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  • Samantha Dawn

Sun Protection Favourites

Hello everyone!

I'm back from Cuba and I've missed you all! After a very relaxing week, I needed to write and I figured why not share what my sun essentials are, since I just went to an incredibly sunny destination.

I bring a few things to the beach, but the first thing I like to have and by far the most important is sunscreen. IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT! I cannot stress how important sunscreen is. You can forget a towel, flip flops, you can even forget your sand castle making kit, but if you forget sunscreen, you may as well go home.

Now a lot of you are probably thinking "But if I wear sunscreen, I wont get a tan! Without a tan, it doesn't look like I've been to the beach, and I wont look like I went outside and I'll glow in the dark. You can't tell me to put sunscreen on, imma live my life. I know about skin cancer and sunburns, I won't get that, my sunburns turn into tans" Let me explain why you need to wear sunscreens without showing a million pictures of cancer and sun damage so bad, it looks like they are bleeding.

Wearing sunscreen is important because you have one skin, right now, at the young age you are, your skin looks great, its firm, it's not wrinkly, and it's smooth. Without sunscreen, you're not only harming your skin, but you are causing detrimental long-term damage. Like old wrinkly leather bag damage. Essentially, the skin is super tan touching red, covered in sun spots, and looks as if it's never been moisturized. You wouldn't let a leather bag go dry and become ugly, why would you let your skin become old and wasteland for sun? The sun damage doesn't go away, and the more sun burns you get, the more susceptile you are to long-term damage that cannot be erased with a peel or gallons of moisturizer. We already go through so much with our skins, why would we purposefully burn and permanently torture our skin? That tan you are so proud of, is your skins way of saying "Umm, outch, why are you subjecting me to pain?!" It changes colour because it's having a chemical reaction to the sun in a bad way. Plus, afterward, if you don't moisturize, it's like saying "haha, enjoy your dry pain skin." I love the sun, I love being at the beach, but I love my natural skin colour the most and I rather not get a tan than have long-term skin damage.

I can't force you to apply sunscreen, but I highly recommend not further damaging your skin. So here are a few of my favourite sunscreens.

Neutrogena Clear Face lotion in SPF 60

I, like many people breakout from sunscreen that is not formulated for the face. Regular body sunscreens are not formulated for the face, if they were, the would clearly say "face" and not "body". The breakouts you get from regular sunscreens are a chemical reaction between your own pH and the pH in the regular sunscreens. The pH in the face sunscreen will work with your face pH and hopefully no breakouts will happen. If your face is still breaking out, I suggest testing the pH of your products and seeing where the problem is at. Your face pH should be at a 5.5 and you can find pH strips anywhere's they sell pool equipment and on Amazon.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch lotion in SPF 110

It's not exactly dry touch, but it's a really nice sunscreen. It's thick to apply and covers the surface of skin really nicely. It doesn't spread around like it's been watered down, meaning you have to apply enough to cover your skin. Which is the whole point of sunscreen! There is a face version of this as well.

Banana Boat Sport Cool Zone in SPF 50

I tried this on vacation and I loved the cooling sensation it had. It's not like rubbing an ice cube on your skin, but it's a nice sensation, especially when it's 30 degrees outside. It lasted about the right amount of time (approx. 1 hour and a 1/2, but that's pushing it) and was not sticky. Unfortunately, it only goes up to SPF 50 and there's no face version.

Banana Boat Sport in SPF 60

Okay, so when I tried this product, I loved the lasting power and the fact that it wasn't sticky. It smells nice and it also comes in SPF 100! I'll just mention that now it comes in "Powerstay technology" I haven't tried the new formulation, but overall, I did really like the original and I don't believe in long lasting sunscreen. A sunscreen is a sunscreen, you need to reapply. Also, there is no face version.

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Sunscreen Lotion in SPF 50

I love Hawaiian Tropic because it smells so nice. It smells like summer (coconuts and other tropical fruits) and the fact that this has a built in moisturizer is lovely. This one goes on really nicely and comes in a face version and there's an after-sun version!

Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion in SPF 60

I love the lotion because it dries really nicely. I also like the spray version, but I would never bring it to the beach. There is a lot of wind at the beach, and I'd say that most of the time, the spray doesn't land on the skin it goes in the air. Also, people don't realize that sprays need to be rubbed in and when it doesn't, the sunscreen doesn't work. It's in an aerosol can, which is the worst for the planet and it never get's disposed of properly.

I have not tried the following brands: Aveeno, Equate, Ombrelle, l'Oreal, Sun Bum, Life, Australian Gold, and anything else that's more than $20.

Things I've learned about Sunscreen:

- Lotion does work better than spray when you're at the beach or by the pool. I learnt the hard way that when you wear a light weight spray, your skin will burn, it also burns in weird spots and you constantly need to reapply. It's also in an aerosol can, which is so bad for the environment.

- You need to reapply every time you get out of the water and dry off. It's not water proof, no matter what the bottle says. It's also not sweat proof.

- The higher the SPF does not mean "the longer you don't need to reapply". The recommended time for reapplication is 80 minutes. Google it. SPF is simply helping your skin fight the sun, like a shield. So SPF 60 is a big shield whereas SPF 30 is a small shield.

- Apply 20 minutes before heading outside to allow for the sunscreen to absorb properly.

- Buy sunscreen on sale, use coupons, and don't buy the whole "oh it's $50 it's better for me". Sunscreen is sunscreen and if it's not working, then you shouldn't be using it. It's expensive at times, but so necessary. Skipping out because it's too expensive, isn't worth how much you will pay down the line.

- One regular sized bootle on vacation will last 2-3 days between two people who reapply about three times a day while they are outside.

Want to know more about pH and your skin? Here are a few websites I found useful:

Disclaimer: I am not a chemist and I have no degree in chemistry, I just found it interesting and it makes a lot of sense, so I thought you'd enjoy it. If you have questions about pH, ask your chemistry friends, family members, or go to a university and ask a professor.




The second part of this blog will be about other sun protection and things I bring to the beach/pool!

Thanks for reading,



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