Health & Fitness
Summer’s Coming…Are you prepared?
April 25, 2017
Ahh! Summer is approaching, and you feel so ready for it. Ready to have some fun at the beach, to laze around in a hammock, to enjoy flirty moments at the pool bar... You got your body in shape and found the perfect new bikini, so what more could you need? Well, how about some suncare essentials and summer beauty products to help keep your skin safe, healthy and beautiful?
Protection from free radicals
Too much sunlight is harmful and can damage the skin. In fact, sun exposure can put your skin under a lot of stress. The body’s biggest organ (the skin) has to activate its entire alarm system to defend itself from the damaging ultraviolet sunlight. Vitamin E, vitamin C, and the Co-enzyme Q10 (Co-Q10) are antioxidants that fight damaging natural substances known as free radicals. Scientists have examined the content of vitamin E, vitamin C, and Co-Q10 on the skin after sun bathing, and they found almost none. Therefore, it is good to build up protection even weeks before you plan to go to the beach. There are sun creams and body lotions that contain antioxidants such as vitamin E and Co-Q10 – and both of these ingredients can be built up in the skin, thus preparing it to better defend itself from the sun rays. When you’re in the sun, continue to apply sunblock cream that contains Co-Q10 such as those from Nivea and Alcina, or ones that contain vitamin E such as those from Biotherm, Nivea, and Estée Lauder.
If your idea of a perfect summer day is to sleep in until 11am, take a leisurely breakfast until noon and then go to the beach, then think again. There is no sunscreen that can protect your skin from sunburn between 11am and 3pm, when the sun rays are strongest. So stay out of the noonday sun. Instead, try to spend maximum one hour in the sun either in the morning or late afternoon, and stay underneath an umbrella or a tree for the rest of the time. But beware, palm leaves and umbrellas don’t protect you one hundred percent from the sun, so lather on sunscreen anyway. Use one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.
A waterproof sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays is a must at the beach, especially if you’re a beach-volleyball addict or a passionate swimmer. To ensure maximum protection, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before being in the sun so it can be absorbed by the skin and is less likely to wash off when you perspire. Make sure to reapply sunscreen after swimming or strenuous exercise. Waterproof oil-free sunscreens are available from Clarins (Gelée Solaire Haute Protection), La Roche-Posay (Anthélios Waterproof), Lancaster (Waterproof Oil-Free Gel Sport) and Vichy (Capital Soleil).
Protection for sensitive skin
If your skin is allergic to sunscreens, natural products can be of great help. Sunblock creams containing natural micro pigments act as a mirror and reflect the sunlight (available from Shiseido). The disadvantage is that these creams are usually quite thick and not easy to apply. However, there are new sunblock creams that contain a mix of natural ingredients and chemical filters which make the creams easier to apply (available from Avène). Make sure to also use a sunscreen that is gentle to the eyes, such as Bioderma’s Sunprotection Eyecontour SPF 30.
The hands are usually more exposed to the sun than other parts of the body. Dark spots and wrinkles on the hands are the result of too much sun. Using a hand cream that contains a sunblocking agent, such as LeClerc anti-aging and anti-dark spot hand cream, can help to prevent wrinkles and dark spots from appearing. And if you like to wear sandals or flip flops, then lather some of that cream on your feet as well.
Hair care in the sun
The sun, salt water, and wind can cause your hair to be dry, fragile, and to lose its color. Using the right hair products can prevent these problems. Rather than using hair styling products in the summer, try using a gel that contains Panthenol, such as Bonacure Sun from Schwarzkopf, or a rich conditioner such as Nivea Sun. Highlighted or bleached hair needs a rich hair mask, which should be applied before going to the beach as well as after the day in the sun. Products containing aloe vera or sheabutter (from Wella) provide additional care for the scalp and make the hair shiny. If you don’t like to wear a hat at the beach, then remember that your hair is the only sun protection you have for your scalp. The scalp becomes more exposed to the sun when the hair is wet, or if you have fine hair. Therefore, it’s recommended to use a waterproof, oil-free sunblock fluid or spray to protect your scalp. Fluids are available from Estée Lauder and sprays from Ambre Solaire.
Makeup in the summer sun used to be a problem, but not anymore! For the face, use a long-lasting foundation (from Maybelline, L’Oréal or Revlon) and some glitter powder in a cappuccino tone, instead of rouge, on your cheeks and décolleté (Revlon). Compact sun powders are a good idea for people with a tan – just give a blush on the cheeks, the nose, front, and chin (Sun Powder from Dior or Lancaster). As for your lips, apply fixing powder on them to make the lipstick color last, and use a lip balm with sunblock before you go out in the sun. For eye makeup, try an eye shadow with a cooling effect (from Nivea Beauté, L’Oréal, Yves Saint Laurent) and a waterproof mascara (available from Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel).
Exposure to prolonged sunlight can damage the eyes. A pair of sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat will help protect your eyes – and they’re a fashion statement too! Always wear them at the beach and also in the mountains because the sun rays are more powerful at higher altitudes.
Some of the ingredients found in perfumes, such as lemon oil and cedar oil, can cause skin irritation or even dark spots when worn in the sun. Therefore, it’s best to use special sun perfumes in the summer. Try a perfume that doesn’t contain alcohol so it doesn’t dry your skin. These include Eau d´Été from Dior, Alcohol-free Summer Fragrance from Jean Paul Gaultier, Soleil & Lune D’Issey from Issey Miyake, or Sun from Jil Sander.
After-sun creams, lotions and sprays are great to calm down irritated skin. They contain vitamin E, aloe vera (which has a cooling effect), Echinacea, and other natural ingredients. Lotions from Sans Soucis or Santaverde contain pure aloe vera. If your skin suffers from sunburn, use a lotion that can save it from further damage, such as Posterios from Roche-Posay, Après-Soleil from Bioderma or Santé Soleil from RoC.