My past vacations have almost always resulted in one tragic mistake: not applying enough sunscreen. With an Irish heritage, I have always been on the light-skinned side. Too often, I pushed my limits and came home red as a lobster. Not to mention I've highly increased my chances of getting skin cancer. As I've grown a bit older and wiser, I've become an avid sunscreen re-applier and skin paranoia enthusiast. Instead of making repeat mistakes, I've been looking after my skin like I would a family member. On my recent vacation to Puerto Rico, I partook in vacation activities with my skin's interest in mind. I did get some color, but mostly through the bold visuals on the streets of Old San Juan. Here are some tactics and a favorite product of mine to aid you through those tempting sunny days. Mostly common knowledge, but also a nice reminder.
1. Sunscreen, duh. I love Blue Lizard sunscreen because of how smooth it feels on my skin, and it also acts as a brightener (at least I think so). It contains Zinc Oxide - the stuff that saves your skin from UVA rays (aging rays), and not just from burning. Only look for products that contain Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Stabilized avobenzone, or Mexoryl RX – these are the ingredients that will provide UVA protection, according to Jessica Wu's Feed your Face.
2. Black Tea Therapy. If you do get a really bad burn that causes swelling, take an ibuprofen to bring it down. Slather as much aloe vera as you can and stay out of the sun! You can also try a DIY trick that has helped me in the past: Buy black tea bags, soak 3 of them in lukewarm water. Soak a soft towel in the black tea water and pat the towel on your burn. Allow your skin to absorb it. Repeat. It can help reduce redness and minimize pain. You can pick up the tea bags at Walgreens for five dollars, Tazo black tea works as well. And then hey, bonus – tea to drink later.
3. Hats off to Hats. Wear a big hat, like this one! Or this one! The shade from the hat will cover your face, as well as provide sun protection so that you aren't left with a sunburned scalp, that causes skin to peel in your hair. Who wants to be the girl with the dandruff, anyway? Yikes.
4. Watch your back. If you go snorkeling, be wary of your back getting burned. Just because you are under water doesn't mean you're safe. Water's reflectiveness can boost UV rays. Apply a waterproof, high sunblock liberally all over. If you can, wear a rash guard shirt for serious protection.