Updated: Mar 23
It's almost summertime and our skin is ITCHING to soak up some Vitamin D already! It's been a long few months staying trapped inside during the winter and let's be honest, our skin is most definitely the frequent offender of concerns and neglect during summer. But is that the root of the problems?
You probably have heard from a young age to always wear sunscreen when outside in the sun, right? Sun exposure to skin has many benefits, one of which is getting a nice bronzed tan! But there are also several ways that the sun can actually hurt you; a few being the risk for skin cancer as well as premature aging and wrinkles. Even if you are a frequenter of Vitamin C, E and Hyaluronic acid, you still need to take precautions when planning for a day at the beach or pool. Taking care of your skin now will only help you in the years to come!
1. We All Know About Sunburns
Most likely just about everyone has experienced some form of excessive sun exposure, resulting in the dreaded "lobster" red that makes the next few days quite painful. At the time, you may not have thought about much else other than how to cure the stinging and tightness your skin was experiencing. When our skin burns from the sun, it will get irritated, red and begin to peel. Not caring for your skin during these crucial times can most definitely run the risk of skin cancer. But there is a way to avoid getting to this point and it's not that hard!
There is no such thing as water proof sunscreen. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that bottle of Banana Boat you bought at the drug store that claims hours of protection, still needs to be applied throughout the day. Look at it this way, you get hungry every few hours or so right? Well, your skin gets hungry too, for sunscreen every 2 hours!!
2. Everyday Use Reduces Aging
Some days we don't think it will matter if we are wearing sunscreen. Maybe we aren't going to be outside for very long during the day. Or maybe it's cloudy out that day and you think "gee the sun shouldn't bother me today". Let me squash those myths right now because sunscreen is vital in so many ways. Even having exposure to the most minimal amount of sunlight can still be effective in causing harm to your skin. When you use sunscreen daily, you will always be protected no matter what conditions you encounter.
The best way to handle this is to get a moisturizer that already does the work for you! We all hate (well most of us) spending so much time on a skin care routine. What better way to fix that than by getting a 2-in-1 product like a moisturizer with sunscreen to help you set it and forget it! Preventing the issue is a lot easier than trying to correct it once it's already there. Sunlight damages collagen which keeps our face looking young and tight and the best way to avoid that is practicing good daily habits!
3. Sunscreen Doesn't Prevent Tanning
People will argue that they don't want to wear sunscreen because they don't want to not get tan. Unfortunately, this is a pretty big misconception when it comes to the importance of wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen cannot filter out 100% of the UV rays that comes from the sun, so it is still possible to get color to your skin even when protected by sunblock. As long as you choose a broad spectrum sunblock that has at least SPF 30, and are reapplying every 2 hours, then you are minimally covered.
There are a ton of factors that can influence the way that your skin will tan. One of which is simply the amount of melanin in your skin. The best way to ensure that you are staying protected but still benefitting from those rays, is to ensure proper use and reapplication of a useful sunblock.
4. Are You Using The Right Amount?
It is important to know the amount and best ways to apply sunscreen to get the best protection. It is recommended to apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before going outside. If using a sunscreen lotion, about a golf-ball sized amount, around 1 oz, should be enough to cover your whole body. Slather that lotion on until it's rubbed in and completely gone! One of the most missed places to apply is actually the tops of our feet so be sure to hit those too!
When it comes to your face, it is recommended to use around a nickel-sized amount of SPF 30 + Moisturizer DAILY, for optimal results! You can layer sunblock onto your face lotion or you can buy one already infused with an SPF.
Most importantly, you should be REAPPLYING every 40-80 minutes - of course should be more if you are swimming during most of that time. Don't neglect the hard to reach places either just because you can't well, reach them! Sunburn doesn't discriminate and you'll be quite happy you took the time to cover up when needed!
Importance of AFTER-SUN
We've talked a lot about the ways to protect your skin from the sun PRIOR to sun exposure. Even though after-sun care isn't not something that Dermatologists would tell you to rely on, it most definitely can be useful in helping ease up on post-exposure concerns. Whether you reach for a bottle of aloe post-beach trip or you are frequenting a lotion with Vitamin E & Aloe, it doesn't hurt to provide the extra moisture for your skin. The sun sucks the moisture from our skin causing it to get tight, textured and dry. Hydration is the best thing you can provide for your skin post sun. Drinking water is definitely #1 but a post-sun lotion is also a great skin thirst quencher!
If you are concerned with what products to buy, here is an easy DIY recipe to make your own at-home after-sun care lotion! The ingredients are simple and some interchangeable, so no concern with needing to spend so much money on a simple product!
DIY AFTER SUN LOTION
Gather all the ingredients listed below! If you don't have one on hand, your local grocery store will certainly be your go to!
1/2 Cup Shea or Coco butter infused Body Lotion (Mine is from Derma-E)
4 tbsp Witch Hazel (recommended to get the scent free kind)
4 tbsp Aloe Vera Gel - I did purchase of Amazon! 100% aloe vera is recommended
20 Drops Lavender Essential oil
15 Drops Peppermint Essential oil (this can be ignored if you dislike peppermint)
In an 8 oz plastic container, add your lotion of choice.
Add 2 oz Witch Hazel.
Top off with 2 oz Aloe Vera jelly.
Add essential oils.
Close the lid, and shake well before use.
Rub onto hands and proceed onto sun-exposed or sun burned skin. Enjoy the cooling effect and moisturizing relief.
Use as often as needed, but avoid the eyes!
Keep the lotion in your refrigerator for an even more soothing and cooling skin care experience.
Witch hazel can soothe mild skin irritations or itching, and can bring instant relief to a sunburn or inflamed skin.
Using witch hazel on the affected area can lessen healing time, plus prevent your skin from peeling and flaking. Make sure that while shopping for witch hazel, you opt for the alcohol free variety if you plan to use it for skin care.
Aloe Vera comes from the Aloe Vera plant, which has been used as a herbal remedy for thousands of years. In Ayurvedic practice, it is called the “miracle plant”.
It has soothing and cooling qualities and can especially help in promoting the healing of injured skin tissues.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) also recommends using a moisturizer containing Aloe Vera to reduce sunburn symptoms ³.
Shea Butter has many medicinal benefits for our skin. It is a top choice base for almost all DIY Lotions and Creams.
Shea butter is naturally UV protective around SFP five. Although that isn’t much for a day on the beach, it’s perfect for a normal day when you don’t spend as much time outdoors.
Shea Butter is also high in the antioxidants and is very anti-inflammatory, which actually helps reduce the swelling from sunburns.
Lavender oil is said to be one of the safest essential oils to use; and is one of the few that can be used in products for use on kids.
Lavender is the most common and widely known essential oil. Lavender makes it possible to maintain and boost skin complexion. In aromatherapy, lavender is known for its relaxing, calming, and tension relieving properties.
When used for your skin, it can help reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles, and soothe skin impurities of all kinds, including sun exposure.
Peppermint is an oil that stimulates the senses and improves energy levels. Because of its menthol content, Peppermint has a lovely cooling effect on the skin and is a perfect companion in a natural sunburn relief recipe.
There are some PRECAUTIONS
Sun exposure can dehydrate a person, which may lead to headaches. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids while outside.
Wear sunscreen when you are going to be outside and exposed to direct sunlight.
If you’re allergic to any of the organic products mentioned above, refrain from their usage.