Which Sunscreen is Right for You?

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First, let’s set the record straight

“But I wore sunscreen!”

It’s a line I hear every day in my office from a seriously tanned patient who insists they wore sunscreen; implying that the deep tan I’m seeing can’t possibly be an issue, when it is. The reality is that sunscreen is not perfect and in some cases I think it can even be harmful. It gives you a false sense of security: that it’s ok to bake in the sun all day because you applied a thin layer of sunscreen in the morning before you went out. The truth is that sunscreen is, at best, a last ditch effort to make it possible to live an active life while trying to avoid damage to your skin. Nevertheless, you absolutely need it.

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Sunless Tanners

sunless tanning creamSunless tanners are products that give your skin a bit of color without the need for sun expoure. They have come such a long way since the original smelly, streaky orange formulations. While the active ingredient in sunless tanners is still dihydroxy acetone (DHA), newer formulations have added bronzers, fragrance, and other ingredients to help them glide more smoothly over the skin so there is little to no streaking. DHA interacts with a specific amino acid in the outer layers of your skin and that reaction creates the color called a “tan.” It does not go beyond the outer layers of your skin.  Interestingly, the same ingredient,  is sometimes used to help create that golden brown look to bread that we eat- yum.

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