protection from the hole in the ozone layer

Writing from Sydney, Australia
(7:38pm Sydney, 3:38pm NYC)

I like to pack lightly when I travel, meaning what I can’t carry on stays at home (in most cases). So that means I’ve got to comply with TSA regulations and carry a clear quart-sized bag with all of my liquid toiletries each under 3 ounces in volume. I went to Whole Foods with the intention of picking up Badger SPF 30, but it only came in a 4 ounce (unlike the one sold here). But then I spotted California Baby SPF 30 (fragrance free). I had read that it was a safe choice according to Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep cosmetic safety database.

The ultimate test for a sunscreen’s effectiveness has to be under Australia’s beaming hot sun. After all, the hole in the ozone layer flirts with the Australian continent.

So here’s what I think about Cali Baby.

A little bit goes a long way. If you use too much, you’ll be white as a ghost. But if you rub it in good, there’s only a subtle whiteness. Zinc oxide is a physical sunblock as opposed to the chemical blocks which have in some instances been shown to be carcinogenic and carry other health risks. (kinda defeats the purpose, no?).

Bottom line: The stuff works. Yesterday I put it on my face and arms and walked around all day. Today I spent a couple of hours at the beach and it’s pretty safe to say my skin was unscathed by the powerful Aussie sun. I definitely didn’t burn and I’m not sure I got much color really. It is a bit greasy, so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyday use, but it’s great for a day at the beach or poolside.

Read more about EWG’s recommendations for safe sunscreens.

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