EltaMD | Sunscreen

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If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. –Mary Schmich


A couple weeks after Norah was born, we were once again on the move, this time from Rota, Spain to Newport, Rhode Island. With our final few days in Spain we waited patiently for a flight and spent a lot of time outside. Being cooped up in a hotel for days made for some relaxing afternoons under a shade tree in the courtyard of our hotel. Jen and I would take turns holding our new baby while Ainsley and Clarke “ran it out” (perfectly lathered in SPF 100,000+).

Getting ready for dinner on one such afternoon, Jen noticed Norah’s face was very pink and thought she was having an allergic reaction. Her mouth looked kind of pale compared to the rest of her face. Confidently, I “mansplained” that she was probably just hungry and may have been sucking her binky too forcefully. Jen wasn’t so sure…

You guessed it. A couple of hours in the shade with a hat on and we’d somehow managed to sunburn our newborn baby.

I’m writing this post (and getting it out of the way early) because to this day Jen doesn’t like to think about it. You can imagine the internal referendum on our parenting we both subjected ourselves to but, I wouldn’t recommend it. Our helpless little babe. Wholly dependent on us for everything. And in our own best efforts to give her some fresh air, we sent her into the fiery pits of UV radiation hell with nothing more than a tree and hat. Both to and from the Emergency Room we emotionally abused ourselves. Not each other…but ourselves. A veteran nun couldn’t have laid on more guilt than we foisted upon ourselves. The doctors insisted; “Please relax. She is going to be fine. This is okay. Certainly not the end of the world. You clearly won’t let this happen again.” Didn’t matter. We could not be convinced we weren’t the worst parents that ever were or ever will be.

Several days later we eventually came to, forgave ourselves a little bit, and so started our pseudo-obsession and love affair with sunscreen. The FDA shares our love and put together this Public Safety Announcement:

This is not a sponsored post but, we also want to pass along a sunscreen product which my sister, a Physician Assistant who at the time was working in dermatology, recommended to us. I think she’s appropriately skeptical of the millions of products hawked by slick pharmaceutical salesmen but, this one we’ve really fallen in love with.


We don’t know anything about their “cleansers,” “moisturizers,” or “skin renewal solutions.” That’s a whole different post and one I’m not all together interested in. What I am into is their UV Broad Spectrum SPF 46.

A good sunscreen might not be as easy to find as you think. I suppose something is better than nothing and for the longest time, we were using broad spectrum, high SPF, but of the inexpensive aerosol variety. That is until my PA sister and her dermatology friends roundhouse kicked me in the face.


Evidentially, we’re supposed to be looking for the following:

SPF 15. Preferably higher. You can probably get away with stopping the “SPF Arms Race” at around 45 or so. Anything beyond is a supposedly a gimmick.

Broad Spectrum. A sunscreen that’s broad spectrum blocks both UVA and UVB rays. The risk for skin cancer doubles in people who have had five or more sunburns. Skin Cancer Foundation (Nov. 2010)

Lotion based. I really like the spray on. I always thought it gave us a more uniform coverage. Well, apparently without the lotion to rub into your kids’ skin, the spray evaporates before it has a chance to do its work. Stick with lotion.

Zinc oxide. Stable in the sun, won’t burn off, more sturdy than most chemical products, and easy on the skin.

The problem with these attributes is that they normally manifest in the form of Crisco’s gelatinous and unruly relative. Spewing out of the tube and guaranteeing the worst kind of greasy fingerprints on your sunglasses. “I’m supposed to squeeze this bizarre what out of where and rub it all over who?”

I think that’s why Jen and I are so hung up on Elta. Elta’s stuff, when applied, feels clean and light. In fact, after you’re finished, your hands feel like they’ve just been dusted lightly with chalk.

The Verdict: It’s damn expensive but, I’m happy to fork over my own money to pay for it.  Comes highly recommended from folks who know what they’re talking about and our personal experience with it has been exceptional. I really think it’s worth the cost. It’s not easy to track down as its sale until recently was relegated to dermatology offices. That said, I’ve linked DERMSTORE here as they seem to have about every variety. If anyone can find it for less we are all ears. Please let us know…we’ll make sure to spread the word.

PS – I’m just fine. IMG_6461

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