Beyond the pale

for The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s finally summer and I can’t wait to show some skin.

But each year, the transition from scarves to sundresses becomes more daunting. Even at 25, I notice the little lines around my eyes, the overgrown freckles on the back of my hands and the near-scales on my pasty legs. Throw in a dry winter with a Brooklyn radiator and soon the idea of stepping out in a swimsuit, or even a short skirt, becomes a cruel one.

As a pasty gal who’s never had a tan that didn’t come from a bottle, I was sure I was on top of the sunscreen game. When I sat down to talk with Dr. Louis Tranese and Donna Creagh of the newly opened LOMA Wellness Center in the Columbia Street Waterfront District, though, I quickly learned that I’m guilty of some of the worst summer sun offenses.

“Reapplicat­ion is key,” Creagh, LOMA’s spa director, advised. “Some people think they can put on sunscreen and go out all day long, which is simply not the case.”

And that big, floppy hat that I thought was the perfect sunshade? It’s better than nothing, but it’s not enough. According to Creag and Tranese the sun will reflect off of water and sand — and just about anything else — and can do damage from below (chin burn, anyone?).

Perhaps the worst, and most common, offense of all is stepping out “for just a few minutes” without sunscreen. Whether running out for an afternoon coffee, taking the dog to the park or walking across the neighborhood for lunch, if you’re outside without sun protection, you’re doing damage to your skin.

“Most people think ‘Oh, I’ll only be out for 20 minutes’ and don’t put on sunscreen,” Creag said. “But it’s amazing how much damage you can do in 20 minutes. And, it’s cumulative.”

To erase at least the top layer of damage, Tranese and Creag suggested a facial with a peel. In an act of indulgence, I opted for the deep cleansing facial ($110). In an act of bravery, I opted for my first-ever bikini wax — a “deep bikini” at that ($40).

After a surprisingly non-so-painful wax, and a heavenly facial, both from aesthetician Jennifer Paulick, I left with less hair, tighter skin and a new appreciation for sunscreen.

But for Tranese, the skin is only a reflection of what’s on the inside. And that’s the idea behind LOMA. “It’s the Canyon Ranch mentality in an urban setting.”

And while Canyon Ranch sounds nice, when it comes to your skin you’d do better to save your time and money by just using — and reapplying — sunscreen.

“It’s hard to go back and fix the damage,” Tranese admitted. “It’s easy to prevent the damage from ever occurring,”

LOMA Wellness Center (71 Carroll St., at Columbia Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District) is open Sunday from 10 am–4 pm, Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 am–8 pm, Thursday and Friday from 11 am–9 pm and Saturday from 10 am–6 pm. Closed Monday. For information, call (718) 797-9797 or visit

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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