Summer sun care update

My sunscreen of choice has shifted a bit over the past couple of years. I’ve got some strong and updated opinions kicking around, so I figured I’d weigh in and give a little update since it’s just now FINALLY summer-like here in Seattle! (Apologies to any of you who could have used this info in, like, May, what with the heat wave and all. We write what we know, and all I know is that it’s totally cloudy and overcast where I live right now.)

DEVITA. I still love me some Devita body block,  but my concerns remain about it being less apt at protecting (since the particles are soooo micronized and since the formulation is more like a lotion and doesn’t seem to stay on your skin in hot weather). So I like to mix this with other sunscreens, or use it when I know I won’t be out for long. What I still love is that it doesn’t make my pores feel clogged like many other mineral sunscreens do. It does still sting my eyes a tiny bit even if I just use it near but not right next to them—no one I’ve talked to knows why this happens, but it goes away after a bit so overall the benefits outweigh the ouch or inconvenience. Just wait a few minutes before you put on mascara! (Note: you’re welcome to spend too much on their facial formulation, but the body block is nearly identical and is much better value for your money.)


BURNOUT. The lovely ladies at EDS also turned me on to Burnout. I’ve tried their kids’ formulation. While it’s a bit dry, it doesn’t look as white as it comes out in the tube and its dryness is great at keeping oil at bay in the summer heat. I like to mix it with some Devita to thin it out and make it a bit more transparent. Sometimes I also mix in a little argan oil (I get mine from Garden of Wisdom, but this seems like a better deal) to try to make it more moisturizing. I recently used up the last of this tube (took me FOREVER, in a good way, and it stayed fresh ’til the end) so I’m about to order their sensitive formulation to see how that goes. I’ll update if there are any significant differences in how the sensitive stuff (blue writing and cap) seems in comparison.

O HUI. Back in the day I posted about O Hui’s compact powder sunblock, and I still love that stuff but only for REALLY intense sun days. The fancy little compact broke (waaah!) and the pale creamy off-white color does give me a very slight ghostly cast, so I only use it when I need extra protection and I also know my face will be sweaty/shiny—I brush this on instead of normal loose powder, and I use a short-handled very soft synthetic kabuki brush. Incidentally, O Hui seems like it’s getting a little easier to find online—but the only Amazon product I see that’s a powder sunblock is this one, which is described as being “white.” So no thanks. Still, seems like others will be able to share in my O Hui summer joy soon!

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MYCHELLE (BOO!). I was on a recent trip to Dallas when I was forced to pick up a tube of MyChelle’s facial sunblock at Whole Foods. They’ve reformulated this at least once (and probably more like 3x; WTF) since I last tried it, and it’s much worse now—it clogs my pores horrendously. I’ve been using it up anyway, but this blog post has finally inspired me to click through to check out on my Amazon order so I can get some better sun care reinforcements in, stat. The new(est) MyChelle is dry, chalky, and generally sticky-feeling without being sufficiently moisturizing. Like Burnout but without the benefits. It seems to protect well, but yech—I plan to use this as a body block and/or husband block (he won’t know better unless he reads this post, heh—the proof is in the comment, honey!) to use it up since it’s also quite pricey. Weirdly, this actually looks cheaper on MyChelle’s site than on Amazon’s. Either way, avoid!


Upcoming: ELTA & NIA24. Lastly (I swear), I recently received some exciting sunscreen samples. My awesome mother-in-law stayed with us for the past week, and she brought me a sample of Elta sunscreen that her fancy DC dermatologist swears by. The stuff is nice and chemical-free just like I like, but it’s also tinted so it hopefully doesn’t give that chalky cast (or WAY too dark and orange a cast, *ahem, Dr. Perricone*). So I’m excited to try that out soon! I also got a small vial of NIA 24’s sunscreen from the Amazon vendor who sold me my magical Peter Thomas Roth pads. I’ve heard good things about NIA24’s sun formulation but I keep giving away my samples to more excited skincare nerds—no longer! This one’s mine! (And I promise to tell you all about it soon.)

Aaaanyway, I hope you lovelies are all surviving the heat wave one way or another. Stay protected out there!

“C” a difference yet?

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I started using PSF’s Vitamin C Serum recently, after much hesitation. (I had a bad experience with a MyChelle C serum breaking me out, so I’ve been more than a little paranoid!) While I know it can take up to six weeks to really see (“C”) any difference, I can tell that I’m already quite happy!

First of all, I haven’t had any breakouts or increases in blackheads. Many users on EDS have complained of an increase in blackheads after starting a C serum, and I think the generally accepted theory is that the vitamin C oxidizes the contents of pores, which is what makes them look black. Thankfully, my existing blackheads are no, um, blacker than before, and there don’t seem to be any armies of new ones. So that’s a real relief! And I haven’t had any changes in breakouts, either. Whew!

Second, this stuff doesn’t sting or itch, and it’s not too sticky. The PSF serum is in a hylauronic acid base, and I’ve been worried that HA stung my skin and caused some sensitivity in the past. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem — even when applying over broken skin, this stuff does no harm. And it doesn’t seem to react poorly with my Retin-A, either, which is another relief! The texture is ever so slightly sticky after I first put it on, but this goes away by the time I layer on another product.

Lastly, I’m thrilled to say that I’ve already seen some tangible benefits, and not just a lack of harm. This C serum seems (“Cms”? Too much?) to do a better job of exfoliating my already-flaky areas than Retin-A alone. Case in point: I have a pimple that was rather a pain, and had broken skin and developed into a scab. Using Retin-A around areas like that almost always results in some major drying and big, ugly, peely flakes. But once I started using the C serum, that area seemed less prone to major flaking, and it seemed calmed down and desensitized quite a bit, and seems to be healing faster.

All in all, I’m thrilled! I don’t love having to wait 30 minutes after applying this stuff before I can layer anything else, and I also don’t love how unstable topical C serums are known to be. But this stuff is packaged very well — both the sample and the full-size come in a dark amber glass bottle with a glass dropper, so very little light or moisture can enter the container to spoil the contents, and there’s no way toxins in plastic could leech in. So I think I chose a good C serum, at least for now — once I use up my (very generous, as it should be at $10!) sample, I will decide whether or not to repurchase. My gut is telling me I’m going to take the plunge, but who knows — we’ll have to wait and C! (C’mon, you saw it coming.)