The Irish Girl’s Guide to Sunscreen

Written by Ashley

On my recent 14 hour drive to Charleston, SC, I had some precious cargo in my rental car. Awesome friends, beach towels for days and days of beach, and 14 bottle of sunscreens.  Insurance that I would be tan-line free and that my ass wouldn’t be burnt to  crisp on the 14-hour drive BACK to NYC was key, as I have  finally was able to come to terms with my Irish heritage, my pale skin, and my need for a cabana boy (or a best friend) to apply, re-apply, and then re-apply again. I’ve been a lobster-skinned Mc for way too long.


Skin Medica’s Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+: A high SPF 50 with a seriously lightweight feel, Skin Medica is the solution for those perpetually scorched areas. In my case, areas that aren’t exposed too often like the back of my legs, booty and lower back were covered in this stuff, as well as my shoulders and back for the days on vacay that involved many hours of frolicking in the water, beach volleyball, or a run on the beach. Containing a patented ingredient called UV ProPlex to help uniformly distribute the sunscreen on the skin, I felt nothing but protected, and was able to sit without a sizzled booty after a day at the beach for the first time in a while.  [Contact your physician ]

Lavanila’s  the Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40: A highly nourishing and safe alternative to chemical-laden formulas, the Healthy Sunscreen is developed with all natural ingredients great for the face and chest. A thicker formula that rubbed in easily, I was super happy that it was suitable for my sensitive skin with its 100% natural, chemical and fragrance-free, ultra-sheer formula. [$28 Sephora.com]

Now on to my SPF 30 trio of terror:

First Aid Beauty’s 5-in-1 Face Cream not only feels delicious, but it provides your cheeks with the 5 most important things to keep your skin lookin’ fresh: prevents and visibly reduces wrinkles, brightens and corrects uneven skin tone, filters harmful UVA/UVB rays and protects against photoaging while it combats free radicals. It don’t get not betta than that! [$38 FirstAidBeauty.com]

Oil-Free Lancaster SPF 30 Milky Spray is the only spray on my list because it’s an amazing PUMP spray. Aerosol cans creep me out, and make me think of Aqua Net. This stuff went on to create a super soft skin, and its oil-free formula prevented any breakouts while I spent the early morning on the beach nursing my hangover with coconut water & light beats coming from these adorable mini iHome speakers.  I was pleasantly surprised by the light scent, and smooth formula with Clever Tan TechnologyHeliotan complex, which hydrates and protects skin from dehydration, dryness and flaking. A unique calming complex soothes and comforts skin that has turned in to my newest obsession.

For all over TOCCA’s SPF 30+ Stella Towelette was an overall success, keeping these in the glove compartment without the worries of melting creams.  A slightly sweet Italian blood orange scent is intact to alleviate unpleasant sunscreen odors for your outdoor weddings, polo matches or picnics when you smooth on these travel-friendly towelettes, each saturated with hypoallergenic SPF 30+ sunscreen, Vitamin E, B5, aloe and marine silk. I will definitely be taking on the plane that I will definitely be taking back to visit SC. 14-hour car rides are fun the first time around, let’s not ruin the charm, shall we? [$28 Tocca.com]

And finally, the tech-savvy UV conscious chick (with an iPhone) needs this. No question.

Coppertone MyUV Alert iPhone app

Coppertone’s new MyUV Alert™ iPhone application Photo: AP

I made my gal who rocks an iPhones download this for its ability for us to set our own sunscreen profiles, get weather & UV ratings and get personalized sunscreen tips just by entering our zipcode. All the way from Coney Island to South Carolina, we were in the know about where UV rays were at their worst, helping me decide what caliber SPF we each should personally reach for, with a reminder setting for reapplication going off every time we  needed to reapply.  [iTunes]

About the author


a fun-loving, twenty-something living in Brooklyn. She spends most of her time absorbing all the life, tofu and whiskey that NYC has to offer. Her current obsessions? BDG High-waisted leggings, vintage boot shopping in Williamsburg, Katherine Kwei's sling bag and Melanie Marie's two-finger horn ring.

1 Comment

  • As a pure breed Scottish lass I know how you feel Ashley! I get sunburn at a fireworks display. However I hear that today many sunscreens including the SPF 50 are bad for skin and lead to skin cancer, says my chiropractor. He advised mixing crushed vit. C and a fragrance free lotion…now I had my doubts but it worked however it did need applied many times. IF a sunscreen sits till the next season it can actually become toxic stated my chiropractor, not being a doctor I am not sure if this is true but I can tell you I used my SPF 45 the season after buying and it lost all potency so I think there is some truth in that. I also found a gel with lidocane and aloe to be a godsend when I got a mild sunburn. I think it had 20% Lidocane but I would tell you it felt a wee bit like menthol yet not as stinky and the smell vanished, the aloe and almond oil made it feel amazing later when the pain reliever wore off. I now have trouble finding it. and it was in a big 26oz bottle. That did not loose potency the next year! Awesome stuff if you see it let me know the name and where to find it!!! Thanks. From one Red head pale lass to another!

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