Our activities outdoors may range from playing in or on the water, taking our fitness to the beach, attending a yoga and music festival, or simply going on a dog walk. Whatever we do throughout the year, it is important to utilize tools for skin protection and skin soothing.
Making sure that we are protecting and nourishing our skin positively impacts the health of the largest organ of our bodies.
Start with Skin Protection
According to UC Davis Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology and Dermveda Founder Dr Raja Sivamani, “Good sun protection habits start before you head outside. It involves smart choices about what clothes you wear, how you expose yourself to sunlight, and selecting the right sunscreen.” In addition, Dr Sivamani emphasizes that you can boost the antioxidants in your skin through diet (such as beta-carotene or astaxanthin) as well as what you put on your skin.
Sunscreens for Skin Protection
It can be intimidating to choose a sunscreen. The Environmental Working Group offers a Safer Sunscreen Guide that highlights ingredients to avoid such as parabens, oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, and SPFs above 50; ratings and recommended ingredients (such as zinc) are also listed.
When it comes to sun protection, Dr Sivamani’s advice is to “Choose sunscreens that have broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB with ingredients like zinc oxide and an SPF of at least 30.” Just applying once is not enough. Dr Sivamani suggests reapplying protection as often as every 15 minutes, especially if you are going in the water.
Dermveda is a another resource that includes a comprehensive skin health education library. This collection integrates multiple medical approaches to skin protection and care with Western and Eastern perspectives from a team of dermatologists and alternative medicine practitioners.
While we may remember to apply sunscreen on our bodies, it is also important to protect the lips. A number of companies, such as Babo Botanicals and Suntegrity, make products that are specifically designed for the sensitive skin on our lips.
Babo Botanicas founder Kate Solomon integrates her belief in sustainable agriculture with skincare through Babo Botanicals’ product line. Their non-nano, zinc oxide-containing UVA and UVB broad-spectrum sunscreens are hypo-allergenic and suitable for all ages. Some of the nourishing ingredients include green tea extract, rose hip and jojoba seed oils, and shea butter. Their sun protection products include facial sunscreen, sport sticks, and conditioning lip tints and treatments. Prices vary. babobotanicals.com
“More of the good stuff + none of the bad,” is Mad Hippie’s motto. Their blends rely on zinc oxide for 30+ UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection. Furthermore, the light scent and skin nourishing power comes from carrot seed, avocado, and red raspberry seed oils. Mad Hippie’s Facial SPF $24.99 madhippie.com
After losing her mom to melanoma skin cancer, Suntegrity founder Tricia Trimble was motivated to work with chemists to develop a sun care line that is both nontoxic and nurturing. The non-nano-size zinc oxide UVA/UVB broad-spectrum sunscreens come in formulations for face, body, and lips. Ingredients include jojoba oil and shea and cocoa butter.
The moisturizing face sunscreen is available in four shades. In addition, the Lip CPR comes in eight different fashionable colors that can take you from the beach to the bar. Products and prices vary. suntegrityskincare.com
Dressing Up for Skin Protection
Sun Bella Apparel founder Denise Knickerbocker was looking for something fashionable that she could layer on to protect herself throughout the day. She designed the stylish and lightweight resort wear line of ponchos, wraps, sarongs, and gloves that have UPF ratings ranging from 30 to 50. A portion of sales of this LA-based company are donated to Women for Women and Oceana Foundations. sunbellapparel.com
Skin Soothing and Repair
Santa Monica-based dermatologist Nasimeh Yazdani was searching for a medical grade repairing topical lotion to send home with patients after their treatments.
She developed Seaside Medical’s Post-traumatic Response Gel. The gel is her own formulation free of alcohols, fragrances, or synthetic materials. Created in collaboration with a yoga instructor, the multi-use gel is full of functional ingredients. These include pain-relieving arnica, anti-inflammatory aloe vera and lavender, the anti-oxidant astaxanthin, as well as witch hazel, rosemary, and gotu kola.
Dr. Yazdani references the 75 active constituents in aloe vera alone, adding to the potency of the formula. In addition, she says that astaxanthin has 1,000 times the free radical pick up potency of Vitamin C. These are significant factors in the efficacy of the easily absorbed MatrX-B rich gel. This skin soothing formula is also compatible with the natural biome of our skin.
The original intent was to use this post-treatment. Yet Dr. Yazdani and her patients have found the gel to be an essential item in a skin-care repair kit. This is because it helps reduce inflammation after sun exposure and simultaneously promotes healing the cuts and scrapes that can arise from time outdoors, whether surfing, running, playing, or working. Seaside Medical Post-Traumatic Response Gel $25 seasidemedicaltech.com
Get Your Glow On
If you want the glow without the exposure try self-tanning formulations. True Natural Self Tan is full of organically grown ingredients that nourish the skin. Some of these are aloe vera, pomegranate, green tea, macadamia seed oil, and lavender.
The vegetable-based active ingredients (DHA and erythrulose) interact with amino acids in the skin to tan without the sun. When you get ready to apply, make sure to exfoliate thoroughly before using. Remember that self-tanning lotions do not contain SPF factors, so prepare your entire skin care regime accordingly. True Natural Self Tan $43 truenatural.com
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.