Real Girl Lifestyle

Skin is a battlefield

Posted on: April 16, 2010

And here’s your best defense.

By far the most common question I receive from friends and readers is, “What is the one skin care product I cannot do without?” I’d like to say botanical antioxidants, or the newest sexy peptide derivative or innovative collagen-booster, or whatever else is being marketed as the hottest new thing. But in truth, even with exciting new skincare discoveries popping up every season, the #1 must have is still a good facial sunscreen. Or even better? Several good facial sunscreens. SPF ingredients are like tank tops–totally hotter when you layer.

For that reason, this won’t be my last sunscreen post. We’ll get to chemical sunscreens in the future–and I’ll tell you why I think it’s best to layer a chemical sunscreen under a mineral one–but for now let’s focus on two of the very best sunscreen ingredients out there: Good old titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Unlike chemical sunscreens, these mineral ingredients do not absorb into the skin, and so they are less likely to cause irritation. They work by shielding your face from all ultraviolet rays–both UVA and UVB–providing a natural barrier through which these harmful, wrinkle-causing beams cannot penetrate.

Simply put, here is your armor.

And Clinique’s City Block Sheer SPF 25 has what it takes to fight the enemy. I was thrilled to see that Clinique listed the concentration of its active UV-fighters, titanium dioxide 7.3% and zinc oxide 6.9%. Go higher, and you will have to cope with the inevitable white tinge of these ingredients. Lower, and they’re just not as effective.

Clinique has compensated for this sunscreen’s natural whiteness by tinting the moisturizer. The slight, inoffensive tint would match well with most Caucasian skin tones, but you should know that one of the drawbacks of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide is a white residue. Clinique’s City Block is unscented–and therefore less irritating–and I consider the residue problem to be quite minimal with this particular product. What’s more, although the active ingredients won’t seep into the skin, the lotion does seem to, and so the initial shine after application absorbs to a silky finish. Even better, the oil-free formula contains quite a few antioxidants that will both minimize free radical damage and bolster the product’s ability to fight the effects of the sun. And at $17.50, you won’t be breaking the bank.

I would recommend topping off your delightfully City Blocked face with a powder also fortified with SPF protection. Don’t worry–I’m already on the lookout to find you the perfect one.


Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide for UVA/UVB protection

Apply last, over toner or other moisturizer, but under makeup

Excellent for sensitive skin, including rosacea

Beware if you are extremely prone to break-outs.


2 Responses to "Skin is a battlefield"

[…] in research and development to formulate a mineral sunscreen (Real Girl’s favorite kind, as you’ve read) that reaches their high standards of quality. I would like to be first in line to test that […]

[…] The silicone-based lotion goes on light and grease-free, so it’s appropriate for normal-to-oily skin. Those with drier skin will likely need to follow with an additional moisturizer. Of course, for day-time Real Girl heartily recommends finishing off with a good sunscreen. Perhaps even Clinique’s own City Block. […]

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