The Dreaded “Man Tan”. Sun Goddesses Beware!


About a year ago, after several months of working too hard, and playing too little, my boyfriend and I decided to skip town and head to Barbados for a relaxing break. Since I’ve experienced the the amazing embarrassment of  the “Man Tan” before, I bathed myself in sunscreen thinking that would do the trick, but no dice. When we got back to our hotel room after an incredible day on the beach, I couldn’t help but notice that my man looked like he had something he wanted to tell me. “What’s that on your lip?”

Now, I am blessed to lack excess facial hair of any kind, but there was undeniably some sort something going on there… right under my nose. Somehow all of the tan on my face managed to gather as a condensed, freckly mustache… a sunstache!  I spent the next several months trying to mask my ‘stache with every kind of makeup I could think of, but the only thing that made it go away was time… months of time to be exact. I later learned that my mini man-tan was actually something called melasma, which is often a product of birth control hormones reacting with the sun.

Last month, when we planned another sun-drenched break in Aruba, I decided that I was not messing around, and  I took control of the situation by carefully devising a battle plan ahead of time… and it worked!

Here is what I did to protect the strip above my lip:

1. A layer of clear Duane Reade  Zinc Oxide with SPF 45 was the first line of defense . Thanks to their  genius technology, you can avoid the “lifeguard” look because the particles in the cream are so small that they really do dry invisible. This is not an easy thing to find with zinc oxide products, but it’s becoming more popular.  The Duane Reade product sells for about $6, and in NYC, you can pick it up at any DR retail store, or try one from Solar Sense which is about the same price on

2. Next, I applied La Roche-Posay’s Melt-In Sunscreen Milk in SPF 60 all over my face, neck and chest. I was intrigued by their powerful blend of UV-shielding ingredients and antioxidants. Plus the idea of a soothing, cool “milk” sounded so luxurious and pampering that I couldn’t wait to try it.  It worked great, and felt silky and light on my skin.  A 5.0 ounce bottle, which is more than enough to last for the average vacation, cost about $34 when you buy it directly from the company.

3. Before and after my wonderful, but unshielded, swims in the calmest turquoise waters that you could possibly imagine, I pulled out my secret weapon from Neutrogena. Their tried and true Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen (one of Allure’s fav products) comes in astonishing, ozone layer-like SPF’s  of 70, 85 and yes …100!  It’s like liquid shade in a tube, and the price is a steal at just under $10.  Get it shipped to you from

This regime protected my skin like a battalion of tropical troops.  I missed having the deep tan that I used to die for when I was younger, but that’s nothing that a little faux-glow from my bronzer can’t fix.

And that’s not just lip-service!

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nicholas vendemia on facebook, mas, manhattan aesthetic surgeryKarin Ruiz
Social Media Coordinator
MAS Media / Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery

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Photo Credit: iStockPhoto

NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.

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Filed under Melasma, Sun Protection

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