It would be really easy to devote my blog entirely to sunscreens, and this month, it might look like I have. Here’s just one reason why: A few nights ago, when I was trying to make the products in my medicine cabinet, makeup bag, and shower caddy fit into a sandwich baggie for a research trip (to the country’s first Guerlain Spa at The Regent Bal Harbour—but more on this soon), I had to make a Survivor Island choice among my sunscreens. Which one would get to go spa-ing?
My daily moisturizer-Mexoryl combo with SPF 15? My cosmetically elegant, lavender-scented sunscreen with SPF 30? My shield of armor in a tube (AKA zinc oxide)?
I’m devoted to them all, and to wearing one of them everyday—thanks to all the scary research I’ve had to do as a writer on the topic. I vary them depending on whether I’m in the office, at a spa, or doing something that puts me out in the elements, in part, because I can never be sure just how much UVA protection I’m getting—UVA being the more sinister of rays. Ever notice that SPF (which applies only to UVB rays) is a specific number, but when it comes to UVA, all we get is the vague “broad-spectrum protection”? Isn’t that like saying, I was a good student, without providing my GPA?
Because it was 1 a.m., when all my packing gets done for an early morning flight, I just tucked in the one with the most contents, so at least I could reapply like crazy. But now I’m on a crusade to figure out just how much UVA protection you get in a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and I’ll share my findings with you as I uncover them. But wouldn’t you know it—it was raining like crazy in Miami for most of my trip, and with such dramatic lightning, it lit up my treatment room. Of course, I didn’t care one bit. It’s never raining in the spa.