Monday, April 02, 2007

Giving Anthelios Another Shot

For Spring Break, I spent some time in sunny, beautiful South Florida. The official purpose of the trip was to celebrate my 21st birthday and my best friend Jess's 22nd birthday (hers was in late February, mine's in April) and we had a wonderful time catching up on pleasure reading on the beach, swimming in the ocean and eating the warm weather foods we haven't had in ages (I think I've had every possible combination of fish and citrus known to man).

Though the hardest decision we had to make during the past 3 days were where to eat for dinner, I was constantly calculating whether I had enough sun protection. As I've mentioned before, I'm very pale and on top of worrying about burning (I go straight from pasty to tomato in about 20 minutes) I'm concerned about my high risk of skin cancer. I knew I needed a very effective, long-lasting sunscreen that would hold up against 3 sun-drenched days, and I decided to take the strongest stuff available in the U.S.- La Roche Posay's Anthelios SX.

Long-time readers will remember that I first tried Anthelios in January and ended up with a terrible allergic reaction that left me blotchy and swollen for an important internship interview (I didn't get the job, so I'll blame it on the sunscreen). But my skin is no longer as dry and sensitive as it was then, so I hoped that I wouldn't experience a similar reaction this time around.
The day we arrived, I slathered myself head to toe with the Anthelios... and waited for the prickly, burning feeling that comes whenever my skin decides it hates a product. I didn't feel anything, so I looked in the mirror to check to see if I looked okay. No redness, no swelling, no blotches... score! I packed up my beach bag and headed to the pool. I tried to reapply every few hours after I'd gone swimming, and even though I wasn't perfect in my application, I was amazed to see that by the end of the night my skin hadn't darkened at all.

Update: It's been over a week and despite daily use, I still haven't had a problem with the Anthelios. I'm glad that I decided to give it a second chance and I'm even happier that I've found a sunscreen that isn't drying, greasy or irritating. It's definitely going to be my go-to sunscreen this summer and I highly encourage anyone who's concerned about skin cancer or aging to give it a try.


Anonymous said...

When I was in Florida a few years back I got a bad case of sun damage on my face and went running to the cosmetic counters looking for some relief. I met a couple of young ladies around your age that shocked me when they told me they had both had bouts with skin cancer...and that they don't sun at all. It really made me rethink my whole behavior about sunning. Now I go for the highest spf's and am just as vigilant as you at reapplying.

MeLizzard said...

This stuff is fantastic!!!! I've been acquiring it, um, unethically, for a couple seasons, as its active ingredient had not yet been approved by the FDA. My physician husband said he trusts the FDA, and he was waiting for my skin to fall off(!). I assured him I had done my homework, and low & behold, late last summer, it was finally approved for sale in the US. My skin is super-fair, nearly translucent, and this is the longest-lasting, strongest sunblock I've found. I have to mix it with a shot of moisturizer for my face, as there's a little sensitivity, but, otherwise, I couldn't be more satisfied.

Anonymous said...

Is the type you have stronger or does SPF 15 really keep you from burning in the Florida sun?

Meg said...

windwhisperer- Meeting someone who's in their 20's and has had skin cancer is very, very scary. But I'm glad that you're now sticking to vigilant sunscreen use, your skin will definitely thank you later in life!

melizzard- I've wanted to get it from Europe these past few years but I just stuck with my Shiseido SPF 55, which was great, but not totally photostable. It's good to hear that it's worked really well for you long term, because my skin is just as pale, I haven't gotten any color yet, so I think it's a good sign!

Anon- this is the exact stuff I brought, the FDA hasn't approved higher SPF's. But when you're judging a sunscreen the real factor to consider is photostability, NOT SPF. Even sunscreens with a very high SPF will break down and cease to continue protecting you after a couple of hours. With a photostable product, the sun can't break down the sunscreen chemicals, so you get much longer protection.

For more info, here's the Anthelios website:

and here's a Dermatology Journal article for more detailed info: