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A Hot Mess

Better, smarter, stronger SPF products for the summer.
A Hot Mess Better, smarter, stronger SPF products for the summer.

We think sun protection is so important, we did you one better: the list of our fave SPF contenders grows with the addition of not one, but two sun shields. Dermalogica's updated Solar Defense line and VMV's Armada Sport 70 are both serious fighters against the damage done by our hot, hot heat, and are the latest additions to our store spotlights.

The International Dermal Institute's skin care line Dermalogica ups its existing Solar Defense line, which is already, by the way, quite the hot pick, with products infused with UV Smart Booster Technology. How it works is almost inspiring: when hit by UV rays, photosensitive active vitamins in microcapsules are released onto skin for protection. The line's also a firm believer in the protective power of antioxidants like Vitamin C and E against damage done by UV light and free radicals, mainly aging and burning. Said to be as crucial as sunscreen itself, UV Smart Booster pumps out these potent active vitamins, fully encased by a special marine DNA microcapsule, till the moment they burst open to impart their anti-aging properties onto skin. At the same time it enhances the protective factor of the sunscreen itself.

Dermalogica also backs up their otherwise renegade approach to sun protection (What? No broad spectrum?); like the rest of their products, they concentrate on delivering prescriptive and personalized skin care solutions. They also nix the concept of SPF that smells invitingly like the tropics: artificial colors and fragrances are irritants and therefore, unnecessary.

The extensive line includes an Extra Rich Face Block, Multivitamin Body Block, Oil-Free Matte Block, Solar Defense Booster, Super Sensitive Face Block and the Ultra Sensitive Face Block, all with SPF 30 and four of which offer triple defense against sun damage with UVA and UVB filters and UV Smart Boost.

Cheaters beware: ultraviolet light bounces off surfaces (especially reflective ones, like that sparkling, powdery-white sand you so love), making hiding under that giant resort umbrella a moot point. And apparently, anything that emits heat and light can also cause melasma (pigmentation), meaning everything from a halogen light bulb, to a sauna, to your beloved idiot box can be a skin damaging culprit.

VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Sport 70 sunblock is a hypochondriac's dream: the literature on the tube is one of the most comprehensive we've seen, offering a veritable shell of waterproof and active-wear protection against a really wide list of factors: UVA, UVB, both indoor and outdoor sun and light sources (your computer or an open fire, perhaps?).

In addition to the SPF rating (which is for UVB light), they've also got a PFA rating (or “Protection Factor A,” for UVA light); PFI and PFV, which mean Protection Factors for Infrared Light (heat sources like fires, stoves or saunas) and Visible Light (bulbs, overhead lights and computer monitors), respectively; a Critical Wavelength rating, the length of protection that the product offers (they start at 378, over and above the FDA's recommended 370); and even a UVA:UVB Ratio, showing the product's protection between both. Whew!

Those who are looking for no-fail coverage, like all-day sports buffs, pregnant or hyperpigmenting women, or those who want maximum protection for their toddlers or young kids, benefit the most from the product's opacity; VMV claims that daily use of the extra-protective cream can help skin lighten naturally and even improve tone and evenness. And lest we forget, it's all in a completely comedogen-, fragrance-, and allergen-free formula, as with everything under the VMV label, so it's super safe and won't clog pores, despite the laboratory-ish sensibilities. And, well, it's SPF 70—for no sun damage worries, we're not complaining.

Whether you're in for some highly personalized, targeted sun care or just want it all, bless your skin-saving heart. You'll thank yourself in a few years—and what could be a better reward for all that work than having the healthiest, most youthful-looking complexion on the block?

Click here to see Style Bible's guide to summer.

—Eunice Lucero, Beauty Editor

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