 45-50 Celsius and it is therefore necessary to wear sunscreen every single day… even in the middle of winter. I wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without 50+ sunblock and it is necessary to reapply it during the day, even though I work in an office. Australians have a reputation for being bronzed sun-lovers however that has changed dramatically over the past few years. The risk of skin cancer is just too great!

  • Hedwig July, 23 2013, 3:32 / Reply

    Thanks for bringing up this issue! And perfect timing too, it’s going to be 30 degrees (Celcius) out here today (in The Netherlands! unreal.)
    I’ve been on the lookout for a good summerhat for a while, but this defenitely motivates me to search harder, and maybe make my budget for it a little bigger. Thanks for reminding me how important it really is.
    The only thing I would’ve loved to know is why people with sensitive skin need zinc and titanium. I believe it, but I always like to know why. I’ll just google it know, but getting it from a source I trust (I love the fact you got an expert for this) would’ve been really nice,
    Other than that, I think people often forget to protect their hands! They don’t burn easily because they’re used to being exposed, but they still get damaged (from the UVA! I love that I now finally know what is what with the whole UVA/UVB thing). My mother has the beginnings of skincancer on her hands which has kind of freaked me out. I now never leave the house without putting a thick layer of sunscreen on.
    Another tip for the beachbums amongst us who can’t afford renting a parasol (or do you call it an umbrella? A sun-umbrella? Ok I just hope everyone knows what I mean) every time is to just buy one. It’s a small investment that is well worth it. Last week I took one to the beach, which I hadn’t done in like, ten years, because I thought it was such a hassle (it’s not! I just propped it under my arm and biked to the beach without any problems) and it really made everything better. I didn’t burn at all (which I always do – I’m a ginger), I didn’t get all lazy and cranky from the heat, my bottle of water stayed sort of cool (read: it wasn’t boiling hot like it usually is), etc. Best decision ever. And a good parasol can last for many, many years, so it really is worth the money. (Ok now I feel like a saleslady, but just take my word on this. Parasols are the best invention ever.)

    And again: thank you for bringing this up and educating us on this superimportant matter.

  • lavinia July, 23 2013, 4:00 / Reply

    I have olive skin but I burn like everyone else. I am soon tanned but I use 50 for face and 30 for body. I never take straight sun (always under an umbrella or I use a hat and I’m 49 with no wrinkles – not one! I love powders for my face after the sun (SPF 30 or 50) I use Arval (swiss), under the sun spray for my body (30) and cream for my face (50). Due to my age I risk dark spots and I no thanks :) The best way to take sun is slowly (even if you only have a week off)!

  • Andrea July, 23 2013, 4:03 / Reply

    Honnêtement, partout où je vais, je suis la seule installée à l’ombre…avec écran total =>aucun problème de peau à signaler.

  • Nicole July, 23 2013, 7:30 / Reply

    Hi Garance
    I second one of the ladies suggestions – I shower, then sunscreen very liberally all over. I wander around the house naked packing my bag for the beach. Twenty minutes or so later and I put on my bikini. Works a treat every time. I’m off to Bali in September. Would you please share your favourite restaurant over there?

  • I loved it!
    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:

  • One tip, and I used this ALWAYS if I get burned. Natural yogurt. That is all you need. You slather it on your skin, let it dry and then gently wash off. Do it until the heat of the skin is gone. The next morning, you are no longer red and nothing hurts. A little remedy from the parents home land. It is brilliant and better then ANY product out there on the market.

  • Je n’ai jamais mis de crème solaire car je pensais que ma peau était un peu plus forte ( j’ai la peau noire ) ! Je commence quand même a avoir des doutes … Est-ce que tu penses que je devrais prendre un Indice inférieur à 30 ? Ou supérieur ?

    Merci d’avance pour ta réponse ;)



  • J’ai trouvé une solution, pr moi qui ai la peau blanche et ai super peur des coups de soleil et rides prématurées: je ne bronze pas :-)+ ma crême pr le corps n’est autre qu’un baume solaire nourrissant spf 30 + ma crême visage est spf 15 (pas trouvé plus pr le moment mais je rajoute qd j’en ai besoin). Et voilà….parfois je me sens un peu seule ds ma blanchitude mais bon….

  • Just a quick note: I read that UVB rays are the only one to promote D vitamin synthesis in our body, so you should expose yourself without sunscreen in the “bad” hours (around midday) at least for 15 minutes a day to avoid ostheoporosis (at least in Europe). Also my mother was told so by her doctor (she has really bad ostheoporosis).
    I don’t know how we are supposed to find a balance between this conflicting medical advice: sunscreen-no sunscreen and so on. It’s a mess.

  • Sunscreen powders have seemed the most convenient for me as well!
    But I recently read this on EWG’s website (they have a guide for the safest sunscreens on the market):

    “EWG does not recommend powder and spray sunscreens because of concerns about inhalation. The FDA is reviewing safety and efficacy data for sprays. In its 2011 sunscreen rules…the agency decided that powdered sunscreens should no longer be sold under the current over-the-counter sunscreen rules and should be subject to the more rigorous new drug application process (FDA 2011a,b). However, small manufacturers were allowed an additional year to comply with the rules (FDA 2012).

    EWG is especially concerned about inhalation of nano-sized and micronized zinc and titanium in powdered sunscreens and makeups. Inhalation is a much more direct route of exposure to these compounds than skin penetration, which appears to be low in healthy skin. “

  • Gaëlle July, 30 2013, 2:07 / Reply

    Zut, la poudre Colorescience ne se trouve pas hors des USA… :-(
    J’aurais bien testé !
    Perso, en été, c’est écran 50 sur le visage tout le temps, même en ville, et j’utilise celle matifiante d’Eucerin.

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