The Lowdown on Sunscreens

Lowdown on Sunscreens

Summertime is here!  That means plenty of picnics, pool parties, trips to the beach, and outdoor activities!  It’s important to remember that despite all the fun in the sun that you’re having you still need to take care of your skin and be smart by protecting it from the sun by using a sunscreen each and every time you venture outside.

There are countless different sunscreens available to purchase each with different options so if you are wondering which one is right for you it’s best to first know the basics:

Just like we all have our own preferences when it comes to the types of makeup we like and what it does to our skin, sunscreen is no different.  What works on one persons skin may cause breakouts on another person and so on and so on.  Below is a breakdown of the types of sunscreen you should look for depending on your specific skin type as well as examples of sunscreens that are most suitable for you.

 

Dry Skin

  • Creams/lotions with extra hydrating ingredients (aloe and glycerin)
  • Steer clear of spray or gel sunscreens that contain aloe (they’ll just dry out your skin that much more)

Try

Murad Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 15

L’Oreal Dermo-Expertise Futur-E SPF 15

 

Oily Skin

  • Oil-free sunscreen
  • Non-comedogenic sunscreen (won’t clog pores)
  • Water or gel based sunscreens are most commonly oil-free

Try

Ocean Potion Anti-Aging Sunblock SPF 50

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 45

 

Acne Prone Skin

  • Light and/or oil-free lotions
  • Sunscreens that contain the chemicals avobenzone and oxybenzone
  • Non-comedogenic sunscreen (won’t clog pores)
  • Fragrance free sunscreen

Try

Hawaiian Tropic Oil Free Sensitive Skin Sunscreen SPF 50

Murad Oil-Free Sunblock SPF 30

 

Sensitive Skin

  • Paba free sunscreen (this is very common)
  • Oil-free sunscreen
  • Fragrance free sunscreen
  • Chemical free sunscreen
  • Hypoallergenic sunscreen
  • Mineral based sunscreen

Try

Aveeno Active Naturals Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion for Face

Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion SPF 60

 

Active/Outdoor Skin (for those that spend a lot of time being active outdoors; sports/swimming)

  • Water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen
  • Highest SPF sunscreen available

Try

Coppertone Sport Sunblock Spray SPF 30

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock with Helioplex SPF 70

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Tips for Applying Sunless Tanner

Sunless

The Basic Rule of Sunless Tanner (whether you’re using gels, lotions or sprays)

Never go more than 2 shades darker than your natural skin color (otherwise you’ll end up looking cheap, fake, orange and like an oompa loompa…none of which are attractive)

 

Back side view of a young, blonde woman's perfect body.

The Proper Way to Apply Sunless Tanners

Exfoliate.  This step is very important yet a lot of people skip over it.  Exfoliating helps ensure an even and smooth application.  Exfoliating scrubs away any dry and dead skin which is important in achieving a flawless application.  Dry areas (such as elbows and knees) absorb the tanner more than other areas therefore, those dry areas end up looking darker.  You want to exfoliate everywhere but you want to exfoliate the most in those rough and dry areas.  Also, when exfoliating, don’t use an exfoliator that is very oily or greasy.  These types of exfoliators leave behind a greasy/oily residue which repels tanner.  The best exfoliating method to use in this case is plain sugar (or plain sugar mixed with a tablespoon of water).  You can apply this standing in the shower without the water running because the dry exfoliation method actually does a better job exfoliating than doing it under the running shower water.

Shave or Wax.  You should shave or wax prior to applying sunless tanner.  If you wait until after applying the sunless tanner to do either of these, you’re going to mess it up.  (And I don’t mean 5 minutes later….later in the day, later that night, etc.)  Shaving and waxing will actually lift up some of your tanner and will leave you looking uneven and/or blotchy.

Dry Yourself.  Make sure your body is completely dry before applying any sunless tanner.  Also, do not apply lotion prior to applying sunless tanner except on dry and rough areas (such as elbows and knees).

Protect your Nails.  Prior to applying sunless tanner, you should apply a little bit of Vaseline to your nails and toe nails.  If you don’t, the sunless tanner can stain nails or get around the nail beds and cuticles leaving you with dirty looking nails (which no one should ever want).  This is also important in protecting your manicure and pedicure.  If you want to avoid this all together, slap on a pair of latex gloves and you won’t need to worry about getting orange hands or nails.  (But you’ll still have to protect your toenails).

Top to Bottom.  The proper way to apply sunless tanner is from the top of your body to the bottom of your body, not bottom to top.  (You can dilute your self tanner for those rough and dry areas by mixing it with some lotion too…if you aren’t using the spray sunless tanner.)

Clean Up.  After you’ve applied your sunless tanner, take a damp washcloth and gently buff those rough and dry areas (such as the elbows and knees).  This will help them from ending up darker than other areas of your body.  It’s also very important to carefully wash your hands after applying sunless tanner.  If you don’t you will end up with orange palms and markings between your fingers.  But be very careful when washing them because if you take your hands and dive them into running water you’ll most likely end up splashing further up your arms.  It’s not a bad idea to exfoliate your hands after applying sunless tanner either….this just ensures you really got it all.

Let it Dry.  Let the sunless tanner dry completely.  Do not try to throw on clothes immediately after applying the sunless tanner or you will end up staining your clothes or messing up your tan (or both).

 

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The Quick Version

  • Exfoliate
  • Shave or wax
  • Dry yourself completely (no lotion except on dry areas such as elbows and knees)
  • Apply Vaseline to nails or slap on a pair of latex gloves
  • Apply from top to bottom (do your face separately if you are using a special facial sunless tanner)
  • Buff rough and dry spots with a damp washcloth after applying sunless tanner
  • Wash/Exfoliate hands (very carefully) after you are completely done applying sunless tanner
  • Let it dry

D.I.Y. Sunburn Aloe Relief Cubes

Aloe

Got some aloe and an ice cube tray?  Then you’ve got an easy way to relieve sunburn!

Ingredients:

  • Aloe vera gel

Directions:

  • Fill an ice cube tray with aloe vera gel; stick in the freezer
  • Once frozen, pop out a frozen cube and you have instant sunburn relief that you can easily rub on any sunburnt area

D.I.Y. Suntan Oil

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Here’s an easy to make suntan oil recipe for those looking to get a tan!

*Please note that this offers NO SPF PROTECTION

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. castor oil

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan while slowly heating; stir well
  • Remove from heat and let cool
  • Transfer to a container or bottle for storing

*Lasts for 1 week