a melanoma survivor's guide to sunscreen.

a melanoma survivor's guide to sunscreen.

Full Body Coverage Lotion: Clarins Sun Care Milk Lotion Spray with SPF 50+
I normally hate spray lotions, but this lotion makes solo application nearly foolproof. It sprays out as a lotion, not an oil, so there isn't any weird mess. It won't blow away in the wind and it smells fantastic.

Summer Daily Moisturizer: Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Protection Day Screen with SPF 40 (tinted version here!)
The summer sun demands a higher SPF for daily use and this moisturizer did the trick for me. Not only is it super light, it didn't cause me breakouts like some facial moisturizers with SPF do.

Winter Daily Moisturizer: Clarins Multi-Active Early Wrinkle Correcting Lotion with SPF 15
I discovered the multi-active lotion {without SPF 15} in 2010 and fell in love. The incredible smell accompanies this impressive moisturizer, so it was a no-brainer to make the move to the SPF version when it was released.

Lip Protection: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 (eight other colors also available!)
Prevent the lobster lips with this easy, smooth lip treatment from Fresh. It is lightweight but provides fabulous coverage, which lasted much longer than other SPF lip protection I've tried.

Six years ago this month, I picked up the magazine which would forever change my relationship with the sun. With the help of Glamour, I spotted what a dermatologist would later confirm was a melanoma. {Read the full backstory here.} Since May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, I figured there was no time like the present to share a few of my favorite sunscreens.

Before I found my melanoma, I was an avid sun worshipper. I never burned. I wore SPF 4 {at max} when I was out in the sun. I went to the tanning bed regularly. I thought my olive skin was immune to skin cancer. After my diagnosis, I was shocked and scared about my future. I had to redefine my perception of beauty. Above all, I realize I was dead wrong about the sun in my teens and early twenties. 

My diagnosis meant I had to take a hard look at my sun care choices. It took some time to find products which made me feel safe and confident in the sun. I'm here today to share my field test. Though this post may look like it is sponsored by Clarins, I can assure you it is not. I simply think their products are worth the investment. I discovered the Clarins sun care line in 2012 and have been a loyal user for the last two years. I don't see that changing any day soon. Not only do I have sensitive skin, I have a sensitive sniffer--and Clarins passes both my tests. With their coverage and consistency, I'm easily Clarins number one fan.

If you're looking for something a bit more cost-friendly, the Neutrogena line is a trusty old favorite. My dermatologist carries samples of their products in her office, so it is nice to know proper sun care doesn't have to be expensive. If you're looking for ways to get the sun-kissed glow without the harmful rays, these self-tanners are just the ticket.

As a disclaimer, I am NOT a doctor or dermatologist. These sunscreens are simply my personal favorites. The one thing I can say with confidence is this: do not consider yourself immune to the dangers of the sun. If you haven't had a skin check recently {or ever}, do yourself a favor and book one before the summer sun really hits. 

Do you have any favorite sunscreens? Share what you love--and why you love it. I'm all ears! xoxo {av}
P.S. Don't forget about the sun savvy pledge Danielle and I created three years ago. You can decide today to change your habits!


  1. great tips! i just bought some neutrogena with helioplex (as recommended by h's friend who is a dermatologist) xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  2. Thanks for the tips! I regularly use the Neutrogena sunscreen, especially for running. Plus it doesn't smell half bad either!

  3. I've been on the hunt for the perfect SPF lip balm- I might have to splurge on the Sugar one you mentioned!

  4. I need to try that Clarins moisturizer because I'm looking to bump up my standard 30 SPF one. As a ginger I always have to a sizable SPF on at all times!


  5. Two new loves for sunscreen - the Coola Tinted one (organic and natural with SPF 30)

    as well as Elta MD, which is what my derm suggested to help with my terrible melasma: http://eltamd.com/product/uv-physicalbroad-spectrum-spf-41/

  6. Wow, your personal experience is an incredible wake-up call. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  7. Yes, sunscreen protects the skin. Thanks for the post share with us all.

    Skin doctor

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