I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this summer definitely hasn’t gone according to plan. With travel plans, romantic entanglements, and social lives mostly on pause for the foreseeable future, it can be hard to feel like you have control of anything. But amid this miserable roller coaster of a year, one small thing we can stay on top of is our skin care. Instead of focusing on how lame this summer is compared to years past, put that time and energy into getting your summer skin care routine on lock.
If you don’t normally put much thought into your skin care regimen, switching up your products every season might seem extra, but it makes a lot of sense. While you might spend the winter fighting dry skin with heavy creams and moisturizers, summer is a whole different ballgame. Of course, each person’s skin care needs differ based on location, climate, and skin type, but generally speaking, summer skin care is all about keeping it light and breezy. Here are some must-have products that will keep you glowing (not from sweat) all summer long.
If you know about Laneige’s Cream Skin line, you KNOW how exciting this launch is. I admittedly was never a huge mist person until my friends coerced me into keeping a spray in my bag at all times, and now I’m actually unsure how I survived without one. The Cream Skin Mist is great because it gives your skin a natural glow, with or without makeup. A product like this is particularly important in summer, especially during quarantine, when the chances of me wearing makeup are about the same as the odds of me shaving my legs in the winter. This final step makes any routine feel complete, and the mist itself is super hydrating, long lasting, and perfect to bring on the go. The formula is lightweight, and enriched with amino acids from White Leaf Tea water.
If you’re looking for a clean, natural mist, look no further. When I heard the Limited Edition of the cult-favorite Beauty Elixir is back in stock, I had ~a moment~. There is something about this pretty pink bottle that makes this already great product even better. If you can’t relate to my passion for packaging, that’s fine. This product is filled with natural plant extracts that help visibly smooth the skin and tighten the pores. As someone with pores the size of planet Earth itself, this is quite important to me. This product preps and sets makeup, which is extra important in the summer months, because as you can imagine, sweat + makeup = a dangerous combo.
I once won a giveaway for a year’s supply of Kiehl’s, and have since considered myself an expert on each and every one of their products. In winter months, my skin literally feels like sandpaper, so a heavy moisturizer is a MUST. But come summer, the Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream is my number one. I’ll be honest, this little guy is on the pricier side. That being said, if you know me (or if you’ve read any of my articles) you know I am cheap AF and that me splurging on a product means it is the real deal. The water cream claims to boost radiance (I see this claim from all brands, IDK what it actually means, but I do know that my skin is dewier using this product), reduces redness (can confirm this is true) and helps improve dry skin by softening and hydrating (also can confirm this is true). This is the kind of product that makes me want to skip foundation because my skin is actually glowing, and despite being ultra-hydrating, it’s lightweight and breathable. As I reread this *passionate* rant, I hope Kiehl’s sponsors me. My DMs are open.
I’ve got to say, this name is very overwhelming to type, but this Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is my other go-to in summer. Even if you’re into skin care at all, you still know hyaluronic acid is ~all~ the buzz right now, and for good reason. It’s hydrating, it’s not heavy, and it’s most definitely summer-approved. I love using this moisturizer after a beach day, because it’s cooling to the skin and helps calm any burning or peeling I may have obtained. It’s lightweight, super moisturizing, and wears well under makeup. This, like the previous cream, is worth the splurge.
If you don’t already know this, SPF is the most important thing in your skin care routine. As someone with textured skin (again, pores the size of planet Earth), I am very picky about my sunscreen. If sunscreen has any sort of white cast, it’s an instant horror show. If the sunscreen doesn’t agree with my skin type, my texture is exaggerated and it’s not a good look. And with that, I find myself reaching for my Supergoop! Glowscreen on the regular. It’s dewy and pearly (great for my dry skin pals) and allows for the true no-makeup makeup look (because you literally don’t need makeup). It’s hydrating, too, which is not always true for sunscreen.
Something that is not spoken about enough is the fact that SPF should be worn inside. Yes. Groundbreaking, I know. bUt ThE sUn DoEsN’t ShInE iNsIdE! Correct. However, now more than ever, our skin is exposed to harmful blue light. From scrolling for hours, to being glued to our computer screens on work days, and of course binging Netflix, I am excited and impressed to see that TULA has launched Protect + Glow to protect you from damaging pollution and blue light. If you’ve purchased blue light glasses, add this to your list of must-haves. Even if you haven’t, still add this to your list of must-haves.
Retinoids are the industry’s best kept secret if you ask me. Summer is fun, but sun exposure leads to skin damage and wrinkles, and I for one want neither of those. I never knew (or cared) what Retinoids were until I was introduced to a local NYC business, Peachy (support local!). Retinoids are the prescription version of Retinol—and clinical studies show that they both increase collagen production and prevent collagen degradation. Increasing collagen results in plumper, stronger skin and the minimization of fine lines and wrinkles. So, in less science-y words, Retinoids are the botox of skin care (without the needles). It’s important that you get the right prescription from a trusted dermatologist and still take care of your skin in the sun (USE SPF), but this product is my secret weapon.
“Foundation, but make it skincare” are the first words that can be read under Kosas’ Tinted Face Oil description, and it sums this product up flawlessly. During summer months, a cakey foundation is awful, to put it simply, and this has been my personal solution. The product does a great job of giving your skin the “blur effect” but doesn’t overdo it. Think “is she wearing makeup or does she just have amazing skin???” type vibes. Overall as a brand, Kosas has multiple products that dabble in both the skin care + makeup category, but this stands out above the rest for me.
Summer Fridays is one of those brands that is actually worth the hype. Their products are great, their branding is great, their social media is great, their packaging is great, even their p-page images are great (few will understand, but those who do will appreciate this callout). Anyway, during summer months I often love replacing my lipstick with a clear balm and letting my lips go natural-ish. This Lip Butter Balm is actually considered a mask, and it’s created to soothe parched lips while sealing in moisture. I’m a big fan of this product because it’s not like other lip balms that feel amazing for the first 10 minutes and then leave your lips needing more soon after. This lasts what feels like hours, and it makes my lips look glowy like a gloss, but without the sticky feeling.
If you prefer a little color in your summer lip look, an oil lip color is a great way to go. YSL Beauty launched their new Milk Tea collection (I’m fittingly sipping on milk tea as I write this) and the colors are reaaalllyyy pretty. I feel like we’re all on the permanent hunt for the “perfect nude” and this just might be it. The hydrating formula drenches lips in moisture while leaving a high-shine finish. Think lipstick-meets-balm. All day color and comfort? Yes please.
Summer brings an excess of oil and enlarged pores (sorry, I know you’re sick of hearing about my pores). SheaMoisture African Black Soap is THAT product that will help you maintain your natural glow while conquering oil and sweat (we all have it, so don’t pretend you’re better than me). More importantly, the soap won’t dehydrate your skin, which for obvious reasons is important here. This face and body bar is super affordable ($4.99) and is specially formulated with organic Shea Butter, Oats and Aloe to cleanse, moisturize and comfort irritated skin.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST. I used to think body scrubs were a myth, but then I tried one and realized it wasn’t. Thrilling, I know. I’m a big fan of Sol de Janeiro’s OG Bum Bum Cream because it smells like vacation—even after being trapped inside for 100 days. The Bum Bum Body Scrub texture is soft yet gritty, and literally leaves my skin glowing. I think it’s important to be careful with body scrubs, because while you do want to exfoliate the skin, you don’t want the product to be abrasive. I think that BBBS (I’ve made up this abbreviation because Bum Bum Body Scrub is a mouthful) is the perfect happy medium, and the scent alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. WOULD recommend for *summer smooth* skin.
And there you have it, summer skin care, head to toe. Check back in winter for my 100-step routine.
Images: Margot Pandone / Unsplash; Provided by Laneige; Caudalie; Kiehls; Peter Thomas Roth; Supergoop; TULA; Provided by Peachy; Provided by Kosas; Summer Fridays; Provided by YSL Beauty; Provided by SheaMoisture; Provided by Sol de Janeiro
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
You’ve heard it from your mother, your dermatologist, your first-grade teacher, and even Baz Luhrmann: Wear sunscreen. With the wealth of knowledge we now have on sunscreen’s ability to reduce our risk of skin cancer and to protect against sun damage like wrinkles, dark spots, and sagginess, it seems wild to think that some still skip this crucial step in their daily skin care routines. But in reality, the increasingly oversaturated sunscreen market and the onslaught of information, studies, and data surrounding it can often have a detrimental effect on consumers, leaving them unsure of what to believe and whom to trust. Over the years, certain myths about sunscreen have permeated our culture, and even the wisest of skin experts have fallen victim to them. With a scorching summer already upon us, it’s more important than ever to not only debunk these misconceptions but also to understand why they’re inaccurate.
Myth #1: Sunscreen Is Not Necessary Indoors, On Cloudy Days, Or Inside A Car
“False, false, false!” says Dr. Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “Yes, clouds do reduce some of the harmful UV rays, but they don’t block them all, particularly in areas where the ozone layer is dramatically reduced.” It’s also important to realize that UV light is not alone in its ability to cause harm. Outdoors, UV light, in the forms of UVA and UVB, can impact skin aging and increase the risk of skin cancer. Some of that light can travel indoors through windows, but we’re also exposed to other types of light indoors, including visible light and blue light, which can also impact the skin. For that reason, it’s crucial that sunscreen be worn daily, and it should not be skipped just because you’re inside.
Myth #2: One Application Of Sunscreen Will Last All Day
“If you have discovered the sunscreen that lasts up to 24 hours, please let us all in on that secret!” Dr. Idriss jokes. In fact, not only will one application of sunscreen not last all day, but it will last just a couple of hours. “Most sunscreens are tested for a specific amount of time, and that’s on average two hours,” explains Dr. Caroline Robinson, a Chicago-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of TONE Dermatology. “After two hours, the SPF protection goes down significantly, so you do need to reapply to maintain that initial level of protection.” If you are in the sun, reapplication every two hours is imperative, but if you’re mostly indoors, you can be slightly more lenient in reapplying so long as you apply before stepping outside again. “I tell people to bring a sunscreen brush, like ISDIN’s, with them wherever they go and quickly apply that to their arms and face and any exposed skin before going back outside,” Dr. Robinson notes.
Myth #3: The Higher The SPF, The Better The Protection
While this is not totally true, there is some logic behind the belief. “The SPF number does not reflect the duration of efficacy of the sunscreen; it indicates how long it would take for your skin to redden when using the product,” Dr. Idriss says. “So, for example, if you are using an SPF of 30, it would take 30 times longer for you to burn while using the sunscreen versus if you didn’t use it all.” There is also proof that the higher the SPF, the more protected you will be—but only to a certain point. “SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB, whereas SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%,” the New York dermatologist explains. “This may seem like a negligible gain in protection, but if you are prone to sunburns or skin cancers, that little gain can make a world of a difference.”
Once you go above SPF 50, though, the difference in protection is quite small. Dr. Robinson says a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen is required to cover the whole face and about a shot-glass full is necessary to cover the whole body. “But if you know that you’re not going to follow those recommended amounts—and most don’t—then you can actually benefit from a higher SPF,” she advises. “In doing so, you can get a similar protection to an SPF 30, which is what those measurements are based on, but you can get it with less than the nickel- and shot-glass-sized amounts.” Essentially, it will be more thinly spread than the recommended amounts would, but because it’s a higher SPF, it will be roughly as powerful.
Myth #4: People With Darker Skin Tones Don’t Need To Wear Sunscreen
“This is a misconception I’ve been fighting for a very long time,” says Dr. Robinson. “While people with darker skin tones are indeed less likely to burn, they aren’t immune from sun damage, and oftentimes, it will develop in the form of hyperpigmentation—potentially even more dramatically than sun damage would manifest on lighter skin tones.” Additionally, certain conditions, including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots that result from acne or irritation to the skin) and melasma, can be worsened by sun exposure, especially in people of color. So, even if your sun damage doesn’t come in the form of the traditional sunburn or freckles, it’s still important to wear sunscreen in order to protect your skin from other damage.
Myth #5: If You’re Not Prone To Burning, You Don’t Need To Wear Sunscreen
Much like the belief that those with darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen, there’s a misconception that if you don’t burn, you similarly don’t need SPF. “There’s this idea that just because you tan, you’re fine, but tanning can actually be a system of sun damage,” Dr. Robinson explains. “You can have enough exposure to the point where you no longer burn; your skin just goes straight to tan, and that’s not a good thing.” Immediate tanning can be an indication that your skin has skipped the warning response of burning entirely, and that’s actually a sign that your skin is damaged.
Myth #6: If You Wear Sunscreen, You Won’t Get A Tan
Many refrain from wearing sunscreen because they claim it will keep them from achieving that oh-so-coveted sun-kissed glow. But, as Dr. Idriss says, this is once again false. “Sunscreen makes your skin slower to react to UV rays,” she notes, “but it doesn’t prevent it from reacting altogether.” You can definitely still get a tan while safely protecting your skin with sunscreen.
Myth #7: Wearing Makeup That Has SPF In It Is Enough
Absolutely not! “Most makeups that include an SPF are not tested to the extent that sunscreens are, especially compared to the sunscreens that carry extra credentials, like an endorsement from the Skin Cancer Foundation, or anything like that,” Dr. Robinson explains. In order to reap the full benefits of the SPF listed on your makeup, you would need to use a hefty amount, up to the size of a nickel, and unless you’re a Kardashian, you’re probably not equipped to wear that much makeup. You also likely won’t be putting makeup on your ears, neck, chest, or any of the many regions of the body that are not the face but are equally susceptible to sun damage, and you won’t be reapplying makeup every two hours as you would sunscreen.
Myth #8: Spray Or Powder Sunscreen Is Just As Effective As Lotion
As new agents of delivery have come to the sunscreen market over the years, they’ve often appeared to be solutions to the stickiness and getting-it-in-your-eye tendency of traditional lotion, and while that can be true, spray and powder sunscreens can also have their shortcomings. “They can definitely be as effective, but a lot more needs to be applied in order to reach the same level of effectiveness,” says Dr. Idriss. Unlike lotion sunscreens, applying a spray or powder means that some of its contents will not land on the actual skin, so you’ll need to as much as double the amount you’re using.
Myth #9: Sunscreen Can Lead To Cancer Or Other Health Problems
While an alarmingly common belief, the idea that sunscreen can cause cancer or any other health issue is founded in no truth. “I wish this myth would go away because it’s been disproven time and again,” Dr. Robinson says. “Sunscreen does not cause cancer, and there have been so many studies to show that, but they sadly don’t make the headlines as much.” And if you’re really worried, do as Dr. Idriss suggests and simply opt for a physical sunscreen instead of a chemical one.
Myth #10: There’s No Real Difference Between Chemical And Mineral/Physical Sunscreens
Although both types of sunscreen achieve the same goal, scientifically, they work very differently. “Mineral and physical are interchangeable terms, and the most common ingredient in those sunscreens is either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,” explains Dr. Robinson. “Those are metals, and if you think about a sheet of metal, you know that it literally just reflects light; so, physical sunscreens sit on top of skin and reflect the UV rays and scatter light.” Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, absorb the UV light and put it through a chemical reaction (their namesake comes from this) that converts the light to heat. “Because the chemical sunscreens have to first absorb the light, they take a little longer to become active, so you can’t apply them while you’re outside or even right before,” the Chicago dermatologist notes. “You have to allow at least a few minutes, which the bottle will tell you.”
Some people can be more sensitive to the ingredients in chemical sunscreens, so for babies, children, and anyone with sensitive skin, a physical sunscreen is the way to go. Historically, some consumers have shied away from physical options because they can leave more of a white film, but some recent additions to the sunscreen market have gotten around that with advanced technologies. Dr. Robinson recommends SkinBetter’s SunBetter Stick, a physical SPF 56 sunscreen which uses a new technology to uniquely shape the zinc particles so that they sit atop the skin without leaving the familiar white cast. She also loves Eryfotona Actinica from ISDIN, another physical option that uses DNA Repairsomes to repair DNA damage that can come from sun exposure, and Revision Skincare’s IntelliShade TruPhysical, which has Vitamin C in it and effectively serves as two necessary products in one.
Myth #11: If You Didn’t Wear Sunscreen When You Were Younger And Already Have Sun Damange, There’s No Point In Wearing It Now
“Although most of the damage is actually accumulated while you’re younger (typically before the age of 18), it doesn’t make you immune to worsening damage,” Dr. Idriss says. Indeed, sunscreen protects from the visible signs of aging caused by sun exposure, but it also reduces your risk of skin cancer, and that alone is reason to start or continue wearing it even if you’ve already suffered some sun damage. “I recommend you adopt a ‘never give up’ attitude,” suggests Dr. Idriss. “You only have the skin you’re in, and hopefully your life will be long, so you might as well protect and enjoy it every step of the way.”
Myth #12: Sunscreen Never Expires
Of all the myths that exist about sunscreen, the notion that it doesn’t expire might be the most outlandish. “Sunscreen is doing a lot of work, so when you’re applying it, you want to be confident that you’re getting the coverage you think you are,” Dr. Robinson explains. Like everything in life, sunscreen has an expiration date, and you can find it by looking at the back or bottom of the bottle. As for any wiggle room when it comes to that expiration, like the “five-day rule” for milk, Dr. Robinson says, “we don’t take chances with sunscreen.”
Images: Retha Ferguson / Pexels; Maciej Serafinowicz / Unsplash; Antonio Gabola / Unsplash; Taylor Simpson / Unsplash
As a very pale person living in Southern California, where we get 360 days of sunshine a year, I am very well-versed on skin care, particularly sunscreen. I’m already for sure going to die of skin cancer due to my teen beach bum years. I didn’t use sunscreen at all, went in tanning beds on the reg, and burnt my skin so badly it peeled several times a year. It is now my life’s mission to not make it worse. With the sun coming out in those other, bad weather parts of the world (why do you people live there?), it’s time you all step up your sunscreen game. Do you want to be wrinkled and sad as you get older? Do you want to be skin cancer buddies with me?
Your skin if you don’t wear sunscreen:
Here are the sunscreen myths and mistakes you didn’t even know you were making.
1. Not Using On Cloudy Days
You should be putting sunscreen on your face and hands (we’ll get to that) every. single. day. even if it is cloudy. Your skin is exposed to so much just from being outdoors at all, walking, driving, etc. even on cloudy days. The sun can reflect through clouds and even if you don’t see a “burn”, you will still get skin damage and increase your risk of cancer. Even just driving, the windows filter out UVB but not UVA rays. Always, always use sunscreen as your base under your makeup. Just use a nice face sunscreen as your day moisturizer, and boom! Two in one taken care of. This one is my new fav:
SUPERGOOP! Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50
2. Forgetting Your Hands
Hands are the biggest giveaway of someone’s age. Just look at celebrities. They have baby soft face skin of someone 20 years younger and the hands of the Crypt Keeper. It’s because of sun damage. Next to your face, your hands get the most sun exposure and people don’t think to care of them. Unless you’re like, a hand model. In which case, they wear gloves everywhere anyway. So when you apply your sunscreen to your face, just rub it into your hand skin as well. There is no Botox to fix old lady hands. (I mean, I think?)
3. Thinking SPF Is Strength
Most people think SPF is the strength of the sunscreen. Like as in, “Oooh, I won’t use your SPF 70 Holly, because I don’t want some scary sun shield ruining my tan.” Good, I didn’t want to share my sunscreen with you anyway, asshole. Why is everyone always mooching off my sunscreen? Anyway. SPF actually means the length of time that you’re protected from the sun. So the higher the SPF, the less often you need to reapply. Also? That SPF 4 that your tanning oil has? Basically stops working the second you put it on. My dermatologist told me anything less than 15 is bullsh*t and you should wear a minimum of 30 on your face/hands daily.
4. Not Reapplying
So SPF is the length of time your sunscreen will work for. However, most idiots think they can apply sunscreen once and then be good indefinitely. That’s just not how it works. You need to reapply every few hours and more frequently if it’s a lower SPF. You also need to reapply if you get wet or sweat at all. It’s pretty easy when you’re at the beach to reapply on your body, but most people don’t reapply their face if they have makeup on. I get it! You’re not redoing all that sh*t and your foundation is expensive. Also, it probably creates a force field hiding your face skin, right? Not necessarily. Unless you really cake on your foundation like a Kardashian, you should reapply. Enter: SPF Setting Spray! This is one of my holy grail products. I keep it in my purse always. A few spritzes and your sunscreen is reapplied and actually preserves your makeup instead of melting it!
Supergoop! x Rebecca Taylor Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50
5. You Don’t Need It If You’re Already Tan
Just because you may not see a burn as clearly does not mean you aren’t absorbing sun damage. Having a “base tan” is a complete myth. You’ll receive the same amount of sun damage as a ghost person like me, even if it is less obvious (or painful, for that matter). However, I’m out here with my SPF 70, so I’m good. It doesn’t matter what your pigmentation is, or if you “never burn”, the sun damages your tissue and you’re just as likely to get cancer or old lady hands. I don’t even know which is worse. So SPF up.
Images: Drew Dau / Unsplash; Giphy (3); Sephora (2)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
Look, I’ll start this article by saying I’m no dermatologist. In fact, I’m like, the opposite—just a girl with a career in fashion and a degree in Communications. Credible, I know. But, regardless, I love me some good research and staying up-to-date on the latest in wellness. (With my greatest claim to “health extraordinaire” being that I switched my whole family over to almond milk before it was a mainstream thing to do so. Am I like, Dr.Oz??? ) That being said, I’ve come across a lot of articles recently about the potentially harmful effects of sunscreen, particularly chemical sunscreens. And, considering as a generation we’re becoming hyper-aware of not only what we’re putting into our bodies, but also on our bodies, I had to dig further into the matter. Especially since I’m like, v into skin care, too. A girl who works in fashion AND also happens to be into skin care?! Who would have thought!?! Did I mention I was in a sorority, too??? But like, believe it or not, I’m actually smart, and in my quest to better my own life and yours, I’m here to share my findings. Here are some suncreens that are not as harmful for you as some of the ones you might see at a drugstore near you.
Attitude Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Okay, so to put it into the most simplistic terms, there are two types of sunscreen: chemical and physical. One uses chemical ingredients that actually absorb the sun’s rays to protect the skin, while the other creates a physical barrier to reflect them. And, as you can probably guess, the better-for-you option here is the one that creates the physical barrier. This is because, with a physical barrier, you’re not absorbing all those potentially harmful chemicals into your skin. There are ingredients in chemical sunscreens that are thought to be endocrine disruptors, which may interfere with thyroid and hormone function. Unfortunately, physical sunscreens, typically mineral sunscreens, tend to be thicker and more pasty, which is a huge deterrent for most people. Fortunately though, nowadays, there are plenty of high quality and more sheer options. You know, so you don’t have to look like Casper the friendly ghost strutting around the beach in your best bikini.
BeautyCounter Counter Sun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30
I know I’m going to crush a lot of souls here, particularly that of middle aged dads everywhere, but spray sunscreens are the worst culprits of the chemical sunscreens. Again, not only do you have to worry about the chemicals soaking into your skin, you also need to worry about breathing them in as well. *Sigh* Must everything in life we love be so bad??? Well, fortunately, no. Switch to a different type of spray sunscreen, such as the one above from BeautyCounter, which is a non-aerosol mineral mist, to help prevent a lot of those potential health risks while still protecting your skin.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30
I don’t know about you, but I’ve trusted Neutrogena with my life. And apparently, quite literally. I’ve been using Neutrogena for my go-to face sunscreen, because if I’m going to put anything on this stunning face of mine, it should be a dermatologist approved skin care brand, right??? Wrong. Apparently, according to the EWG, Neutrogena is one of the top sunscreen brands to avoid because they use high concentrations of hormone disrupting chemicals. What else in my life has been a lie?? Of course, no one wants to be walking around with a white chalky face like a mime, which can be the case with some mineral sunscreens. So, try this one from Drunk Elephant, which is not only sheer, but also protective and even simultaneously addresses other skincare concerns as well.
I know this isn’t what you guys want to hear, but, at the end of the day, the best way to protect your skin and overall health is to minimize the time spent in the sun. Or, if you must go in the sun, primarily protect yourself with clothing and beach accessories. Then, also follow with a mineral sunscreen, applied every hour or so. I mean, I definitely don’t want to be an old wrinkly hag, and I certainly don’t want skin cancer either. (#Priorities.) So, personally, I’ll just be sticking with my trusty self-tanner. Sure, my hands may be orange, but that sure beats the health risks associated with too much sun exposure, or now even with my sunscreens. Thank you, next.
Images: @tomasalas / Unsplash; Attitude Living; BeautyCounter; Sephora
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
As you can probably tell from the title, this skin care diary entry will be less sexy than others we’ve published. Welcome to the world of sensitive skin. I graduated college a little over two years ago, and it’s been an absolute whirlwind watching my skin and metabolism compete over who can deteriorate faster. I’ve never suffered from serious acne (*knocks on every piece of wood in the tri-state area*), but my post-grad skin has offered up plenty of dullness, dryness, and increasingly visible pores. I also developed what I refer to as “my problem cheek,” and my dermatologist refers to as “rosacea.” Basically, one stubborn patch on my face is perpetually red with some bumps—not quite pimples but just not smooth.
Before I finally caved and saw a dermatologist about it, I was convinced I had chronically dry skin and was layering on fancy oil-based serums and thick moisturizers every night. I genuinely believed that the more I spent on a skin care product, the better it was for me. But here’s the honest, tragic truth about my (highly sensitive) skin. Just about anything I do to it beyond doctor-recommended cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer only makes it worse. As my dermatologist explained, the rosacea means that my skin barrier is damaged. So any products I’m applying don’t actually soak in. They just settle in the top layer, creating that fun bumpy texture I was describing.
Long story short, many of the fun, bougie skin care products I’d love to try are off-limits to me. All those “intensely moisturizing” products I used to swear by? They make my oil-prone areas worse, and ultimately clog my pores. Any physical exfoliants just activate my redness-prone rosacea patches. And forget about face makeup. Any time I go for a full face of foundation, or—God forbid—highlighter, which I seem to be allergic to in every brand, I accept that my skin’s overall appearance will take a hit for the next three days. So, I’ve worked very hard to assemble a routine that keeps my sensitive AF skin smooth, even, and pimple-free. If your skin is more dramatic about a change in routine than you are when asked to attend a 9am meeting, read on. Here are the products I’ve found really work.
My sensitive skin every time I try to introduce a new product:
Face Wash: I wash my face morning and night with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. My dermatologist recommended it, and it makes my face feel crazy soft. I’ll double cleanse on days when I bothered to put on make-up, or if I skipped my routine the night before. And while I’m sure that a Clarisonic or the equivalent would make it even more effective, I frankly just do not have the time or patience to use one. Plus, I kind of hate reusable skin care accessories because I’m a germophobe and convinced they’re growing bacteria. This is a problem I imagine could be alleviated by like, cleaning it, but once again I am lazy/perpetually short on time.
Toner: I follow (most) cleanses with Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract toner. In the words of my dermatologist, it’s “not really doing anything,” but she graciously invited me to finish the bottle I’d just purchased. Despite her (rude) commentary, I like the idea of an additional cleansing step while living in the cesspool of dirt known as New York City. Also, it smells refreshing and makes me feel fancy. As I mentioned before, most products that fit that description give me some kind of weird reaction, so I really appreciate the ones that don’t.
Prescription: Once my doc determined that problem cheek = rosacea, I was given a prescription for an azelaic acid called Finacea Foam. It treats the redness and bumps caused by rosacea, and I use it twice a day after cleansing and before moisturizing. While it hasn’t 100% cleared up the problem, I’ve gone from having bumps spread across both cheeks to one small patch (damn you, problem cheek!). The overall texture has also greatly improved, and what was once a weird blotchy redness now shows up as more of a flush after hot showers/working out. Highly recommend.
Spot Treatment: This is not dermatologist-approved behavior, but if I see a pimple coming on I’ll dab some spot treatment with salicylic acid on the area before locking it all in with moisturizer. It’s a little annoying because I have to wait for an additional layer to dry, but fully worth it if you can stop a burgeoning zit in its tracks. If I go a little too nuts and start using it daily I end up getting dry and triggering some redness, but in moderation I find this kind of product to work wonders. My two faves are Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel.
Sunscreen: I use EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 every morning, at my dear dermatologist’s behest. Apparently rosacea can be triggered by sun exposure, so I guess this plays a role in calming it down. Honestly, I struggle to get excited about any product from which I don’t see immediate effects, but I know it’s good for me and I feel lightly smug for using it for that reason. Also, it sinks in quickly enough and replaces my moisturizer in the morning.
Moisturizer: I use CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion every night and some mornings, depending on how dry my skin is feeling. I love it because it’s lightweight, has the same silky feel as their cleanser, and doesn’t sit on top of my skin like all those fancy jar moisturizers I was buying for years did. Does it make me feel rich and chic? No, but it also doesn’t cost me $50 every six weeks, and my skin is way softer. I’ll take it.
Serum: Eminence Facial Recovery Oil. My dermatologist all but begged me to throw this out (in her words, “I don’t think more oil is what you need right now”). But I’ll still dab a little on my forehead every now and then because I can’t help myself. Nose, chin, and cheeks are off-limits for this riskier product, but I’ll mix a little in with my moisturizer and apply to my forehead a few times a week. It smells amazing and my sister swears it’s improved her fine lines.
Morning: Cleanser, toner, Finacea, sunscreen. I have a week-old pimple on my cheek, and last night I put on a bunch of spot treatment and extra Tretinoin on the area, plus Neosporin since I keep picking it open. (Don’t @ me, it works.) The pimple is finally fading from view, but I see two to three more bumps lurking below the surface. Problem Cheek, will you ever set me free??? I’ve tried changing pillowcases, changing what side I sleep on, never holding my phone to that side of my face… nothing works. I take a few pictures in hopes of taking you on a visual journey, but I’m on week 7 of a 10-week shoot and the bags under my eyes/general lifeless demeanor are a little much to take.
Evening: Cleanser, Finacea, moisturizer. No spot cream or toner because I just worked 14 hours. Moisturizer I applied lying down maybe three seconds before passing out. I manage to apply more Neosporin to my cheek spot, though, because at this point I’ve been wrangling it for nearly 10 days and it’s all I can think about. To anyone reading this: do not pick your face until it bleeds, no matter how fun and genuinely helpful it seems in the moment! I fall asleep praying it will heal overnight.
My poor, picked-at skin:
Thursday morning I don’t have to be at work until 9am. This would be better news if it didn’t mean I’ll be there until 11pm. However, the extra time in the morning means I can cleanse, tone, apply Finacea, and put on sunscreen all in the comfort of my home. I’m sad to admit I sometimes apply sunscreen on the subway, which I am aware makes me gross. I have a thing about layering products too quickly. I worry I’m just diluting one product with another if I don’t give them time to dry. If I’m totally wrong on this, PLEASE call me out in the comments. I would love to stop putting on sunscreen with hands that just touched subway poles.
I’m not home until 11:40pm, as expected. As I dutifully cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize, I realize something miraculous. Cheek pimple is, if not totally invisible, highly faded. Neosporin saves the day again. I stare at my nearly clear cheek and think about how I definitely would have skipped washing my face tonight if I weren’t writing this diary. This makes me think I should start journaling my food, too. Then I eat four bite-size candy bars I stole from work and fall asleep.
Today is an exciting skincare day for you all! I’m working from home until 6:30, so I don’t get out of bed until 11. I don’t do anything to my face because I want to work out first, a dream it takes me two hours and 15 minutes of yoga to give up on. I wash my face in the shower, then put on Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. It’s my go-to for all generalist, make-my-skin-look better needs. It’s great for calming down redness and inflammation, improves overall tone, and just makes your skin look clear.
After, my skin is looking the best it has all week. The cheek pimple is totally gone, and those bumps I was complaining about on Wednesday seem to have died down too. I add toner, Finacea, and sunscreen. After sunscreen, I add my new favorite no-makeup makeup product: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. This is the closest thing to foundation I can wear without triggering a breakout, and despite being sheer, I swear to God it visibly blurs away my flaws. Friday night, I cleanse/Finacea/maybe moisturize? I spent my evening getting high and watching Vanderpump Rules, so I honestly don’t remember. I do remember eating a Twix bar at 1am and thinking the single greatest thing I could do for my health is cut down on sugar, so take that as you will.
Me: I should cut down on sugar!
Also me every time I go out:
Saturday morning, I cleanse and tone, and get dressed in a rush waiting for toner to dry. Then I add Finacea and try to find my insurance card for a doctor’s appointment for 10 minutes. Two hours later, I remember to moisturize—hope it still counts for something. No sunscreen today, oops. Saturday night I make a genuine attempt to go out. But I still end up asleep on the couch before midnight. At least I manage to wash my face before crashing. I tell myself I’ll put on Finacea and moisturizer in bed. I don’t.
Sunday morning I’ve slept for an annoyingly long time. I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize—no sunscreen. My skin’s feeling dry since I fell asleep without moisturizing the night before, and I don’t really plan on spending time outside anyway. I go to the movies, where I realize the junk food and half-hearted skin care Saturday has resulted in two new bumps rearing their heads on Problem Cheek. I tell myself I’ll do a mask and spot treatments that night. Instead, I drink two margaritas at 5pm, and barely manage to cleanse/tone/Finacea/moisturize. I suck.
I wake up at 4:30am, regretting Sunday’s margaritas with every bone in my body. I seriously consider quitting my job for five minutes, then get out of bed and cleanse, tone, Finacea, sunscreen. Monday night, I get home “early” (7pm), and treat myself to some salicylic acid spot treatment following my cleanse/Finacea/moisturizer routine. No toner because I’m already tired at the prospect of the spot treatment, but the bumps I saw at the movie theater Sunday don’t seem to be going anywhere on their own.
Tuesday morning I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and liberally apply sunscreen to try and make up for the fact that I don’t have time to apply moisturizer (and wait for it to dry). At work, I read a different skin care diary in which someone who clearly has more money and better skin than me also swears by salicylic acid for clearing breakouts. Even though the salicylic acid product is the only one in her routine I can remotely afford, I allow myself a brief moment of smugness. I also remind myself that fancy $100 skincare items have never done anything but made me break out.
Tuesday night, I cleanse/tone/Finacea, and add more spot gel (Clean & Clear) to those bumps on my cheek. I can’t be sure if they’re actually pimples or just rosacea bumps, but I feel hopeless if I can’t even pretend I’m treating it. I tell myself I’ll moisturize in bed, and as I’m sure you can guess, I do not. At 3am, I wake up, realize my mistake and moisturize. It’s terrible.
All in all, the moral of my not-so-exciting skin care routine is that I’ve (reluctantly) stopped chasing Instagram-perfect skin. And both my wallet and face are a lot happier for it. I don’t use drugstore products because I’m low-maintenance and don’t GAF. I use them because the alternative is spending $78 on a moisturizer that sits on top of my broken skin barrier and makes me break out. So if you have sensitive skin like me, remember that the #1 investment you can make is a dermatologist, and when you’re rich, biannual microneedling and injections. Can’t wait.
Images: Giphy (4)
We all love the ~lewk~ a well-deserved, hard-earned summer glow gives us. Generally, we are just all-around better (and happier) people when we’re slightly bronze. However, regardless of whether we’re three shades darker or still pale AF come August, we’ve got to protect ourselves when it comes to basking in the sun. I mean, looking orange straight out of a tanning bed was cool in the early 2000s, but it’s now 2018 and putting yourself at risk for cancer is like, v uncool. Not to be a total buzzkill and get all mom-like, but we should all be using sunscreen religiously on a daily basis—sun or no sun. While it may seem as though you have to choose between finding a sunscreen that protects you against annoying UV rays or going for a tanning oil instead, life doesn’t always have to be so hard. We can have nice things every once in a while, and those nice things come in the form of tinted sunscreens or tanning lotions with SPF. The best of both worlds do exist, betches. Bless. Here are the best ones to stock up on so you can live your very best tanned life responsibly.
1. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra-Light Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
This oil-free sunscreen has a ton of SPF, which, honestly, can only be a good thing. Despite being SPF 50, it features a natural tint for all skin tones (and all sensitive skin types!) so you can still glow without fear of turning into a lobster. It leaves a matte finish and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. You know, for on the off chance you actually go into the pool.
2. COOLA Sport Tint Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
I admit, sunscreen in a stick sounds reaaally weird. BUT it’s actually like, really smart. This one is perfect for traveling, but also super efficient when it comes to all-over coverage. It boasts 80 minutes of water-resistance, which is effing impressive, and a universal gold tint that enhances your rich tan.
3. Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer SPF 20
I don’t only love this stuff simply because it’s conveniently sold at my beloved Target, but also because it works so damn well. If you love the famous Jergens moisturizer, then you’ll be obsessed with this sunscreen version that’s one of my favorite tanning lotions with SPF. While you lay out on the beach, this will gradually darken your skin tone for a healthy-looking glow and prevent pesky sun damage at the same time.
4. Australian Gold Spray Gel with Instant Bronzer SPF 30
People seriously swear by this. I’m told it like, works wonders, performs miracles, and maybe even does magic or something. While serving as a shield from cancer-causing rays, this gel offers an instant caramel-like bronze glow after application, so you always have a luscious tan regardless of how much time you spent under the sun. It can also become water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, which again, is a really long time to be hitting the waves. So really, it’s a life-savior.
5. Kiehl’s Since 1851 Skin Tone Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
This is legit a total game-changer for all of us who enjoy wearing makeup to the beach. This multi-functioning cream is a skin perfector, sunscreen, and tinted primer all in one. The formula corrects skin imperfections, protects against UV rays with a high SPF 50, and fixes any skin tone irregularities with any of its three shades. It’s v lightweight, hydrating, and buildable, so it works fab under a foundation of your choice. Praise be.
Images: Chelsea Fern / Unsplash; Ulta (2); Sephora (1); Anthropologie (1); Target (1)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
My toxic relationship with sunscreen has been a lifelong thing. I hate it. I hate feeling sticky. I hate accidentally putting it on streaky and ending up with some weird tan lines. And more than anything, I f*cking hate that sunscreen smell. My aversion to the disgusting texture and scent of sunscreen made me not use it for all my teenage years, even though I lived in a beach town. Because of this, I have just accepted my inevitable death via skin cancer. However, now I’m old and more responsible, and I’m also mostly terrified of burning my vampire-white skin and ending up wrinkled. And thankfully, the beauty market has finally caught up and now we have more sunscreen options. They’re light, go on like lotion, and even smell incredible. Here’s a few of the best smelling sunscreens you should buy so you never have to smell like a dirty teenage lifeguard again.
This is my holy grail of sunscreen. Whether you buy a face moisturizer or a body spray, Coola’s sunscreen is light, absorbs quickly, and smells so good. I have the face sunscreen in White Tea (which is my all-time favorite) and the body spray in Guava Mango, and both are amazing. Their SPF ranges from 30-50, and also has other scents including piña colada, cucumber, and coconut. I bought this little travel set for a trip to Hawaii last year for a friend’s wedding and did not burn my porcelain skin, nor did I smell like a baby prostitute.
COOLA Classic Sport Organic Suncare Travel Set
Supergoop! is also an awesome sunscreen brand, with all their products around SPF 50, and all smelling awesome. You can find their formula as a serum, moisturizer, or spray, but my absolute favorite product of theirs in the makeup setting spray, which is also SPF 50. It smells like a super refreshing rosemary and mint and ensures your makeup won’t melt down your face. Plus, you can reapply as much as you want without redoing your makeup, and it’s even a mattefier so you don’t look oily.
SUPERGOOP! Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 50
I like a lot of Tarte’s beauty products, but I got a mini sample from Sephora of this Tarte sunscreen recently, and tbh, I really loved it. Numnber one, the bottle is pretty. Number two, it’s SPF 30. Number three, it smells like lilies and no hint of sunscreen smell. And finally, number four, it’s non-greasy, absorbs quickly, and is super moisturizing, which is super helpful if you’re destroying your skin out in sun day after day.
TARTE Tarteguard 30 Vegan Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30
4. Sun Bum
For my babes on a budget, Sun Bum is a drugstore find that gets the job done and will make you smell like a Hawaiian beach goddess. It’s also non-greasy, non-comedogenic (meaning it doesn’t clog pores), and has an SPF range of 15-70. Its scent is tropical, with coconut and banana. They also have a full line including spray sunscreen, stick sunscreen, SPF lip balm, and after-sun moisturizer.
Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion
5. Hawaiian Tropic
Hawaiian Tropic is a classic, but thankfully they’ve updated their formula so that it goes on just like regular lotion and is super moisturizing. But most importantly, it smells like a refreshing coconut and not nasty sunscreen smell. This is the cheapest one in the bunch. It is long lasting, water-resistant, and perfect for your beach vacation where you’ll be using the entire bottle in a week. Or like, if you’re like me and going no where fun this summer, you can put it on and smell like you’re on an amazing beach vacation, while you drink your poorly made Piña Colada in your sad apartment pool that only gets sunlight for 45 minutes a day at 10am.
Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch, Lotion Sunscreen Ultra Radiance SPF 30
Images: Ryan Christodoulou / Unsplash; Sephora (3); Amazon (2)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
It’s no longer 2009, and thank god, because there were a lot of terrible fads back then, namely, over-tanning. Whether it be from a shitty spray tan or spending too much time in the sun, it’s no longer cute for your skin to look orange and/or like a leather hide. Blessings. However, if you’ve been using the same spray can of Coppertone Sport for the past six years, first of all. throw that shit away. Second of all, it’s time to rethink your strategy. You wouldn’t want a skin care product to be one-size-fits-all, so why should you expect that of your sunscreen? Here’s the best sunscreen for you based on your skin tone, summer goals, and general lifestyle choices.
If You’re Dark-Toned: Moroccanoil Sun Lotion
If you think you’re safe from UV rays because you have a darker skin tone, you are not. Just because it may not always be obvious when you burn, you’re still at risk for fun things like skin cancer and wrinkles. The most important thing when shopping for sunscreen with darker skin (you know, besides SPF) is whether it will leave a disgusting white or blue film all over you. This sunscreen by Moroccanoil goes on clear and doesn’t leave any kind of film on your skin, so you’ll just look moisturized and not chalky. Plus, it’s SPF 50 which means it lasts a lot longer than like, the completely useless SPF 4 tanning oil I used to buy as a teenager. I would tell you how many times longer, but that is math I cannot do.
If You’re Pale AF: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen
Hello, my people. I’m naturally so pale that I am translucent. And if I haven’t been in the sun in a while (which is always), I am guaranteed to burn. I get sunburnt just driving. Like, through my car windows. If you want to make sure those UV rays don’t touch your porcelain skin, get a high SPF (at least 50) and reapply often. That way there is just no chance of it wearing off. Also, wear a hat. And long sleeves. And never go outside.
If You’re Active: Coola Mineral Sport Sunscreen Stick
First of all, why? You like, move on purpose? Sounds fake, but k. If you are extremely active and swim or sweat (gross) or like, run around in circles on the beach chasing some sort of ball (again, I ask you, why???), you need a sunscreen with staying power. Anything that says “sport” in the title is probably a safe bet, like Coola’s Sport Stick. The thicker texture of a sunscreen stick helps it stay on better, plus it’s easier to apply on the go. Also, Coola’s entire brand smells incredible (see below).
If You Hate The Smell Of Sunscreen: Coola Classic Sport Organic Suncare
So this is actually my favorite sunscreen, and I recommend buying the entire kit because it all smells to-die-for amazing. These products don’t have the texture of sunscreen at all—they feel just like lotion, but you won’t burn. You can buy each item individually and they have a few different scents, none of which will make you smell like a baby prostitute. Or like a sunburnt frat-boy surfer like the shit from the drugstore, which is equally important.
If You Always Wear Makeup: Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist
Did you guys know the SPF actually has nothing to do with strength, but with how long the sunscreen lasts? #science. So, if you need to reapply your sunscreen because you’re outside for an extended period of time, there is no larger guarantee that you will not fucking do this than wearing a full face of makeup. Makeup is expensive. It takes time. There is no way I am taking all of this shit off and reapplying just so I can protect my skin. Especially if you’re like me and don’t wear foundation on the reg, your face skin is exposed and at risk. Enter: Makeup Setting Spray with SPF. I fucking love this product. I used it at an entire day of Disneyland to refresh my SPF and for the first time ever, I did not burn. Also, it smells like rosemary and mint and it’s refreshing. 11/10.
If You Wear CC Cream: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream
If you already use a BB or CC cream and you want to speed up your skin prep routine, get one that has sunscreen built in like this SPF 50 CC cream from IT Cosmetics. This has your sunscreen, primer, foundation, and moisturizer all in one. Now you can sleep in an extra, like, what, four minutes? But at least your skin will be protected and you don’t have to buy 50 different products to keep your face in line.
Images: Erii Gutierrez / Unsplash