Quite often we reference the importance of protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays. However, we have yet to discuss the best ways to treat a sunburn, should you be so unfortunate.

aloeveraplantSense + Soothe
If your skin starts to feel hot or tender to the touch, you are burning. Get out of the sun immediately. You may be tempted to reach for a spray that claims to be formulated for sunburn relief. However, if it contains benzocaine, your skin could have an adverse reaction. Instead, spread aloe-vera gel on the sunburned area. You can also soak a washcloth in cold black tea to help bring down inflammation or pour vinegar on the affected area.

Nourish + Nurture
Stay out of the sun for a few days and drink a lot of water. Your body can lose a lot of fluid when you are burned, so it's important to keep your body hydrated. In addition, you should topically hydrate parched skin by applying a moisturizer several times a day.

If you happen to peel, do not pick at it or try to scrub it off, as difficult as they may be. It will only make matters worse. Once the sunburn has subsided, consider using a moisturizer with Vitamin C in it, as this will help repair damaged skin cells.

Avoiding Future Sunburns
Planning to be in the sun for an extended period of time? Re-apply your sunscreen every hour on the hour to keep safe from UVA and UVB rays ... and from the dreaded sunburn. And don't forget those neglected body parts — feet, knees and ears!

In this video, you will learn what to look for in a sunscreen/sunblock and why ingredients are so important. Four products are reviewed here.
After just five sunburns, the risk for skin cancer increases dramatically. Think of the amount of time your children spend outside (or in the schoolyard) without shade to cover them. Also a contributor to the loss of a natural filter from harmful rays is the rapid disappearance of the ozone layer. Each year the sun's rays become more and more dangerous.

I was so happy to hear that Susan Posnick, a skin cancer survivor, put her passion into supporting the Skin Cancer Awareness Foundation’s Shade Across America program through sales of COLORFLO mineral foundation with SPF 26. The program, dedicated to providing sun protection for children, supplies shade covers to schools across the country. And many thanks to Susan Posnick Cosmetics for donating a percentage of May sales of COLORFLO. Susan says
The damage that causes skin cancer later in life occurs at a young age. Ensuring that children are not subjected to the sun’s harmful effects is essential to limiting skin cancer in future generations. Working with the Skin Cancer Awareness Foundation’s Shade Across America Program was a natural step for us.
I keep a close eye on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. Check out their updated list of sunscreens to consider. Badger and Blue Lizard ranked in the top 10, among others, receiving the best scores possible (0-2 low hazard). However, please do keep in mind that not all sunscreens have been reviewed by EWG, such as Theraderm, Dr. LeWinn's, Become, and DHC Suncut. Be sure to look for these ingredients when searching for the best sunscreen for you and your family.
In case you didn't know, this month is the month to get serious, once and for all, about protecting yourself from skin cancer - from this day forward. Only the best SPF should be applied to your face and body. No excuses people ... consider yourself educated. If you are not familiar with my position on sunscreens/blocks, read this article. I am an advocate of three ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and mexoryl (you will most likely see the first two ingredients combined). If a product doesn't contain one or more of these ingredients, I will not test it (and you should thank me for that). Yes, I am picky - but seriously folks, this is our skin we are talking about.

This is near and dear to my heart for two reasons. One, both of my parents are surviving cancer (my dad had skin cancer on his face, too). And two, proper sun protection is the best anti-aging treatment you can do for yourself, aside from staying out of the sun completely. It's a no-brainer. Love yourself by loving your skin. Protect it. So while I may enjoy my soap box on the topic from time to time, I am genuinely surprised to find that not everyone is aware of this. If you are new to the [my] style files community - welcome! Please take the time to read all the information provided on the site with regard to skin care. For you regulars, if you do not switch over to a real SPF in the next two weeks, I might have to pull my hair out (and I like my hair, so please don't make me do it). You know what ... I am going to give away one of my favorite bottles of sunscreen. It happens to contain 20% zinc (yeah). The consistency and texture will rock your world. To enter for the drawing, simply comment on this post (make it a good one). You can either agree with me or disagree ... all entries count. Proper sun protection is that important to me.

Everyone wants to know my pics. So here you go: Theraderm Platinum Protection SPF 30, Leaf & Rusher Solar Screen SPF 30, Blue Lizard SPF 30 (Baby formula is chemical-free and higher in zinc), Anthelios SPF 60 XL, DHC Suncut Q10 30+, Badger SPF 30, N.V Perricone’s Solar Protection. For mineral powder foundation, you must use Susan Posnick's ColorFLO SPF 26 - kudos to Susan for including zinc and titanium dioxide (and with good reason, read her article). I am also getting ready to test Become's Tinted Moisturizer with 9.9% zinc and 9.8% titanium dioxide in addition to Canyon Ranch's new skin care line, Canyon Ranch Your Transformation™, which includes an SPF with 6% zinc and almost 6% titanium dioxide.

I love when companies get it. It provides consumers with more choices. I encourage everyone to be sunscreen snobs. Quite simply ... because you can.
Those close to me hear me preach about the importance of wearing a real SPF all the time. You cannot deny the evidence. In the anti-aging world, prevention is everything. The fact of the matter is, chronic sun exposure hinders elastin production, resulting in saggy, lackluster skin. Even in indirect sunlight, the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays produce free radicals that deplete collagen resources and contribute to skin cancer and photoaging. To prevent sun spots, discoloration, wrinkles and fine lines everyone should protect themselves. Put age and previous sun exposure aside, no excuses...do it! And you've heard me talk about real SPFs...so I am taking the opportunity to fully educate you on the differences between sunscreens and sunblocks.

To quote from a recent site visit, "Sunblocks (physical sunscreens) are opaque formulations which absorb, reflect and scatter up to 99% of both UV and visible light. Because they are messy and may stain clothing, sunblocks are often used on such sun-sensitive areas as the nose, lips, ears and shoulders. Examples of ingredients in sunblocks are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Sunscreens (chemical sunscreens) absorb specific wavelengths (range of 200-400 nm) and are classified as drugs by the FDA because they are "...intended to protect the structure and function of the human integument against actinic damage." Sunscreens are considered more cosmetically refined due to their pleasing consistency and are, therefore, typically used over a prolonged time for effective photoprotection."

My view, hello...sunblock, of course. I will not purchase an SPF for myself or my family that doesn't contain an ample amount (7-20%) of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Just doesn't make sense otherwise. It is the one shield against aging...period. I apply my Keys Solar Rx daily to my face. For body, my family uses Blue Lizard.

Bottom line, a sunblock is stronger than a sunscreen. A sunblock contains chemicals that block the sun's rays by reflecting and scattering them - a sunblock acts as a physical barrier. Previously, only titanium dioxide was used. Now, manufacturers distribute smaller particles of titanium dioxide throughout the sunblock so that it does not create that "white lifeguard nose effect." So when you go shopping for an SPF, please think of me....and check out the back label. Do not buy anything that doesn't contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or mexoryl. Otherwise, you are risking the very skin that you live in.

Be sure to check out the Environmental Working Group's analysis of 783 different sunscreen products. Glad to see several SPFs that I have used, including the ones mentioned above, made the list (EltaMD, Vanicream, Skinceuticals).