As summer settles in, so does imagery of glowing, tan, dewy skin. Whether you wear makeup or not, this season is the perfect time to let your skin breathe! The goal is to allow your skin to reach a natural, summer-glow without damage. I am no official skin expert, but I am a skincare fanatic and can offer you a few general tips that I use to keep my skin healthy. This article is for everyone. Let’s start with our good friend SPF:
Many of us make excuses as to why we don’t need to wear SPF. “It’s greasy and thick.” “I tan easily, so I don’t need it.” “It makes me breakout.” “My makeup already has SPF in it.” The list goes on and on. I was never too fond of sunscreen either – memories of my mother slathering oily, thick goop on my face, leaving me with a white cast comes to mind. Since I am Pakistani and my skin tans easily, I also assumed that I didn’t really need it. I figured sunscreen was meant for my pale friends, the ones who burned their sensitive skin even on cloudy days. Turns out I was young and misinformed! Basically, if you have skin, you should be wearing sunscreen. Yes, even when it’s cloudy! UV rays are powerful; not wearing sunscreen is a fast track to quickly aging and damaging your skin.
Figuring out which sunscreen to use can be daunting – do you pick SPF 30, 50, 75?! Also what the heck do these numbers mean? Do I choose chemical or physical? What’s the difference between UVA and UVB? Let’s break some things down below:
If you don’t know where to begin, start with SPF 30. This is what most dermatologists recommend using, anything more will just add more protection. These numbers are essentially a multiplier for how much time you can spend in the sun without burning – otherwise known as ‘Sun Protection Factor.’ For instance, if you’re someone who would typically burn in 10 minutes with no protection, you can now spend 300 minutes, or 5 hours, in the sun before turning red. Burning skin is your cue that you need to be diligent about reapplying sunscreen for long days in the sun or you need to up your SPF number of choice.
Chemical vs. Physical
Chemical SPF is absorbed into the skin, then absorbs UV rays and converts them into heat which is released from the body. This type usually has a clear, gel-like consistency. If you choose to wear makeup, chemical SPF can provide a more discreet option for your face.
Physical SPF sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun rays off the skin surface. This type is your classic, white sunscreen – it’s usually white due to zinc oxide, the main active ingredient in physical blocks.
UVA vs. UVB
UVB is one type of ray responsible for producing sunburn. Think B for Burn!
UVA is another type of ray – this one plays a role in premature aging, creating sunspots and wrinkles. Think A for Aging!
Most sunscreens protect against UVB but not necessarily UVA. Check the packaging, most sunscreens will specify if they’re broad spectrum or not. Broad spectrum protects from both UV ray types.
A few of my favorite sunscreens:
Glossier Invisible Shield Sunscreen – The “sunscreen for people that hate wearing sunscreen” – This chemical sunscreen is broad spectrum. Plus, it’s clear and lightweight. Win, win!
Missha Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel – A Korean sunscreen with a light, serum-like consistency + you can easily purchase it from Amazon! This SPF would also be categorized as chemical because it doesn’t have a white cast when applied.
Supergoop! Defense Refresh Resetting Mist – This ‘site has a nice selection of chemical and physical sunscreens. The one I’ve linked is a sprayable option, ideal for makeup lovers or anyone looking to quickly reapply sunscreen to your face throughout the day.
2 Double Cleansing
Double cleansing has been a buzzword in the United States recently, but it’s been around for a while. Originating in Korea, it’s a method I personally stumbled upon while searching for ways to clearer, healthier skin. So, what is double cleansing and why is it important? Double cleaning is a two-step cleansing method to ensure all the sebum, SPF, pollutants, sweat, and dirt are cleansed from your face’s skin. The first step entails cleansing with an oil-based cleanser with a water rinse to follow. The second step entails cleansing with a water/gel-based cleanser. That’s it!
When I first read about double cleansing, I was extremely hesitant. I was hesitant because smearing oil all over my face sounded like it would just create more breakouts, not solve them, and my skin type is acne-prone. However, I learned oil attracts oil acting like a magnet to get all the junk out of your face! I can attest that double cleansing really works! I wear SPF and makeup most days, so cleansing properly is crucial. You can make double cleansing a daily routine or just incorporate this process on days that your skin comes in contact with more pollutants, sunscreen, makeup etc.
My go-to cleansers for double cleansing:
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil – An oil cleanser favorite, this one can be found at your local Target. Go for the small travel-size first, if you’re wanting to first test out the double cleansing method on your skin.
Neogen Green Tea Cleanser – This one’s a water-based cleanser intended for a double cleansing routine that I recently started using. If you already have a cleanser incorporated into your skincare routine, try that one out first! You really can use your ‘normal’ cleanser for the second step.
3 Healthy Lifestyle
This step may not be the easiest or quickest to implement and I realize it’s vague, but it’s just as important. During my skincare journey, it became apparent that our skin is a direct response to what’s happening in our bodies, whether it be what we eat, if we’re stressed, or what’s going on with our hormones. Think of your body as a machine and your skin as the output. If your skin is struggling, what is happening internally? Something is out of sorts. To figure out what, you need to listen to your body.
Most people who struggle with their skin find some luck by reducing dairy and sugar intake. Others may find that their gut health is imbalanced, so adding pro and prebiotics into your diet could provide instant help. I love dairy and sugar, but I did try a couple months without dairy and desserts because my acne-prone skin was driving me nuts. Although I wasn’t completely eliminating items from my diet, I did find that my skin broke out less and seemed to be healthier by the end of my trial run. Does this mean I will forever cut out dairy and sugar for perfect skin? Hell no! Everything in moderation though, and this helped me further understand what agents affect my skin.
Beyond what we’re putting into our bodies directly, stress and hormones are two culprits that are always delighted to gang up with your acne nemeses. Is it that time of the month? Is work extra stressful this week? It’s not exactly easy to put your stress or hormones in check. I often experience a cycle of being stressed, then breaking out because of the stress, and then being stressed because I’m breaking out – it never ends! Incorporating pre and probiotics is another solution to fighting this never ending skin battle. If shopping for pre and probiotic groceries doesn’t come naturally to you, there are plenty of supplements that make it easy! I’ll link the one I’m using below!
HUM Skin Squad Pre+Probiotic – This supplement is formulated for acne-prone skin. However, HUM does make other skin-related supplements. Check them out!
Skin is complicated. I wish there was one streamlined easy solution to getting perfect, radiant skin – the skin we all dream of. There is so much to know and learn about skincare, and each skin type is different. However, I really have found SPF, double cleansing, and being aware of my lifestyle to get me most of the way there – and I think it will help you, too! Do I have perfect skin that is completely pimple free now? No, I wish. BUT my overall skin health is better – so, when I do experience a breakout, it heals so much faster! I really hope you find some of these tips to be useful! Remember to listen to your body. Enjoy your time in the sun this summer, but never ever forget your SPF 😉