In Part 1 of this post I talked about what Polymorphic Light Eruption is and how I came to be diagnosed with it…in this post I’m going to share some of my coping mechanisms…
This one is a no brainer, but when you have an allergy to the sun, it’s good to try to avoid it as much as you can. Since most of us don’t like to spend our lives locked up inside our homes, it’s better to be pro-shade, rather than anti-sun.
Prior to the 1950s, most women in the U.S. wore hats as necessary accessories. Closets were full to the brim with hat boxes! But hats are much more than a fashion statement–they provide protection from the elements and from the harsh rays of the sun. Most of my life I wasn’t a hat wearer, but I’m trying to turn myself into one. I wish the fashion sense of my great-grandmother’s generation would return…until then, I’ll happily accept the complements of (mostly elderly) gentleman who appreciate my fine taste in head-wear.
Did you know umbrellas aren’t just for the rain? If you don’t mind getting some curious looks from passers-by, the shade created by an umbrella (er, parasol) may be a perfect companion for a stroll on a sunny day. And yes, they can also become fashion accessories: Paradise 312E Exalted Potpourri Umbrella With Perfume, Anti-UV Sun Umbrella, Parasol Series
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are benefits to sunlight exposure and avoiding the sun may deprive you of those benefits. To make up for some of the Vitamin D I’m losing in my efforts to avoid the sun, I use Kirkland Signature Maximum Strength Vitamin D3 2000 I.U. 600 Softgels, Bottle. Of course, before beginning any new vitamin or supplement, consult your physician to be sure it’ll be beneficial to your health.
There is a lot to know about sunscreens and I am by no means an expert. I’m going to talk about some of the various brands I’ve tried while I’m still on the look-out for other healthy and cost-effective options. A wonderful resource to learn about the sunscreen you are using, including how effective it is and what health risks it might pose is EWG’s Skin Deep. You can search by brand and type of sunscreen and view their lists of worst and best sunscreens. The site also includes informative articles…I highly recommend it! As I talk about various products I’ve tried, I’ll include a link to EWG’s page about that product, if available.
Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion, SPF 15 So far this one is my favorite for everyday wear. It’s not too expensive and if reapplied properly, provides excellent protection. It also doesn’t make my skin feel greasy–a big pet peeve of mine when it comes to sunscreen!
Aveeno Active Naturals Hydrosport Sunblock Spray, SPF 85 I use this one when I don’t have much time for lotion-applying or when I know I’m really going to have to be out in the sun (have I mentioned my work sometimes requires lots of outdoors time?). EWG’s Skin Deep page doesn’t seem to be fans of spray sunscreens, so I try to limit my use of this one and apply when I’m in better ventilated areas.
Eucerin Everyday Protection Body Lotion, SPF 15 I wasn’t a fan of this one. Too greasy on my skin.
Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion Moisturizer, SPF 30 Not a fan of this one, either. Too greasy, again. I’ve relegated this one to my “emergency” lotion I keep in my car.
Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50 I bought this one for an event and intended to share it with others. It doesn’t get high marks from the EWG Skin Deep page, but for occasional use, it gets the job done.
I haven’t tried these myself, but my friend highly recommends:
Based on EWG’s high ratings, I’d like to give these a try as well:
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) clothing is readily available these days, but be prepared: it’s expensive! You can find it at sporting goods stores and on-line: Coolibar, REI, Athleta, and many others…
I recently discovered Sunguard wash-in protection and so far am happy with the results. It’s made by R.I.T., yep, the same folks who make the dye. You simply wash Sunguard in with your natural-fiber clothing in hot water and it adds a UPF factor that is supposed to last 20 washes. At $2/box (depending on size of load, you may need two boxes), it’s quite the bargain! I plan on washing my clothes in it 3-4 times a year.
Do you have any suggestions? I’d love to hear them!