Longer days, beach trips and BBQs make summer a time for rest, relaxation and just plain fun—but don’t tell that to your skin. The days spent in the sun can wreak havoc on your skin, particularly if you flaked and forgot sunscreen one (or more) times.
“There are numerous issues you can encounter when you have burned skin, tanned skin. There can be breakouts, dryness, hyper-pigmentation,” said Jennifer Schey, of Marotta Plastic Surgery Specialists, a licensed esthetician for nearly 20 years.
And, especially if you’re a total beach bum like many Long Islanders, your post-summer skin texture may be closer to that of a tire than your newborn niece’s face. This fall, re-friend your skin with Schey’s pro tips for post-summer skincare.
If Skin is Still Burned…
You fell asleep on the beach and woke up looking like a lobster. Don’t bury your face in your hands in frustration—it’ll probably hurt. “For someone with sunburn, you really want to treat your skin very gingerly. Your skin needs time to heal.” Stay away from exfoliating products because there’s very delicate skin forming beneath that burn. Instead, slather on aloe, which calms skin and takes some of the heat away. Then, live and learn. “The most important thing to take away from sunburned skin is to remember you were sunburned and how much pain you may have been in and that you want to make sure in the future you’re going to be covered.” Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors and put reminders in your phone to reapply every two hours.
Dry or Rubbery Skin
Once skin is healed, it’s safe to get back to using exfoliating cleanser. Schey also recommends using a retinol. “As we age, the natural exfoliation process slows down. We want to encourage exfoliation with certain products.” Retinols work extra to smooth out the texture of the skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and even out skin tone. A word of advice: only use retinols at night because they make you sun-sensitive.
Don’t Forget These Parts
It may be easiest to recognize sun damage on the face, especially during cooler months as we start to cover up. But Schey says the hands and neck often show more signs of damage and aging. She suggests using the same exfoliating regiment on the hands and neck as the face. People can apply same products to their necks as they do on their faces. Brands like SkinMedica and PCA have lines of serums, gels and creams that can be used anywhere on the body to brighten complexion and reduce signs of aging. Lips are also prone to often-unnoticed sun damage. Look for products with peptides, which strengthen the skin.
Glow Like a Goddess
It’s possible to keep a healthy glow even as temps dip but be patient. “As your skin is tanned, dead skin builds up. Exfoliation…will bring new skin that will brighten your look but short-term, you will lose some of that complexion.” Try a self-tanner such as Jergens, which Schey loves because it’s not heavy and gives a sun-kissed look while moisturizing at the same time. Highlighters also do the trick.
Keep Using Sunscreen
Just because beach days are waning doesn’t mean the need for sunscreen is. UV rays are dangerous in the winter, too, especially for those who have office windows, trek from the subway to work, or spend long times commuting in the car. Schey advises to find a sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium oxide. “Those ingredients are going to give you full-spectrum protection from UVA, UVB, infrared heat and any kind of fluorescent, ultra-violet rays.”