Face Goo and Sunscreen

Now that I am no longer in my, ahem, teens I find that I more and more need regular moisturizer. I also have found that my once iron-tough skin is prone to angry redness that can be exacerbated by some products. Some can be just a little too much, and some can be too little. What’s a boy to do?

I’ve always been a fan of Erno Laszlo products: the original oils-and-black-soap method of face cleansing I have been doing for years and I do sort of think that my visage being able to present as less than 100 is equally genetics and care. I do like some of the creams: the Phormula 3-9 (now 4-9) is wonderful, but it’s not cheap.

Also on the not cheap side (understatement of the year) is Creme de la Mer. It’s supposedly made with some “miracle broth” of seaweed which is healing and blah, blah, blah. I admit to having a small jar of it and use it, but sparingly. I still find it a bit much but on a day when my skin is stressed (after a long day with the top down or outside in a winter wind) there’s literally nothing better that I know of.

Kiehl’s is also a go-to brand for me. A lot of the newer products they have introduced over the years have brought the brand thisclose to cosmeceutical (sp?) territory in reach and price, but I like what I like from the line. They don’t seem to make the one that I used to use, and the Ultra Facial Cream is now with Squalone and is kind of pricey. I do have the one with SPF in it and it’s a good every day don’t-think-about-it moisturizer

But this winter with it’s roller coaster weather (literally 90F one day and 60F the next) has made my face go a bit nuts. No breakouts (thank goodness) but my forehead, lip and chin will look like the angry red planet after washing and shaving and start flaking.

Something that seemed to do the trick is Tea Tree Oil Face cream by Majestic Pure. It was less than $15 at Amazon for an 8oz jar and while I was at first skeptical (it has kind of an odd texture and an almost minty scent that I can tell from experience can mean cooling or irritating. This time luckily the former.) it seemed after only a few applications to really start to do the trick: as you can see in the photo my skin is almost back to it’s normal beige. So all in all I’m happy with it.

Of course, I dare not and do not go out in the California sun without sunscreen. My natural skin color is glow-in-the-dark white; the color of my face is the product of over 30 years in the California sun. Or avoiding it. I have friends who find it endlessly amusing that I insist upon owning convertibles but look upon direct sunlight with the same expectant delight and gleeful anticipation as, say, Count Dracula, but there you are.

So the search of the perfect sunscreen, especially for the face is ongoing.

I do like the Kiehl’s Super Fluid blah-de-blah with 50+ SPF, mainly because it’s one that doesn’t seem to migrate into one eyeball as son as I hit the 101. But I really do prefer a higher SPF, soo.

I used to use La Roche-Posay Anthelios back in the day and liked it a lot. The main reason I stopped is that they weren’t that easy to find except retail and the main ingredient (Helioplex? Googleplex? Helicopterplex?) showed up in less expensive brands.

Like the one I’ve been using, Neutrogena Dry Touch 100+. I can goop it on pretty well and it won’t decide to come between me and my corneas the nano-second I hit 60 on that on-ramp. It is (or was) available at most drugstores (I think I got mine at the Trifty in Beverly Hills) for $10 give or take for 3 ounces, so I can stash one in the car for when driving.

Oh and note to Tonstant Weader- always have some sunscreen stashed in your car. Even in a closed one if your driving for more than 20 minutes half your face and your left forearm (or right, depending upon where you live) is in the sun. You don’t want to look like that truck driver in The Sun.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer Cream with SPF 30 is $33 for a 50ML jar, while the Super Fluid 50+ is $40 for a 1.7oz bottle, at the usual suspects.

Anthelios and other La Roche Posay products, Neutrogena products and Majestic Pure are available at Amazon.

Erno Laszlo products are available at Saks, Nordstrom and Erno Lazlo. Creme de la Mer is available at Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman.

I purchased all of my products unless they were a gift with purchase. Photo of me is mine.

  • Musette says:

    omg. I once burned the living SH!T out of my left knee, driving in extreme sun.
    I still use the Anthelios because the MEXORYL XL (you goober;-) purportedly doesn’t degrade in the sun like most SPF does. I also use Black Girl Sunscreen because hello! I started using it last year (you can get it at Target though, TO BE FAIR, you’re kinda fair, so don’t need it (it’s formulated to not go ashy on darker skin).


  • Maggiecat says:

    I can only use mineral sunscreens, and La Roche-Posay has both a tinted and untainted variety. I get mine at Ulta, which may or may not be convenient for you. And I know what you means about weather changes – shifts of 30-40 degrees are common from Fall to Spring in north Texas, and my skin hates them (my joints aren’t happy either!)

  • rosarita says:

    The pandemic has caused me to stop caring about so many things including skincare and makeup. I used to be very careful about moisturizer and sunscreen and cleansing; now I wash with soap from my local soap place (it’s very good non drying soap) and I do love It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream but I just tend to slap it on and go. I have some kind of Korean sunscreen I use in the summer but not as religiously as I should, I’m still only leaving my house about three times a week. I need to make the shift to thinking of everything as “self care” instead of “who cares.”

    • Tom says:

      That is it exactly. I need to think of it as a little bit of pampering, not just keeping myself from feeling like the crypt-keeper.

  • Valerie says:

    Hello Tom! Great post. I guffawed at “…googleplex, helicopterplex…” So, I’m big on skincare and daily SPF too. After frying myself on Cape beaches from 22-30, I’ve had to have a few melanocytes removed by my dermatologist. I use a panoply of different brands with retinol & peptides at night to keep my skin clear, and I like the Solara brand of sunscreens for daily use. They’re more like facial care with high SPF baked in & are the rare titanium-based sunblocks that don’t leave a white cast (once they warm into the skin), plus play very well under makeup. Time Traveler is my fav for face & neck, Clean Freak for arms & hands, & Glow Getter (with its subtle shimmer) for special daytime occasions. They all have the Environmental Working Group (EWG) seal of approval for being clean-clean-clean, which is important to me now that its known how much of what we put on our skin soaks into our bloodstream. I buy directly from the Solara website, but I think Tarzjey might carry one or two of them online. Your skin looks fantastic and you have gorgeous blue green eyes! With French & Polish backgrounds, I’m very light-skinned too & have struggled with rosacea in the past. Turning the temp way down on face-washing water and exfoliating only once per week solved my redness issues. I so miss the California Coast and its temperate weather! Here in VAgina, keeping a sun block product in the glove compartment or console is risky. The car gets so freakin’ hot, the stuff breaks down & separates, and/or leaks. I found a Wegmans brand sunscreen sport stick to be the only item I can keep in the car for spot application. You’re so right – – SPF, every single day no matter the weather (and even indoors) is the closest anyone will come to a Fountain of Youth. That poor trucker fellow – – 50 one one side, 110 on the other… Hugs from VAgina!! oxox

    • Tom says:

      I’m going to look up that solara brand- thanks!

      Keeping it in the car can be risky here too, but luckily I park pretty much inside and have for years. Otherwise I would be resorting to the ever-butch man purse.

      • Valerie says:

        I said “titanium” but I think that’s wrong. Solara is mineral sunscreen, vice chemical, at any rate.

        • Tom says:

          It is titanium. titanium dioxide. the white goop people used to put on their noses in movies

  • March says:

    Lady Dracula here! I’m the person always searching for some shade to stand in … I also wear a sun hat and keep one of those high SPF shirts in the car (and in the house.) Extra diligent now that I live at 7k feet. On my face I can only use a mineral (zinc) sunscreen or it burns, and I have, oh, chemical SPF 100 for the hands and bod… I have an extensive sunscreen collection and nothing is less than SPF50. Fortunately zinc on my face doesn’t look any paler than I am already! SO re your irritated skin — a few weeks ago I started doing that thing where you put a thin layer of vaseline on your face at bedtime, AFTER moisturizing. You can google it, it’s a legit thing dermatologists support, it promotes healing (it’s an occlusive, you need to moisturize first) and MAN — so much of my incipient redness and irritation has abated! It’s cheap as hell and you might want to try it — I end up changing my pillowcase more often. Tik Tok is doing it now, but of course Black folks have been doing it forever. I use a lot of BHAs etc. and I’m prone to that pale-person redness and dryness anyway and it’s a game changer.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the tip! I happen to hae a jar of vaseline in the bathroom (no, not for that!) and will give it a try.

      Zinc does make me look extra pale. Like “read by the light of my skin” pale. “Why he looks like he could sit up and talk” pale. Nice as an effect, but..

      Did you knw that we were supposed to be using sunscreen in front of our old CRT tube monitors? And glasses that filter UV light? Crazy..

  • Dina C. says:

    I’m also a big fan of SPF 50, Tom, and through the years have tried Neutrogena, Shiseido, and La Roche Posay sunscreens. They’re all good. Right now I’m using a hybrid mineral-chemical blend one from Sephora called Watermelon Glow with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid in it. It’s nice, but I’m not convinced I’ll repurchase. Thanks for sharing your recommendations.

  • Kathleen says:

    Living in the dry Colorado climate, I desperately need moisturizer. I wash with DHC olive oil deep cleansing oil, and have been enjoying Estee Lauder Resilience Multi Effects day and night moisturizers. I am obsessive over SPF to prevent daily sun damage and EltaMD is reasonably priced and very effective. No burning eyeballs from migration into eyes!

  • cinnamon says:

    I now mostly use Votary stuff (made here — not sure where it’s offered in US). Oil facial cleanser, facial oils, serum (it’s pricey stuff but my skin loves it) and The Ordinary moisturiser which I’m getting bored with. And Thank You Farmer (Korean brand) high SPF. Just got my son some Kiehls stuff. It’s even pricier here but I think it’s time he got a decent skincare routine.

    • Tom says:

      I am going to look those up. Good for you for getting him Kiehl’s. The Facial Fuel stuff is a good starter. Kids won’t listen, but he only has one skin and it’s difficult and expensive to fix it after youve screwed it up.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Tom,
    We use an Australian Cancer Council SPF 50 here. It does the job.
    You know I don’t moisturise, just after shave balm.
    Portia xx