Summer is almost upon us, which means that your travels are probably taking you someplace where you’ll be enjoying the great outdoors. And odds are you’ll be visiting an area that your skin is not used to, whether it’s a high altitude area, an arid (or humid) climate, or a seaside locale with plenty of water for reflecting the sun. While you certainly deserve a little R&R, your skin deserves protection from the sun—and preventing a sunburn can ensure that you enjoy your vacation to the fullest. Here are my five simple tips to protect your skin from the sun while traveling.
1. Know the SPF and UPF basics.
Although you’re using your SPF as part of your skincare routine each morning (right?), you definitely need even stronger protection for days spent at the beach or by the pool. A higher SPF is in order for prolonged exposure, and it’s imperative that you reapply after swimming, sweating, or being in the sun for more than an hour. Pick up an advanced formulation like the new SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50, or Aveeno Hydrosport. UPF is the term used for sun protective clothing, with a similar rating system to SPF.
2. Pack smart to save space with travel-sized sunscreen.
Sunscreen naturally should be at the top of your packing list, but if you’re concerned about space in your bag (or trying desperately to avoid baggage fees) remember that your hotel’s gift shop is likely to be stocked with a variety of offerings.
Everything on 3floz.com is TSA-approved, and they have a great selection of sunscreens for your summer travels, including products from Ahava, First Aid Beauty, Supergoop!, DDF, and more. You can also stock up on travel-sized products that are perfect for your skin by visiting SkinTypeSolutionsStore.com, selecting your skin type and clicking on "travel sizes."
3. Consider defensive clothing for your travels.
You’re probably going to need more than a bottle of sunblock if you’re basking in the sun this summer. Consider this fact: A regular white t-shirt offers about SPF 5, which isn’t going to help you avoid sun damage caused by UV rays. Instead, pick up a few pieces of clothing with UPF 50 to give you maximum sun protection. I’m loving a new line called Mott 50, which offers super-cute dresses, t-shirts, and cover-ups (there are offerings for men, too!) so you can look chic while practicing safe sun. Prices range from about $50 to $150, but these pieces take you from the beach to dinner and dancing in style. You can also infuse sun protection into the clothing you already own with a product like SunGuard. Just mix a $2 packet in when you do laundry and it infuses clothes with UPF 30.
4. Don’t forget your accessories.
No summer sun protection arsenal is complete without a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. A big hat ensures that your face is shielded from the sun, and protects areas that we inevitably miss with sunscreen. And when it comes to sunglasses, look for a wrap-around style that protects the entire area around the eyes. These two accessories not only look fashionable, but also help prevent wrinkles and other signs of sun damage.
5. Treat sunburn properly.
In the event that you do get a sunburn (it happens to the best of us), you can follow these steps to speed relief. Apply a lotion with aloe to soothe and hydrate the skin. I like Burn Jel, but most hotel gift shops sell some sort of aloe vera gel or lotion. Then, drink green tea and take an antioxidant supplement—500 mg of vitamin C twice a day will do the trick—to help prevent free radical damage to your cells. You can also take ibuprofen every four hours to reduce discomfort and redness.
With the right sunscreen, clothing, and accessories, both you and your skin can have a beautiful summer vacation. Safe travels!