Sunkissed AND Sun-protected: How To Get That Summer Glow Without The Sun Damage
Posted by Anita Sun
Ahh, summer. For many, it’s the best time of the year. There’s lazy days spent laying on the beach, tons of sunshine, and that sun-kissed glow we all crave that screams “summer has arrived.”
But while that summer glow may look fierce, you’re not doing your skin any favors if that glow goes hand-in-hand with lasting sun damage. Because once that “kissed by the sun” effect fades, you can find yourself dealing with dark spots, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, dull, dehydrated skin…
Not exactly the glow you had in mind.
But it IS possible to get the sunkissed look you crave without the nasty side effects of too much sun. You just need to know the rules for summer skin.
Here’s how to get that summer glow without the sun damage:
The first rule of summer skin is ALWAYS protect yourself.
Wearing an SPF every day should be a non-negotiable year round. But during the summer, when days are longer and the sun is stronger, it’s more important than ever to slather sun protection on your skin.
But what kind of sunscreen should you be using? And what level of SPF do you REALLY need?
There are two types of sunscreen: chemical and physical.
Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients (typically zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) that sit on the surface of the skin and act as a shield, bouncing UV rays off the skin. Physical sunscreens are typically thicker than chemical and are a better fit for people with sensitive skin.
Chemical sunscreens contain organic, carbon-based compounds (like oxybenzone or avobenzone) that convert UV rays into heat and then release the heat off the skin. Chemical sunscreens are typically thinner and spread a bit easier on the skin (just make sure to wait 20 minutes before heading outside; it takes a few minutes for chemical sunscreens to become active).
Physical and chemical sunscreens each have their pros and cons; physical sunscreen works immediately when you put it on the skin (no wait time necessary), but it can rub or sweat off the skin easily, meaning you’ll need to reapply it often throughout the day. The mineral ingredients can also give it a chalky appearance on the skin, meaning it’s not the best fit for under makeup (unless you’re going to a summer costume party and making an appearance as Casper the Friendly Ghost). Chemical sunscreen is invisible under makeup, making it a better fit for everyday wear, but it can cause irritation on sensitive skin types (and the higher the SPF, the higher the risk of it causing a reaction).
Whichever sunscreen you decide is the best fit for you is fine, just make sure you WEAR it. Every single day, no ifs, ands, or buts. For normal daily wear (like when you’re heading to the office or out running errands), an SPF 30 is fine. But on those days you spend hanging out at the beach or at a neighborhood barbecue, up the coverage to SPF 50.
Once you’ve got your sunscreen on, don’t think you’re done protecting yourself! In order to continue to protect your skin, you need to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day. Aim for every two hours (more if you’re sweating or swimming).
If you’ve got a full face of makeup on and don’t want to take it off in order to reapply your sunscreen (and let’s be real - who wants to deal with that?!), a mineral powder sunscreen (like this gem from Peter Thomas Roth) goes on right over makeup, giving you the protection you need without screwing with your flawless foundation application.
Your Glow Should Come From A Bottle, Not UV Rays
Now, we’ll be honest with you - a side effect of protecting your skin from the sun is that your skin won’t darken and give you the stereotypical summer glow you’re craving.
But that’s ok. Because why get your summer glow from the sun (and all the damage that comes along with it) when you can get it straight from a bottle?
There are SO many products out there that will give you the sunkissed look you crave without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays (and all their not-so-fun side effects).
Try a CC cream that adds a subtle bronze finish to the skin, like the Marcelle Golden Glow CC Cream (bonus - it contains SPF 35!).
Or, if you’re looking for a deeper, I-spent-the-summer-on-a-yacht look, try an at-home self-tanner (Vita Liberata has a cult-level following among self-tan enthusiasts and has formulations created specifically for the face). Just make sure to rock your SPF over your self tanner; just because your skin looks bronzed doesn’t mean you’re immune from sun damage and the majority of self tanners on the market don’t offer any sun protection.
Now, if you’re determined to get a glow the old-fashioned way, you CAN tan and minimize your risk of sun damage. If you want a sunkissed flush on your face (that comes from the actual sun), try wearing a lower SPF when you’re outside for extended periods (SPF 30 or SPF 40 should do the trick). Or try a tinted SPF, like SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 34, which will offer a natural tint to the skin while you’re waiting for your real tan to catch up. This multi-tasking product offers protection from UVA, UVB, and Infrared rays, has a low enough SPF that you can slowly build color as the summer progresses, AND gives your skin a natural tint while you wait for your tan to build naturally.
What To Do When The Damage Has Already Been Done
Now, we get it. Even the most careful sun worshipers occasionally find themselves dealing with a nasty sunburn. Whether you forget to apply your SPF or you fell asleep on the beach and forgot to reapply (thanks, beach-side margaritas!), it happens to the best of us.
If you find yourself dealing with a painful, red, sunburned face instead of the sunkissed glow you were after, it’s time to do some damage control.
What your skin needs after a sunburn is some serious TLC. The DERMOVIA Lace Your Face Calming Chamomile will soothe and repair the skin thanks to chamomile extract, aloe vera, and apple stem cell. Once your skin has had a chance to heal, follow up with a Brightening Bearberry to reverse any lingering sun damage and restore your pre-burn glow.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a summer glow. The key is to be sunkissed AND sun-protected. Because when that sunkissed summer look comes without any pesky sun damage, that’ll keep you glowing well into the winter.