Are You Making This Dangerous SPF Mistake?


BB Dakota

I was about an hour into a recent road trip to Joshua Tree when suddenly the temperature dial on my dashboard began to creep upward, signaling my departure from tree-lined Los Angeles suburbia into outright desert. And as I continued to navigate my car through the dusty landscape, I suddenly felt the oddest sensation on my left arm. It took me a moment to realize it was actually two different sensations: the icy blast of my car's A/C and a sunburn in progress, thanks to the scorching rays streaming through my window.

To be fair, I should have been better prepared—especially as a beauty editor who preaches the importance of sun protection. But believe it or not, I didn't have any SPF on hand; I had been in a rush that morning when I left, and since it was a day trip and I knew I would be spending most of the day indoors, I figured I'd be perfectly fine with my SPF 50–fortified face makeup. Not so: By the time I made it home—even though I had the foresight to don a hoodie on the way back—I was sporting a nasty burn. While my go-to aloe spray helped alleviate the pain, a week later, I still have the uneven tan to show for my misstep.