Makeup Ideas


The best SPF skin saviours, plus the latest in skincare research


Karen Kwan reviews the latest in sun-protection news

“Melanoma is, luckily, the least frequent [of skin cancers]. It’s also
the most fatal,” says Dr. Beatrice Wang, director of the Melanoma
Clinic at Montreal’s McGill University. Unfortunately, it is on the rise. “We
get about 5,500 new cases a year. Twenty years ago, the lifetime risk
[of developing melanoma] was 1 in 85; now, it’s 1 in 70.”

Interesting—but questionable—science has emerged suggesting that more sun exposure, even from tanning lamps, may be good for Canadians. “Tanning-bed exposure would be very useful [to produce significant amounts of vitamin D],” says researcher Richard B. Setlow, referring to the findings of a study he worked on at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., along with colleagues in Norway. The research showed that people living well north of the southern U.S. border produce much less vitamin D from sun exposure than people close to or south of the U.S. border, especially in fall, winter and early spring. Vitamin D’s benefits? It’s been linked with protecting against certain types of internal cancers and multiple sclerosis. But, if you’ve already got your bikini on, ready to be zapped at your local tanning salon or on a Cuban beach, hold on to your Havaianas.

“Using a tanning bed or natural sunlight to get vitamin D is analogous to smoking cigarettes to lose weight,” says Toronto dermatologist Dr. Paul Cohen, explaining tanning lamps don’t produce vitamin D (UVB rays are the vitamin D promoter) and that they cause premature aging and skin cancer. “The real trick is a combo of vitamin supplements and some sun exposure,” he says. (Dietary sources are also an option Setlow proposes. And in June 2007, the Canadian Cancer Society announced a first-time recommended daily intake of vitamin D of 1,000 IUs in fall and winter.) But don’t mistake “some sun exposure” with a full day of tanning without SPF. “You don’t need a lot of sun to get vitamin D,” says Dr. Cohen. “In the summer, even while wearing SPF 15, 5–10 minutes of midday sun helps you make enough vitamin D.”

Melanoma strikes women most
often on the limbs and trunk. Those with lots of moles, fair skin and
blond or red hair are more at risk,
and anyone with irregular or changed
moles should see a doctor.

Besides this sunshine-vitamin research, exciting new findings in sun-protection science may mean you might soon be able to pop a pill for extra protection against UV rays.
Other news:
• Natural compounds—carotenoids, phytoene and phytofluene—may be beneficial in absorbing UV rays as well as protecting cells and the DNA against UV-derived damaging free radicals, both taken internally and applied topically.
• A nutritional supplement known as Glisodin has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the severity of redness from sunburn.
• A recent study at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City suggests it may be necessary to focus on appearance issues, and even depression, to discourage young women who habitually tan.

But while these advancements are exciting, they remain works in progress for now. The best ways to protect yourself are the tried and true methods we all know about: namely, sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. The question remains, though: why is it that so many of us take those sun-safety tips as seriously as the latest tabloid gossip?

“Because you don’t see the effects until 20 years later, [a lot of people] don’t heed the warnings,” says Dr. Cohen. “And a lot of time, people are under the misguided belief that, if your skin is not burned, it’s OK. A tan is about an SPF of 2—you’ve already damaged [your skin], and SPF 2 is not going to protect your skin a whole lot. Bottom line is, take vitamin D supplements and wear an SPF of at least 15 every day of the year.”

Editor, Karen Kwan


With so many sunscreen options to choose from, you’ve got no excuse not to play it safe in the sun this summer

Hydrate your skin and get 60 times as much time under the sun before burning by smoothing on Ombrelle High Protection Milk SPF 60, $18.

City gals, Clarins UV Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40, $40, will not only ward off UV rays but it also promises to shield you against harsh pollutants in the air.

A faux glow is the healthy way to get a tan, but daily sunscreen is still a must. Cross both to-dos off your list with Neutrogena Colour Boosting Sunscreen SPF 30, $13.

We love that Kiehl’s Abyssine Cream+ SPF 23, $62, helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and helps diminish the visible effects of aging.

Get back in the game in a flash with the sweat-proof, quick-drying Coppertone Sport Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 50, $10.

Protect your pout with the shea- and cocoa-butter-enriched Vichy Laboratoires Capital Soleil Lip Protection Stick SPF 20 with Mexoryl XL, $12.50.

Spend less time applying sunscreen (leaving more time actually in the pool) with waterproof Life Brand Sunthera3 Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 60, $12.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios High Protection UVA-UVB Cream SPF 45 with Mexoryl XL, $26, is gentle on your skin—its fragrance-free formula contains the company’s soothing thermal spring water—while also providing a super-effective barrier against UVA and UVB.

Spritz L’Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Solar Sublime Advanced Protection Conditioning Spray, $22, on your hair to shield it from the sun. An added bonus is the healthy-looking shine it’ll give your tresses.

Editor, Karen Kwan

For where-to-buy, see the shopping directory


What to look out for on your skin, plus ways to protect yourself

Melanoma typically appears as a dark mole—either new or changed. Know your A, B, C, D and Es of irregular moles.

Asymmetry: halves don’t match.

Border: jagged and uneven.

Colour: any change.

Diameter: greater than six millimetres, or a pencil eraser.

Evolution: any change, including itching or bleeding.

Take the time to protect your skin this summer—and remember sun damage ramps aging up to warp speed, too. Here’s a refresher on staying safe in the sun.

• That souvenir shot glass from your last Dominican Republic getaway? That’s how much sunscreen you should be slathering on to cover your entire body before you head out into the sun. Don’t forget to reapply every 2–3 hours, and use a waterproof sunscreen if you’re swimming. That means a typical bottle of sunscreen should not last you all summer.

• The shade is where it’s at from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Avoid the sun in the middle of the day—that’s when its rays are the strongest.

• Don’t leave the house without putting on a minimum SPF of 15. In fact, many dermatologists now suggest using a minimum SPF of 30.

• A stylish hat and sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection will protect your face and your peepers from UV damage (plus, they’ll make you look like an A-lister dodging the paparazzi).

Editor, Karen Kwan


Beauty beach picks
Stylish beach cover ups
Hot new swimsuits for summer