- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 10, 2007

Regular sunscreens can work on the face as well as the body.

However, there also are several face-specific products that anyone with sensitive or acne-prone skin might want to consider to avoid undesirable side effects that might detract from the primary goal — keeping skin healthy.

Some tips on choosing the right facial sunscreen:

{bullet} Those with sensitive skin should look for products labeled both fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, says Dr. Amy Wechsler, a Manhattan-based dermatologist. Those folks also should never slather themselves in something new without first doing a three-day test on a small patch of skin, she says.

{bullet} Anyone who is prone to acne should wear an oil-free product, says Dr. Wechsler, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation. Conversely, people with dry skin can use most formulas as their primary moisturizer.

“Sunscreens are pretty moisturizing. It’s great because it’s fast and one-stop shopping. It’s a little liberating. It comes off at night when you take off your makeup,” she says.

{bullet} Regular facial moisturizers or makeup with added sunscreen probably aren’t enough to offer full protection — at least during the summer months, Dr. Wechsler says. The SPF power of any sunscreen diminishes throughout the day, so she recommends beginning with a high number. An SPF 50 can be an SPF 6 by the end of the day.

{bullet} Mineral makeup with SPF can be effective; the key is putting on enough.

{bullet} Dr. Wechsler encourages using a separate stick product for lips, not because they work better but because people are more likely to use it.

“A stick is more cosmetically elegant, and it’s what we’re used to,” says Dr. Wechsler, who also is a psychiatrist.

{bullet} Color cosmetics can be applied over any sunscreen, bronzer or moisturizer with SPF without diminishing the UV protection, she says, but it goes both ways: UV rays can go through makeup if there’s no sunscreen underneath.

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