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Block Party

Empire of the sun: Don't burn through your summer budget on overpriced SPF. These dermatologist-recommended lotions will protect your skin and your savings.

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You've got the message about the importance of shield-ing your skin from UVA and UVB rays -- unless, that is, you've been living under a rock (where sun protection isn't such a high priority). Choosing the right brand of sunblock, one that's effective and affordable, can be a bit more complicated, so we asked dermatologist Sherwin Parikh to give us his expert recommendations.

Athletes, or those who just sweat like athletes, "want to look for the least-water-based block they can find," says Dr. Parikh. Shade SPF 30 ($10.29) comes in an easy-to-reapply spray, and Clarins's Stick Solaire ($19.50) protects sun-sensitive spots like the tip of your nose, your ears, and even your lips -- yes, it's a splurge, but it won't run out too quickly. If you're prone to breakouts, Parikh suggests Eucerin Daily Sun Defense SPF 15 ($11.59) -- and, in general, "avoiding any block which contains oil, lanolin, or propylene glycol." A built-in moisturizer, such as Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream with SPF 15 ($16.89), is Parikh's advice for those with dry skin. For the fairest of us all, "the numbers are important -- look for something greater than 30," says Parikh: Ombrelle ($10.19) comes in 40, and Anthélios tops out at 60-plus ($35). And what works best for the kids? Parikh recommends Banana Boat's waterproof UVA and UVB protectant with SPF 15 ($10.59) and Coppertone Kids SPF 30, which is waterproof for six hours ($11.79). His pick for sensitive skin is fragrance-free Cetaphil ($10.99 at Cosmetics Plus stores). What about the stuff left over in your closet from summers past? "A year is fine," Parikh says. "Just check that it doesn't contain PABA, which is no longer used in most sunblocks."

Clyde's, 926 Madison Avenue, at 74th St. (212-744-5050); Dr. Sherwin Parikh, Tribeca Skin Center, 315 Church St., second floor (212-334-3774).

Picks of the Week

S. Feldman Housewares, Inc., is marking down select pieces of cookware from All-Clad, Calphalon, and Le Creuset by 10 to 40 percent. Cutlery from Wüsthof-Trident is 20 to 40 percent off, and Miele canister vacuum cleaners are $100 to $150 off retail ($500 to $1,000, plus a free hepa filter worth $70). 1304 Madison Ave., near 92nd St. (212-289-7367); A.E., M.C., V.; 5/21-6/17.

Nicole Farhi's sample sale has T-shirts, sweaters, dresses for mostly 75 percent off retail. 14 E. 60th St., second floor (212-421-7720); Wed.-Thurs. 10-6; 5/23-5/24.

Flatiron Workshop's basic T-shirts are $5 to $10 (normally $40 to $60), and summery blouses, sold at Barneys and Bendel's, are now $30 to $60 (down from $125 to $200). 53 W. 21st St., third floor (212-924-8795); cash or check; Wed. 10-9, Thurs. 11-5; 5/23-5/24.

Gerard Yosca's preppy ribbon bracelets, beaded necklaces, hair clips, ponytail holders, enamel shell earrings, and other accessories, sold at Bergdorf's, Saks, and Scoop, are 50 to 80 percent off retail. 39 W. 38th St., tenth floor (212-302-4349); cash only; Tues.-Thurs. 10-6; 5/22-5/24.

Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani eveningwear, sportswear, and suits are 90 percent off retail at Woodbury Commons. A dress that was $2,640 is now $264. Woodbury Premium Outlets, Route 32, Central Valley, N.Y. (845-928-9400); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. 10-9, Sun. 10-8; 5/24-6/17.


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