Every time my friend Lesa sees me in a low neckline, she points at my dÃ©colletÃ© and says accusingly, "You got sun!" Well, she's right. I did. But not this year. Not last year, either. Or the year before.
The reddish tone on my upper chest is my scarlet letter -- letters, actually, and they spell sun damage, accumulated over years of forgetting to apply and re-apply SPF to protect the fragile skin revealed by my clothing necklines. It's now older-looking skin, the result of mostly incidental sun exposure, and I didn't know it was too late until one day I noticed the redness refused to fade.
To combat the damage, I'm thinking about AHA and retinol creams and other anti-aging skin remedies, including laser. In fact, I wrote about improving the look of a weathered dÃ©colletÃ© for the summer issue of Best Health Magazine (p. 56; issue on stands now), and found out all kinds of interesting things, including that the skin on the neck and upper chest is more sensitive and delicate than the face, yet responds more slowly to anti-aging products. Sheesh.
To prevent further damage, of course, I'm more diligent than ever about SPF -- I once used SPF from a Whole-Foods store tester-bottle before a walk home on a sunny afternoon. Application subterfuge in the cereal aisle is tricky though, so now I always carry SPF in my purse, ready for any exposure. (You folks know that no matter what level of SPF you use, whatever you put on at 7am needs re-application before you sit in the park at lunchtime, right?)
Right now I'm into Cliniderm Gentle Protective Lotion SPF 45 ($29 CAN). Free of fragrance, dyes, parabens, lanolin, and formaldehyde, the formula is also free of Avobenzone, Octocrylene, and other chemical sunscreens. Instead it protects with micronized Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Micronized means that instead of a thick lotion that leaves a pasty finish, this one spreads really easily, smoothly, and sinks quickly into skin without any stickiness. (On darker skin, however, it does leave a sort of pinkish iridescence -- my Chinese-Jamaican cousin Nicole demonstrated for me.)
I'm tickled by how much safer I feel having SPF in my purse all the time. It's a bit like keeping a condom in the wallet, only I'm getting way more use out of this than any guy gets out of that just-in-case protection. Safety first.
Cliniderm care for sensitive skin is available in Canada at major drugstores and at Well.ca (free shipping in Canada; no minimum order). Image courtesy of Canderm Pharma Inc.
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