Whether your skin is pale or dark, your hair straw or chocolate, taking care of both this summer is imperative for your health (not to mention your scrapbook-worthy photos). With SPFs reaching into the hundreds and hair dyes everywhere, it is important to know what works when it comes to sun care. We’ve gathered some guidelines and tips so that you can spend less time worrying about your sunscreen and more time enjoying the sunshine.
Summer Skin Success
While they sure do look nice on, it is a universal truth that there’s no such thing as a safe tan. With rates of skin cancer rising (there were more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer in the US in 2010, according to the National Cancer Institute), especially among young women, it is more important than ever to make sure you are protecting your body’s largest organ. A cover-up and a hat with a brim large enough to cover your entire face and neck is the very best protection. After that, it’s sunscreen, folks. Since the US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the ingredients that go into sunscreen, check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of the safest sunscreens available. Both Alba Botanica and Desert Essence’s vegan mineral sunscreens make the list, and Hurraw!’s new lip balm with SPF should be worn 24–7. Can’t live without that sun-kissed summer glow? Get tan the fake (and cruelty-free) way with California North Titanium Self Tanner or Dermalogica’s Protective Self Tan (both of which use new, cleaner formulations).
Hair Today, Here Tomorrow
The top of your head might not be a top priority when heading out to a summer festival, but it should be. Heat, light, humidity, and water (both salty and chlorinated) can do big-time damage to your tresses, regardless of whether or not those blonde locks are courtesy of your genes or a great colorist. The key is moisturizer. Use conditioner at every wash, and try to wash it fewer times, as your hair will benefit from the natural oils your scalp creates over time. If you know you’re going to be in the sun without a hat, coat your mop with leave-in conditioner like Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner from Giovanni Cosmetics or hair sunscreen such as Aveda Sun Care Protection Hair Veil before going out. Use cool water to wash your hair after a long day in the sun, and make sure to keep your body hydrated while you’re at it. Lastly, avoid products that contain formaldehyde or alcohol.
Just In Case
We’ve all been there: you’ve done your very best to avoid harmful rays—hat, sunscreen, reapplication, the whole kit and kaboodle—but somehow the sun won, leaving you with a painful sunburn. While unfortunately there’s no quick fix, you can cure a nasty burn with three steps: cool, moisturize, and take a pain reliever. After applying a cold compress to the affected area, use an alcohol-free moisturizer such as LUSH’s Dream Cream Body Lotion, JR Watkins’ Lemon Cream Lotion, or all-natural aloe vera. Make sure to avoid products with benzocaine, an anesthetic found in some sunburn treatment products that has been linked to a condition that decreases the amount of oxygen the blood can carry.
With these tips, everything from mornings at the farmers’ market to vacations at the beach will be a body-care breeze (and here’s hoping for real breezes, too!).