Summer weather is here—out with the spring showers, and in with the summer sunshine! Whether you’re headed to the beach, the mountains or just hanging out in your own backyard, sun protection is always your best bet.
We asked experts Elizabeth Dehn of the blog Beauty Bets and Minneapolis-based dermatologist Dr. Brian Zelickson about their quick fixes for sunburn and what ingredients (helpful and not) to look out for when choosing your protective products.
Did you know staying hydrated helps heal sunburn? Or that certain ingredients can increase your sensitivity to the sun? We didn’t either, but now we do! Read on to find out more.
How should you prep your skin before sun exposure?
Elizabeth Dehen: Apply sunscreen before you go in the sun. Don’t be stingy! Use a tablespoon of sunscreen of at least an SPF 25 on your face and a thick layer on your body. Don’t forget your lips, hands, feet, ears and scalp.
Dr. Brian Zelickson: It’s also important to keep in mind the best clothing for maximum protection and comfort for whatever your activity may be. Large brimmed hats, UV protective lip balm, UV filtered sunglasses, lightweight and long-sleeved clothing should be a part of your sun exposure arsenal.
What is a no-brainer quick fix for sunburn?
Elizabeth: A cool, milk compress applied to the burned area will instantly calm skin and reduce swelling. Then, slather yourself in Burt’s Bees’ Soothingly Sensitive Body Lotion with Aloe & Buttermilk (I like to keep mine in the fridge!).
Dr. Zelickson: Most mild sunburns can be treated with hydration—drink plenty of cool liquids and apply cool compresses and non-irritating lotion or Aloe Vera. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone or oral antihistamine, like Benadryl, can also be used to reduce mild swelling and itching.
What are your favorite skin safety products from Target.com? Why?
Dr. Zelickson: Target is literally a one-stop shop for sun protection from head to toe. Here are just a few of my favorite skin safety products:
Elizabeth: Here are a few of my favorites:
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblocks are made for sunscreen-phobes. They’re whisper-light, non-tacky and won’t leave you looking like Casper. Lavanilla Healthy Baby Block SPF 40 is all natural, packed with vitamins and antioxidants and works for the whole family.
- Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer SPF 20 does it all: hydrates, protects and leaves skin gradually golden with daily use. Kind of perfect, no?
- I adore the entire Yes To line, and Yes to Cucumbers Natural Sun Stick SPF 30 is no exception. Portable, multi-tasking and water-resistant!
What beauty ingredients or chemicals increase photosensitivity?
Elizabeth: Retinols, skin lighteners and acids increase skin’s photosensitivity, making it all the more important to use a high SPF and wear a hat! Consider skipping products that contain these ingredients in the summer, or use them only at night to minimize sensitivity.
Dr. Zelickson: Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Kojic Acid, Licorice Extract, Benzoyl Peroxide, Hydroquinone and Retinol increase your photosensitivity.
Does your skincare routine change during the summer months?
Elizabeth: Yes! Contrary to popular belief, it’s hot and humid in Minnesota all summer, which means I need less moisture. Instead of an oil-based serum and rich cream, I can get away with a moisturizer with SPF (love the light-diffusers in Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30. My t-zone is also prone to shine this time of year so I don’t go anywhere without Sonia Kashuk Matte Blotting Papers.
Is it safe to cover up sunburn with makeup? If so, what products or ingredients are best to use?
Elizabeth: Yes! Mineral makeup with an SPF won’t clog pores and also adds an additional layer of protection from sun damage. Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder Foundation SPF 20 is great for touch-ups throughout the day.
Dr. Zelickson: If the sunburn is not severe, then it’s fine to cover it up. Use products made for sensitive skin to minimize any further irritation. For ultimate comfort, reach for a cream or lotion-based makeup like Sonia Kashuk Radiant Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15.
Best way to fake a tan?
Elizabeth: Don’t be afraid of self-tanner! The key is to exfoliate first to avoid those dreaded streaks and lines. I’m a huge fan of J.R. Watkins Coconut Scrub, an exfoliator that also keeps skin moisturized—equally essential for maintaining your faux glow.
Dr. Zelickson: The truth is, some people feel and look better with a little color. Luckily, there are many options these days to fake a great tan in a safe and budget-friendly way. Try a spray tan or Neutrogena Micro Mist Tanning Spray or Pixi Bronze Bloom Trio-No. 1 Bronzette.
Now you’ve got all of the tools to build the best skincare regimen to protect you from the summer rays!