Whether we’re planning on playing in or on the water, taking our fitness to the beach, or simply going on a dog walk, making sure that we are protecting and nourishing our skin throughout the summer will positively impact the health of the largest organ of our bodies.
Start with Sun 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.
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.
“Choose sunscreens that have broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB with ingredients like zinc oxide and an SPF of at least 30.” – Dr. Sivamani
Another resource that can help you make choices is Dermveda, the comprehensive skin health education library that integrates multiple medical approaches to skin 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’s important to protect the lips as well. A number of companies, such as Babo Botanicals and Suntegrity, make products designed for the sensitive skin of our lips.
Babo Bontanics 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. Sun protection products include facial sunscreen, sport sticks, and conditioning lip tints and treatments. Prices vary.
“More of the good stuff + none of the bad,” is Mad Hippie’s motto. When it comes to sunscreen, their blends rely on zinc oxide for 30+ UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection. The light scent and skin nourishing power comes from carrot seed, avocado, and red raspberry seed oils. Mad Hippie’s Facial SPF $24.99
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 with ingredients such as jojoba oil and shea and cocoa butter. The moisturizing face sunscreen is available in four shades, while the Lip CPR comes in eight different fashionable shades that can take you from the beach to the bar. Products and prices vary.
Sun Bella Apparel founder Denise Knickerbocker was looking for something fashionable that she could layer on to protect herself throughout the day, so 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.
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—her own formulation free of alcohols, fragrances, or synthetic material.
Created in collaboration with a yoga instructor, the multi-use gel is full of functional ingredients like pain-relieving arnica, anti-inflammatory aloe vera and lavender, anti-oxidant astaxanthin, and witch hazel, rosemary, and gotu kola. Dr. Yazdani references the 75 active constituents in aloe vera and the fact that astaxanthin has 1,000 times the free radical pick up potency of Vitamin C as factors in the efficacy of the easily absorbed MatrX-B rich gel. It is also compatible with the natural biome of our skin.
While its original intent was to use post-treatment, Dr. Yazdani and her patients have found it to be an essential item in a skin-care repair kit since it is helpful to reduce inflammation after sun exposure and healing for the cuts and scrapes that can arise from a day at the beach. Seaside Medical
Post-Traumatic Response Gel $25
If you want the glow without the exposure, True Natural Self Tan’s formulations are full of organically grown ingredients that nourish the skin such as 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. Exfoliate thoroughly before using and remember that self-tanning lotions do not contain SPF factors, so prepare accordingly. True Natural Self Tan $43