You don’t have to be a classic rock aficionado to appreciate Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” a chart-topping ode to those glorious summer months we look forward to all year long. Even though this season conjures up blissful mental images of fun in the sun, it can also be one of the most harmful months for our skin (unless, of course, you’re 100% consistent with your beach skin care routine). That’s because unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and immune system. Worse? Besides turning blonde hair a funky shade of green on long pool days, chlorine strips away the skin’s essential oils , opening pores and causing dryness, irritation, and an uncomfortable rash. In short: Our skin really takes one for the team.
Consider this your PSA to play it skin-safe this summer, from covering squishy baby arms to nurturing mature or sensitive skin and everything in between! Here are three ways you can make sure your family’s skin stays healthy and protected all summer long.
1. Cover up the little ones.
Your kid’s skin care is just as important as yours! You’ll definitely want to find the best skin cream for kids, but that doesn’t necessarily mean sunscreen. You should wait until your little one is at least six months old before applying sunscreen, but that doesn’t mean your bundle of joy has to suffer the dreaded FOMO indoors all summer.
Instead, you can keep babies under six months protected by using a combination of:
- Large outdoor umbrellas
- Pop-up portable sunshades
- Lightweight clothes that cover their arms and legs
- A wide-brimmed hat
Make sure your baby’s clothes are breathable and pick a wide-brimmed hat whenever you can. Baseball caps might be cute, but they leave a ton of delicate skin on the back of the head and neck exposed. A wide-brimmed hat provides better coverage and it’s devastatingly adorable on wee ones, so it’s a win/win for everyone.
2. Spread it, don’t forget it!
Everyone needs sunscreen if they plan to be exposed to the sun for extended periods—no matter how much they love catching rays. So, anyone older than six months should apply sunscreen when playtime in the sunshine is on the agenda. And don’t forget the SPF 15 (or greater!) when the sun isn’t shining. Studies show harmful rays can reach us when it’s cloudy or overcast, so throw a tube in your bag even if it's not a perfect beach day.
While the FDA recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher, you’ll want to reach for something a bit higher depending on your unique skin needs . We recommend a minimum SPF between 15 and 50 for your beach skin care routine. Apply and reapply regularly, and remember that a higher SPF isn’t as important as the frequency of applying.
Here’s what to look for in a high-quality sunscreen:
√ SPF 15 or higher for UVB protection
√ UVA protection
√ Water and sweat resistance
√ Kid-friendly ingredients (avoid para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and benzephenones like dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, or sulisobenzone)
√ Expiration date
And it probably goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway): Read the label to make sure you’re using your sunscreen correctly! Not all sunscreens are created equal, so take a minute to learn how to maximize the efficacy of the one in your hand.
Now, here’s how to pick the right stuff:
- Pay attention to your skin type. Acne-prone skin responds best to non-comedogenic ingredients, while dry skin loves ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides and sensitive skin needs a nourishing SPF with hydrating qualities.
- Pick a sunscreen you’ll actually use! If there’s a specific brand you like that offers all the right skin-safe stuff, make that your go-to. And if you can find one with a scent and texture you like on top of all the other benefits? Even better!
- Don’t forget to show your lips some love! Protect them by using a richly textured lip balm with SPF 15 or higher, and reapply regularly when outdoors and especially after swimming or eating.
3. Give back what’s been taken away.
You’ve probably heard that staying hydrated is especially important on active summer days. This age-old advice is true for our physical health and our skin health. Moisturizing in winter is a common step in skincare routines when it’s cold and skin feels dry, but not everyone follows suit on hot summer days, and that’s a pretty huge no-no. The reality is the sun’s harsh rays dry out your skin and take away its natural oils, which leads to increased sebum production that can actually make oily skin worse.
Plus, splashing around in the ocean or doing cannonballs into the pool all afternoon can wreak havoc on skin that’s already working overtime. When you combine outdoor water activities with UVA and UVB rays and forget to hydrate and apply a good moisturizer, you might notice early signs of aging, sun spots, and skin cancer over time. After a refreshing shower to clean away sand, salt, and chlorine, add moisture back to your skin with a gentle, hydrating lotion or cream. Your skin will thank you now and later!
Perfect Your Beach Skin Care Routine
Nothing ruins a beach vacay like getting fried so badly you can’t sleep but making sure you’re protected daily is just as important as loading on sunscreen on fun-in-the-sun days. Skin MD SPF 15 face and body shielding lotions give you the daily protection your skin needs while its natural ingredients work to heal skin conditions at the same time.
Whether you or a family member have sensitive skin or skin that easily burns, you can still enjoy a carefree summer, knowing you have a beach skin care routine that makes sure no one has to suffer the dreaded FOMO due to a wicked sunburn.