Let us begin by stating the facts. Everybody looks better with a tan. The sun, in all its skin-charring UV radioactivity, feels pretty damn good on otherwise office-shaded skin. And like any vice worth its satisfaction, it comes with some heavy consequences. But everything in moderation, right?
We're not advocating laying out beach bunny style, turning every 20 minutes like a rotisserie chicken. We're simply suggesting, go outside and get some exercise (and maybe a hearty dose of Vitamin D). Just remember to use protection.
"All skin types should use an SPF of at least 15, but the lighter your skin is, the higher your SPF should be," says Dr. Craig Austin, a Manhattan dermatologist with a summer outpost in the Hamptons. "If you have light to medium skin tone, you should use at least a 30, but preferably 45, especially during the peak hours of 10am-2pm." This way, you'll still get the benefits of the rays without all that pink, peeling skin afterwards.
Of course, SPF won't matter much if you don't use enough to begin with. Dr. Austin says that guys often forget to reapply (he suggests slathering on more every three hours). Wondering how much to use? The recommended amount is one ounce (see sidebar for reference). Which means if you've been using the same bottle of lotion you used last year, you're not applying enough. That, and it's likely expired.
For your face: Kiehl's UV Protective Sunscreen. Designed specifically for your face (read: no breakouts), this sweat-resistant SPF 20 is packed with the two latest advances in full spectrum UV filters, Parsol 1789 and Mexoryl. $32.50 at Kiehls.
For your body: Blue Lizard. Simple enough for sensitive skin, yet an SPF 30 for serious sun-worshipers. The fact that the bottle turns blue when exposed to ultra violet rays—acting as a reminder to reapply—is simply a bonus. $12, at Drugstores.
For easy spray-on application: Jack Black Ultra-Light Spray Sunscreen. Avoid aerosol sunscreens. You'll waste half a bottle misting everything around you. This pump spritzes a lightweight SPF 25 in a direct stream. Citronella and lemongrass essential oils make this a natural bug spray too. $18, at Getjackblack.com.
For your lips: ChapStick Lip Moisturizer. The classic lip balm has an SPF 15 and is infused with nearly a dozen moisturizers including aloe and vitamin E. $2 at Drugstores.
Forgot to reapply? Or maybe you uttered the famous "I never burn." Either way, now you're seeing red and wincing at the thought of actually putting on a shirt. "One of the best remedies is to make a cold milk compress and apply it to the burn," says Dr. Austin. "The lactic acid naturally draws out the heat, moisturizes the skin and helps to get rid of dead skin cells." If your burn's bigger than a hand towel, grab Korres' Yoghurt Cooling Gel, ($23.50 at Sephora), which works the same way. Keep it in the fridge for even more relief.
The top three neglected areas for sunblock.
Behind the ears.
The back of the knees.