Sun Protected Princess:
Amy Adams in "Enchanted"

Audiences are enraptured by this post-modern take on fairy tales and a large part of the appeal is bubbly actress Amy Adams.  As Giselle, the naïve and charismatic cartoon princess come to life, Adams lights up the screen.  Particularly striking is that Adams was awarded this role, which could easily gone to an ingénue in her late teens or early 20’s.  Despite her youthful looks, Adams is 33 years old, playing a character that could be half that age. Adams is naturally quite pale, so to appear this wrinkle and freckle-free in her 30’s confirms a lifelong devotion not necessarily to the literary works of the Brothers Grimm, but to sun protection.

Any princess knows that a good parasol is worth its weight in SPF.

Once upon a time, (in the 1960’s and 70’s), young royalty would knowingly lie out in the sun for a “healthy” tan. For the fair-skinned, exposure to sun early in life creates sun damage in the form of wrinkles, splotchy sun spots, and dilated blood vessels.  That these effects can only result from sunburns caused by UVB sunlight is a misleading myth.  The magic mirror didn’t tell the evil queen that the UVA range of light, the so-called “tanning” rays, also speed skin aging.  So those with sparse skin pigmentation should use broad spectrum sunscreens that also block UVA rays.  In 2007, the US FDA established a new requirement for sun block to be rated not just by UVB protection (the SPF system), but also for UVA. 

Also this year US damsels celebrated the FDA approval of  mexoryl.  Long available in Europe (and presumably in Giselle’s fairy tale home), mexoryl effectively blocks the UVA range of sunlight.  Featured in the “Anthelios” line, substances like mexoryl and sun avoidance can make looking into any mirror a magical moment. 

The moral of this story is that fair-skinned princesses can stave off becoming sun damaged step sisters with materials like mexoryl.

Runner-up, Sun Protected Princess:
Susan Sarandon in "Enchanted."

Okay, so Sarandon’s not the tale’s princess, but she still looks darned good for her age. Like Adams, she’s a fair-skinned femme. And she had the added challenge to remain tan-free through the sun-exposed 1970’s.

© 1996-2008 Vail Reese M.D.