As we approach July 4, danger looms from every direction. Yes, you might blow your finger off with a pack of bottle-rockets, or singe off your eyebrows with a misfired sparkler. Or, you might be munched by a Great White as you paddle in the Pampers-laden brine off the Santa Monica Pier. Or you might overdo the S’mores Shooters–mmmmm!
But by far the greatest risk on July 4 in SoCal– and everywhere else the long, hot summers of climate change blaze mercilessly on– is the sun.
Those of us of a certain age do remember the summers of baby oil-basting on the tar beach of smoldering apartment rooftops and cement poolsides, admiring ourselves to the Top 40 reassurances of Eagles: “I like the way your sparkling earrings lay / Against your skin so brown…” Then there was the aftermath of stinging, the red remorse of Solarcaine, and peeling off the damaged dermis in long, rubbery pulls like demented string-cheese. Ew.
Experts everywhere agree that sun damage and skin cancer are not going away. Why? Possibly because sunblock products over-promise: topical sunblock is not enough, but the marketing claims make consumers feel over-confident. And, evidently people simply don’t slather on enough.
Dermatologists report that you need a tablespoon of product for your face, and a shot glass -sized quantity for your body– applied more often than reasonable people may think. Certainly if you swim. And if you sweat– just keep layering it on as the rays roast your hide. And remember, if your tube of block is older than 12 months, chuck it and re-stock: product potency fades on the shelf.
If the samba beat still calls and you just don’t find being pasty to be tasty, brush on Golden Sugar 2 Rose Gold, summer’s new Ultra Blush Palette by Revolution. It’s a sleek, flat black compact with a huge mirror and six sunny pans of densely pigmented bronzer. Two are matte (one cafe con crema, one mostly crema), a Mica-flecked gold and copper, and four pearlescent pinks. For the most plausible approximation of an actual solar bask, don’t cover your entire face; leave that kind of bronzing for Presidential nominees. Instead, use a large, fluffy brush to dust faux-glow where actual sun would hit your face: highlight center of the forehead, cheekbones, chin, collarbones. Killer add-on: Revolution’s new lipstick from the same collection, Chauffeur, a moist, earthy, pinky-brown in a gleaming rose-gold bullet. Carioca! The Girl From Ipanema sparkles on, UV-free.
Of special interest to golfers: adult males often experience skin cancer on the uppermost curve of the ear, since this area is exposed year-round, and often neglected when it comes to coating with sun protection. Shins and feet are also fast to burn when exposed at those Fourth of July clambakes.
The best defense: dedicating yourself to ultimate paleness, staying inside with the curtains drawn until the Winter Solstice, sucking down gallons of minted cucumber water. But short of that, prudent outdoor clothing is the single most effective form of sun protection. There is a reason that Bedouin and Berber people, for instance, drape themselves majestically from cheekbone to instep with deeply dyed robes. Yeah, it looks bad-ass and repels sand-flies– and it also saves your skin. That’s what I call really throwing shade. Just add jumbo sombrero and aviators for maximum security.
Betsy Johnson founded SwimZip, her SPF50+ lifestyle brand of swimwear and accessories based on personal experience: “Being diagnosed with skin cancer at 26 years old, I realized that I had been presented the opportunity to do something meaningful with my life and help others avoid my fate – and maybe even save lives.”
The line is made of ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) UPF 50 + SPV UV Protection swimsuit fabric, for women, men, boys and girls, toddlers and babies. The selection is rad: zip guard rash sets, long sleeve rash guards, board shorts, swim shorts, hats, bikini bottoms and tankini sets. The choices for grown-ups are utilitarian, and the styles for kids especially rock– check out the Shark Attack set for boys (long-sleeve rash guard top with shark-jaws emblem on the shorts) and Shark Feast boy’s long-sleeve romper–although there is no law saying a girl can’t wear it– a onesie featuring a fierce pattern and a single long, diagonal zipper for fast diaper-change on the beach and elsewhere. For girls who want to be girly, there are ruffles and dots in bright purple, coral and cobalt separates.