Shopping: No-Excuse Sunscreens

Five fail-proof ways to protect your skin.

Some parts of the morning ablutions are non-negotiable: Showering, brushing your teeth and applying sunscreen. So grab your coffee, then try one of these sunscreens— so useful, there’s no excuse not to make them part of your routine.

1 Excuse: I want to tan, so sue me.
For people who just can’t live without tan lines, California Tan makes sunscreens ($18-$20) designed to provide moderate protection while you’re sunning. Kahala Hotel & Resort, 739-8888.

2 Excuse: But I have a favorite lotion.
Dermalogica makes a Solar Defense Booster SPF 30 that you can add to your moisturizer or foundation. It retails for about $43. Heaven on Earth, 1050 Alakea St., 599-5501; Mani Pedi Spa, at Ala Moana, 949-0600; or Salon Bobbi & Guy, at Ward Warehouse, 591-6400.

3 Excuse: It will just wash off.
Honolulu-based Vertra Elemental Resistance spent three years developing sunscreens that can withstand water sports. Its Shelter Sun Stick ($21) has a beige tint, a visual signal that the SPF 38 is either on or needs to be reapplied. (The company also makes a clear version.) For store locations or to buy online, go to

4 Excuse: I’m office-bound all day
Even if you’re inside, skin-aging UVA rays aren’t stopped by a window. Try a daily-use formula. La Mer SPF 18 Fluid Tint ($65) has the company’s coveted seaweed moisturizer, plus a touch of color to smooth out skin tones. Neiman Marcus, Ala Moana Center, 951-8887.

5 Excuse: Late again.
Toss Shady Day wipes ($34) into your car or totebag, and keep on moving. These SPF 30 sunscreen wipes are easy to use, and contain yummy-smelling mango extract. Available at Belle-Vie 2250 Kalakaua Ave., 922-6600, or via


The message from the Skin Cancer Foundation is straightforward: Anyone over the age of six months should wear sunscreen daily. (If you’re under the age of six months, stop reading this magazine and crawl into the shade right now.) The foundation also helped debunk some common misperceptions:

Myth: An SPF 15 is high enough.
Reality: SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of UVB rays; SPF 30 blocks 97 percent. While that seems like a tiny improvement, experts say that if you are sun sensitive or have skin cancer in your family, that extra protection is worthwhile.

Myth: Using sunscreen can block vitamin D, and you’ll develop rickets.
Reality: Few dermatologists believe this, but even if it were true, you’ll get plenty of vitamin D in your multivitamin, and in foods such as salmon, milk, eggs and orange juice.

Myth: When it’s cloudy, you don’t have to bother with sunscreen.
Reality: Even on overcast days, up to 40 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation still reaches us.

Myth: Why bother worrying now? I’ve read that you get up to 80 percent of your sun damage when you’re a kid.
Reality: A newer study showed that a person actually gets less than 25 percent of their total sun exposure by age 18.