Some face-saving hints for summer sun season SKIN CARE

May 22, 1991|By Valli Herman | Valli Herman,Los Angeles Daily News

Doctors were the first to warn that sitting in the sun does more harm than good. Now the beauty industry is following up with new products to protect skin and keep you looking more like a grape than a raisin.

While most heed the usual advice wear sunscreen, a hat and glasses to protect the face avoiding the damaging effects of the sun can be difficult.

Here are additional suggestions from doctors, vision experts and the Prescriptives and Clinique skin-care companies for keeping your youthful glow.

* When buying sunglasses, look for a new labeling tag by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). It can tell you the minimum amount of ultraviolet (UV) rays the glasses shield. The higher the percentage, the better, according to the Sunglass Association of America.

* Apply a generous amount of sunscreen a half-hour before sun exposure.

* If you are going to protect one area, always protect the face. Try any of the moisturizers with sunscreen for men and women. Max Factor makes a clear, light gel containing sun-protection factors (SPF) to wear alone or under makeup.

* A waterproof sunscreen is effective for about 80 minutes in the water or during strenuous exercise. Remember to reapply about every hour or after swimming or exercising.

* Only opaque substances such as zinc oxide physically block the sun.

* Watch your skin in the sun. Head for shade at the first signs of pinkness.

* Give yourself a skin-cancer checkup. Consult your dermatologist immediately if any of your moles have irregular borders; a diameter bigger than 6 millimeters; have one half unlike the other half; or are varied in color, with shades of tan and brown or black and sometimes white, red or blue.

* Don't give up on protecting your skin just because you tanned or burned a lot when you were younger, said Dr. John Epstein, clinical professor of dermatology at the medical center campus of the University of California, San Francisco. "Some of the damage reverses if you protect yourself."

* In general, you don't need a sunscreen higher than SPF 15, which screens out approximately 95 percent of the damaging rays. A higher sun-protection factor doesn't increase the protective screening much and may irritate skin, Epstein said.

* Sunscreens that contain para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) aren't in themselves bad, but the additive may irritate skin or stain clothing, Epstein said.

* Avoid the midday sun, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Wearing makeup (foundation) provides some sun protection. Dermatologists generally recommend makeup containing sunscreen.

* For particularly vulnerable areas, such as the nose, ears, lips, tops of feet, eye area and backs of hands, a swivel stick of sunscreen may be a more convenient way to keep those tender areas covered. Several companies, including Prescriptives, Clinique and Chanel, make the sun sticks.

* Remember the new standard of beauty: "Pale is beautiful," said Sheldon A.E. Rosenthal, an Encino plastic surgeon.

* Forget the old standards, illustrated by the ultratanned George Hamilton (who even has his own line of tanning lotions), America's Cup winner Dennis Connor (who now wears zinc oxide on his nose and lips) and former President Reagan, whose years in the sun helped create a cancerous lesion on his nose.

* Remember that tans fade, but wrinkles don't.

* Do whatever you can to help preserve the Earth's ozone layer, such as using non-aerosol hair sprays and styling products.

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