It’s finally summer—let’s go to the beach! If you can hold yourself back long enough to pack a bag, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from getting fried. It still amazes me how many “lobsters” I see on the beach who are still sitting there without a shirt or hat. I want to run over and cover them or send them to their room. I can be the sun protection police—after all, I am an esthetician, so it’s my duty, right? How many of these self-care habits do you use to keep your skin looking good?
The most important thing you can do for your skin is to wear protective clothing, big floppy hats, and sunglasses. Not always attractive I know, but your 50-year-old self will thank you. My husband teases me about my dorky hats, and he refuses to wear one himself. Keep sunscreen, shirts, and hats in a bag ready to go by the front door. Summer driving gloves and scarves are also becoming popular. Try a pair of Sundriven gloves; they’re vintage-inspired and touchscreen optimized.
The next most important thing to do is to wear a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) that is not full of chemicals. Even if you are in the car, the UVA rays go through glass. If you have a partner who is stubborn, it can be challenging to get him or her to protect their skin. If only I had a dollar for every time I had to say “did you put on your sunscreen?”
With sunscreen build up and outdoor activities, skin needs extra cleansing, but with more of a gentle touch. A washcloth is good to use to remove products and grime. Don’t over scrub with brushes as it can make you irritated and lead to blemishes and redness. Ilike organic skin care from Hungary has excellent cleansers for all skin types. Try Ilike’s Mineral Exfoliating Wash.
Don’t use strong peels or exfoliants in the summer. For example, alpha-hydroxy acid peels and microdermabrasion are not recommended as they leave skin susceptible to sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and reactions. Use gentle scrubs, enzyme peels (e.g. papaya), and masks to keep skin exfoliated. Circadia’s Micro-Exfoliating Honey Cleanser with natural beeswax micro-beads is a nice gentle choice. Any chemical exfoliants (Retin A, AHA’s) should be used in colder seasons and always at night to avoid sun damage.
A balanced clay mask (not too drying) can help clear up blemishes and pull excess oil to the surface. Cucumber or oatmeal-based masks are wonderful to cool and calm the skin. Kerstin Florian’s Algae Gel Masque is hydrating and calming. Don’t forget to put cold cucumber slices, tea bags, or a washcloth on the eyes to soothe irritation. Cold is tightening and calming; hot is stimulating and makes things expand (redness) and swell (puffy), so cold is better for eyes.
Serums and Lotions
Dehydration happens all year long. Both sun exposure and air conditioning are drying. If you work out, swim, or just melt from the heat, a lighter lotion is best. At night you may want a heavier lotion that is healing (calendula, aloe, chamomile, rose). Dr. Hauschka’s Night Serum with rose apple fruit renews skin while resting. Make sure your products are as pure as possible because additives and chemicals will irritate skin. For example, not all aloe brands are soothing. Try EmerginC’s Scientific Organics Photocell Serum—it is packed full of antioxidants and grape stem cells.
Body oils (grape seed, olive, vitamin E) are nice in the summer as these have antioxidants and help protect your skin. The shimmer looks gorgeous on bare skin too! Loofahs and weekly scrubs are great for keeping your skin looking smooth. Pure aloe vera is still one of the best ingredients for skin after sun exposure. Coola’s Radical Recovery After-Sun lotion is soothing and refreshing (aloe-based with agave, lavender, and rosemary). Farm House Fresh Melon Body Milk smells and feels wonderful. Remember that self-tanning products do not have sunscreen.
At the spa, get a deep-cleansing facial that finishes with a cooling and calming mask. Body scrubs are worth the splurge this time of year. An added benefit to waxing is you are also exfoliating, but remember to plan ahead to keep freshly waxed areas under cover for a few days. Keep in mind that perfumes, fragrances, medications, and waxing may irritate sun exposed skin. Seize the day, but watch out for the skincare police!
Shelley Lotz has over 25 years of experience in the spa industry as an esthetician, educator, and entrepreneur. She is a major contributing author of "Milady's Standard Esthetics Fundamentals," a textbook for estheticians, and wrote "Green Spas and Salons: How to Make Your Business Truly Sustainable" (ViosSpaGroup.com).