Vacation SOS: How To Keep Sunburn From Ruining Your Beach Vacation

how to avoid a sunburnI’ve seen it happen a million times. My friends and I will be on a beach vacation. They’ll make fun of me for the measures I take to protect my skin. They say, “I want to get a little color!” And at the end of the first day, they are toasted. Literally. Lobster red. And I go out the next day alone, because my precautions have saved my skin from burning. I’m the only one who’s not miserable. I’ve told you how to pick a sunscreen; now I’ll tell you how to avoid a sunburn. I’m going to share my secrets with you today. This is how I avoid the burn and enjoy all the days of my beach vacation.

  • Get a good application each day before you go out. I apply sunscreen… and lots of it… before I hit the beach. Make sure you don’t miss a spot by applying sunscreen before you even put on your bathing suit. Remember that your skin starts absorbing UV before you’ve posted up, so make sure you’re ready from the moment you hit the beach.
  • Reapply every hour. Yes, it seems excessive. But if you’re sitting out in the sun, it must be done. I hate reapplying at the beach… you’re sweaty and sandy and gross. So use an aerosol spray that also has a cooling effect to get that SPF boost. You’ll cool down and keep your skin protected. I like the Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist. But make sure to pay attention to my spray sunscreen tips! Give yourself a solid spray (check this FutureDerm article for tips) and make sure to stand downwind. I once watched a loved one spray himself down, but the wind blew all the sunscreen off and back in his face. He was a lobster for the rest of the trip and completely miserable while I sat by the pool. Moral of this story? I’m always right. And apply more of your spray sunscreen than you think you need in a wind-free zone.
  • Use an umbrella. I know. It’s one more thing to carry. But I promise you’ll welcome that shade when the midday sun hits. I swear by it.
  • Keep a cover-up handy. It may make you warmer, but cover-ups can provide a little relief when your skin starts to bake. Stay outside but keep those sensitive areas covered up between the hours of 10am and 2pm (longer if you feel the heat in your skin). You can also try some of the UPF clothing. Let me know if you feel it makes a difference.
  • Wear a hat. You can glam it up with a wide-brimmed straw hat. It makes a huge difference in how much sun damage your face sees.

I love hanging out on the beach. I’m not anti-sun; I’m pro-safe sun. [Tweet this!] So I am extra cautious when it comes to protecting my skin. Make sure to follow these tips to prevent a sunburn. Nothing ruins a beach vacation like a sunburn on the first day.

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Top Picks for Sunscreens

best sunscreen skin care product recommendationSummer brings heat waves, watermelon, and fun in the sun. It also brings a lot of questions about sunscreens. I’ve talked about how to pick a sunscreen. Today, I’m sharing some of my top picks with you.

When I look for a sunscreen, I look first for a mineral filter. I prefer physical blocks like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for several reasons. Mineral sunscreens protect your skin from UV damage, and they are also anti-inflammatory. Zinc oxide is the primary ingredient in diaper cream; it’s known to reduce redness and soothe irritation. Mineral sunscreens are also less likely to cause reactions, so I always recommend them for my sensitive or allergic clients. Mineral sunscreens have a tendency to be thicker, so I know that an oily skin type is going to want a lighter texture. Sometimes you’ll need to go a chemical filter in this case. Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you’ll use!

True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30My first pick is the True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30. I’ve linked to the one for baby, but there are several available. I stumbled onto this one at the drugstore one day, and I’ve recommended it ever since. It has a pure mineral sunscreen, and the rest of the ingredients are a blend of truly natural ingredients. It’s moisturizing enough to be an all-in-one product.

Who will love it: Dry skin types, natural skin types, sensitive skin types

Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40

 

The Clarins UV Plus Day Screen SPF 40 is a classic bestseller, and for good reason. It is super lightweight, but still a 100% mineral sunscreen. It absorbs quickly and can be used over any daytime product, from serums to moisturizers. Clarins claims to be a botanically based line, and that bothers me because they really aren’t. But if you’re looking for a lightweight sunscreen, this does the trick.

Who will love it: Oily skin types, people who want lightweight textures

 

bareMinerals SPF 30I mentioned this one in my summer essentials post, but I’m bringing it up again because I just like it that much. My favorite sunscreen touch-up product is the bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen. Sunscreens are only effective when used properly, and proper use means regular reapplication. This is a great way to touch up your sunscreen and mattify oiliness without budging your makeup. The brush is softer than most of the other powder sunscreens on the market, so it’s much nicer for sensitive skin.

Who will love it: Makeup wearers who want to reapply, oily skin types

Boscia BB Cream

I really love my BB cream. I’ve been using the Boscia B.B. Cream that features an SPF 27 in a mineral filter. It’s got a tint to it, so you get coverage and complexion evening all in the same step. It also has treatment benefits; it has licorice root extract and arbutin to help with pigmentation. It also has ingredients that act as a skin primer, so it smooths texture and fine lines. I wear mine almost every day. It’s lightly hydrating, but dry skin types will still want to use  a moisturizer.

Who will love it: Girls on the go who still want to look polished

Do you have a favorite sunscreen? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

 

 

See a product here that you think would work for you? I earn a commission and you help to support this blog if you use the affiliate links provided. But your trust is important to me, and I’d never recommend something that I haven’t used or didn’t like. Read my disclaimer.

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How To Pick the Best Sunscreen

how to pick the best sunscreenIt’s that time of year. The sun is shining. The weather is warm. Who doesn’t want to be outside? But being outside more means that you need to up your sunscreen protection. And who hasn’t stood in the sunscreen aisle at the store and been completely overwhelmed with the options? How do you find the best one?

The first decision I make is based on the sunscreen ingredients. There are two kinds of sunscreen ingredients: inorganic sunscreens, or mineral filters, and organic sunscreens, or chemical filters. Don’t let the inorganic or organic labels confuse you. Mineral filters are generally considered the “natural” sunscreen, because the minerals occur in nature. Both types of sunscreen ingredients protect from UVA and UVB damage, but they do it in completely different ways. Mineral sunscreens (inorganic) work by deflecting UV rays away from the skin, essentially acting as a mini-mirror. Chemical filters (organic) work by absorbing the UV rays and neutralizing them before they can hit the living layers of the skin and cause damage.

Although both types of sunscreens are approved by the FDA, there are pros and cons to each.

Chemical filters

Chemical filters work by neutralizing UV damage in the very uppermost layers of the skin (the stratum corneum). Chemical sunscreens have had the most controversy in the last few years. Originally they were the most effective forms of protection. Now, we know that they are more likely to cause adverse reactions and allergies in reactive skin types. Although we don’t always know why sunscreens cause allergic reactions, there is some speculation that, because chemical sunscreens release small amounts of heat as they neutralize UV rays, more reactive skin types might be overstimulated by this and more likely to react.

These seem like overwhelming negatives, so why would you choose a chemical sunscreen? The simplest answer is that even with all the negatives, they are still effective at protecting the skin. They are easier to formulate with and can be used for lightweight products. They are easy to apply and do not feel as greasy. They also do not create the blue tint on deeper skin tones that mineral sunscreens can cause. If your preferences lie in formulation, you may prefer a chemical sunscreen.

Mineral sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens use the ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They are typically less likely to cause reactions because they lay on the surface of the skin instead of penetrating to the deeper layers, making them inert. Additionally, zinc oxide is a known anti-inflammatory and can soothe irritated skin.

Mineral sunscreens are reflective, and I believe they provide better protection against pigmentation. UV rays are deflected before they have a chance to cause damage.

Unfortunately, with mineral sunscreens, formulations generally turn out thicker and creamier. If you are a dry skin type, this may be fine for you. But oily and acne prone types may find it difficult to find a mineral sunscreen that is lightweight. Darker skin tones may also have complaints; mineral sunscreens are famous for leaving a blue, ashy cast. Because the minerals are white, they can be difficult to blend.

Here’s a breakdown of what skin type may prefer which kind of sunscreen ingredient:


Chemical Sunscreens
Oily skin types
Acne prone skin types
Deeper skin tones
People who prefer lighter textures


Mineral Sunscreen
Dry skin types
Reactive or allergic skin types
Pigmented skin tones
People who prefer natural ingredients
People who like creamier textures
Children


After you’ve decided which ingredients are right for you, you’ll need to pick your number. SPFs go up to 100 these days, but an SPF of 30 is 97% effective when used correctly. Keep in mind that higher SPFs require a higher chemical load, as it becomes more difficult to formulate high SPFs with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Allergic or sensitive types may find it difficult to use sunscreens with high SPFs for this reason.

Which one is right for you?

Now the million dollar question: which sunscreen is right for you?

My preference is to use a strictly mineral sunscreen, but it may be difficult to find a mineral sunscreen that is only mineral. Many formulations that use a mostly mineral sunscreen may still include some chemical filters simply because it keeps the product lighter. Often I will layer my sunscreens and use a mineral powder on top to get as much protection as possible while still keeping textures light.

Ultimately, the most important step in sunscreen is the application part, so make sure to buy one that you will use. The sunscreen that protects you best is the one that is on your skin, not in the drawer. [Tweet this!]

 

 

Speak your mind! How do you pick a sunscreen? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

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Get Your Skin Summer Ready

The rest of the country may have been experiencing summer for a few weeks now, but New York City is officially in the middle of a heat wave. Depending on your skin type, your skin may thrive in the summer, or it may get your skin summer ready turn into a big mess.

Typically all skin types, from oily to dry, will start to produce more oil. The heat and humidity makes us sweatier and, before you realize it, you may be breaking out more than normal. It can also help skin types that are prone to conditions like eczema and psoriasis minimize outbreaks.

Here are some tips to get your skin summer ready.

  • Add a salicylic acid wash. Even drier skin types can benefit from a salicylic acid wash a couple of times a week to help control the excess sweat and oil. If you’re normally a dry skin type, try a salicylic acid wash two to three times a week. Oilier skin types may benefit from daily usage. Most salicylic acid washes are found with a 2% concentration normally, so adjust your usage if you’ve found something stronger.
  • Lighten up those textures. Dry winter skin and harsh climates beg for creamy, rich textures. Summer calls for lighter lotions. Heavy creams combined with extra oil production creates the perfect storm for breakouts. Put your creams aside and look for lightweight or oil-free lotions. You may even like a little oil control this time of year.
  • Try an acne treatment. If the summer heat has you breaking out a couple times a week, it may be time to try an acne-control serum. Your skin may just need that extra control. Look for something with a blend of acids, alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic and beta hydroxy acids like salicylic. Daily usage under a moisturizer will keep your skin clearer.
  • Amp up your SPF. Warm weather sends people outside, whether it’s beach vacations, spending weekends on the lake, or even just dining outside more often. Make sure you’ve got your skin protected when you’re outside by upping your SPF protection. I like to keep mineral powders in my bag for touch-ups if I end up outside, so I can reapply my SPF without messing up my makeup (and getting a little extra shine control). I also recommend swapping your morning moisturizer with SPF to a dedicated sunscreen. I like the lighter combination of a hydrating serum and a sunscreen in the summer and find it’s just enough for even my dry skin.
  • Get a pro peel. I’m a huge fan of peels, and I believe that they are worth the extra investment in a facial. Super oily skin and acne-prone types may benefit from a salicylic acid peel a couple of times in the summer for added oil and acne control. Drier types can still benefit; peels remove excess dead skin cells and help keep pores clear. The caveat? Make sure to wear your SPF and don’t plan to peel right before or after a beach vacation.

 

 

Speak your mind! How do you tweak your skin care routine for the summer? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

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Sunny Summer Days

This past Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer. Now everyone can look forward to months of beaches and BBQs and fun in the sun. Summer can also mean dramatic changes in your skin that can often wreak havoc. Read on for some ideas on avoiding trouble and cruising through summer with a glow.

Changes of season are a great time to revisit your skincare routine.  Everyone experiences changes in their skin, and routines need to be tweaked accordingly. As temperatures rise, you may find that your oiliness increases as well. More oiliness calls for lighter textures and, for some, moderate use of oil controlling ingredients. You may find that adding a wash with salicylic acid will help to combat excessive shine and more frequent breakouts. Look for a wash with 2% salicylic acid. Use it daily for oily-all-over skin types, and try it three times a week for T-zone-oily skin types. Remember that overuse of salicylic acid can dry, so dial it back a little if you start to dry out.

Increases in oiliness can also often lead to more clogged pores, which can in turn lead to seasonal breakouts. These breakouts are easily controlled. Again, increasing your use of salicylic acid can help, adding either a wash or a light acne control serum. Remember that you still need to hydrate and protect your skin, so don’t skip your moisturizer for fear of making breakouts worse. Instead, switch to a light-weight hydrator, or use a hydrating serum under your sunscreen.

Warmer days often encourage extra sun exposure too, so it is also the time to increase your daily SPF protection. I generally recommend switching to a dedicated SPF and putting your moisturizer with SPF aside until fall. Make sure you amp up to an SPF 30 as well, as you need that extra coverage. You may find that dusting on a mineral SPF powder can give you a mid-day touch up, protecting your skin while blotting some excess shine. I’ve talked about sunscreens more in depth in other posts.

Pigmentation is also a concern in summer months. Diligent use of sunscreen is your best defense against those pesky brown spots. You can add a botanical brightening serum underneath your moisturizer. I usually do this morning and night in order to get a boost in repair, as well as proactively protecting against more damage. I recommend putting your prescriptions or products containing hydroquinone away for the summer since misuse of more aggressive products can actually lead to more damage.

Summer skin problems don’t have to stop your fun. [Tweet this!] A few simple changes to your routine can help keep your skin under control and glowing through the fall!

 

 

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