Skincare Archives -

Fall Beauty Checklist: Don’t Ditch That Sunscreen Yet!

MD FormulationsSweaters and pashminas? Check! Boots and booties? Check! Sunblock? Check!

Wait, sunblock? Yep. Don’t put it away. The sun may be a bit shyer this time of year, so most people think this makes them less at risk for sun damage and skin cancer. Ummm, not exactly …

Last weekend I went apple picking at Smolak Farms in North Andover. Gorgeous day! I figured, “Hey, summer’s over. I can just throw on some SPF15 with my Jackie-O glasses and I’m all set.” I came home with a farmer’s tan. Yuck. Epic fail.

Although the sun might not feel as strong, UV rays can still be pretty intense. Don’t let the cooler temperatures fool you. You still need to protect yourself.

Can you let your guard down a little bit? Possibly. It depends on where you live. I’m a Bostonian (but you probably knew that from the name of my business) and the UV index is definitely lower this time of year. A daily SPF 15 moisturizer is sufficient if you are not engaged in prolonged outdoor activity; if you’re going apple picking or frolicking in a pumpkin patch in the middle of the day, then bump up to SPF 30. Also, if you live in some of the warmer, sunnier states, you should consider sticking to an SPF 30 year round.

Not sure what to look for in a sunscreen? The FDA has changed the labeling guidelines for sunscreens to ensure more integrity in products and to make it easier for you to know what you are buying. Read the labels and look for the following:

  • SPF 30 or higher to protect against UVB rays.
  • “Broad-Spectrum Coverage”, which means you are also protected from UVA rays.
  • Water resistance. There is no such thing as “water proof.” If the label claims water resistance, it must state for how long.

My favorite sunscreen products are from Hylunia and MD SolarSciences. The Environmental Working Group (@ewgtoxics) has given these products a thumbs up for consumer safety, and MD SolarSciences also gets a tip of the hat from The Skin Cancer Foundation. Both brands are paraben, chemical, and fragrance free … plus they won’t clog your skin. And MD SolarSciences has a stick formula that is great for when you are on the go; TSA won’t take it from you at the airport!

Not sure of the UV index where you live? MD SolarSciences products come with a cool little “UV Predictor” strip in the box. Simply hold it out in the sunlight and it tells you exactly what your risk factor is and when you need to re-apply. Or you can use this cool UV Awareness site developed by our pale pals in Ireland. You can get a live stream of the UV index anywhere, anytime.

Keep in mind that in New England scaling mountains for hiking and leaf peeping are downright essential for an optimal autumn experience. And guess what? While it might be cooler in them thar hills, the UV index is actually higher than it is down below at the base. So go apple picking, have fun in the pumpkin patch, trek to a mountain top and peep them leaves, but just don’t go unprotected. Your skin will love you for it.

Bridget M. Riley, R.E.
Boston Skin Solutions
“We Give Good Face.”


My Origin Story: The Birth of One of the Best Boston Spas for Electrolysis, Laser Hair Removal & Skin Care

home electrolysis kitI’m confident enough to say that, to my clients, I am a superhero. A woman performing wonders with a wand instead of a whip. My high tech toy is a laser. And like every comic book character worth her salt, there’s an origin story. Here’s mine.

When I was fourteen, I had a crush on “Larry.” We were in Drama class together. As it usually happens, the girls far outnumbered the boys, so, whenever we could, we’d change a male part to a female role.

The problem? This was back in ancient times, before cut, paste, edit, print. This meant copies of all the scripts were jumbled; not all the “hes” and “shes” would get fixed. I mean, what drama teacher wants to waste time and money on that?

After all, who was really gonna mess up and confuse a girl with a boy when delivering their lines? Right? Right?!?

[INT. SCENE – on the stage of a school auditorium]

DIRECTOR: Larry, you keep forgetting to refer to Bridget as a girl.

LARRY: Sorry. The moustache threw me.


Sigh …

I think my next blog post will discuss why all boys should be sent to a desert island when they turn 14 and not be allowed off until they’re 24. (Actually, Larry was a really funny dude. Really.)

Anyway, when I got home, I dragged my Mom to the drug store to get my first bottle of Nair … aaaaaaaand … it was ON!!!

Like any junkie, I became obsessed, moving from the gateway drug of hair removal cream into nail clippers and tweezers before upgrading to the heavier stuff: waxing, professional grooming scissors, and even a home electrolysis kit. Yep. That kit was 100% street legal (and I’ll tell you more about that one in a future post that I’ll write after I talk about boys and desert islands).

Unfortunately, even with all my efforts, the hair kept coming back. With a vengeance.  Undeterred, I desperately scoured the Yellow Pages for hair removal services. And there it was: ELECTROLYSIS. Sweet!! There were people who actually did this for a living!

My electrologist changed my life, both personally and professionally. My self-confidence sky rocketed! And later on I thought, how cool would it be to do that for someone else? Of course, I didn’t stop with just an electroogy license. Because I am, after all, a junkie.  My street cred would not have been complete without mastering laser hair removal and skin care as well.

So that’s the story of why I do what I do.

I make Bostonians more beautiful everyday.

Oh, and by the way, I am TOTALLY over “Larry!” 😉


Spa Week

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