This article is sponsored by Mychelle! The best sunscreen eva!
As a life-long sun worshiper, I love getting my Vitamin D on. But since my move to Austin, I’ve been really curious to learn more about ways to protect my skin (sans-creepy chemicals!) in an extended Summer-like environment!
I’ve enlisted the help of some of my fave skincare gurus to guide us through these next few months of outdoor lyfe without the burn!
My 3 fave ways be extra kind to your skin are:
1.) Mychelle Sunscreen.
I’ve been using Mychelle for over 12 years. They are a really pure brand, and found easily at healthfoods stores everywhere, or online. I love their spray, and their facial creams, and have been recently enjoying their spf sticks!
As my go-to sunscreen, I dig that they use minerals to reflect the sun, rather than chemicals that are absorbed into the skin (the experts will tell you more about that below). It’s also vegetarian (yay!) and cruelty-free (a must). They use anti-aging peptides and dermatological ingredients, meaning their product really is skin CARE, not just “sunscreen.”
2.) A big ‘ol hat!
In a way, you could call a hat “physical sunscreen”. It’s the best for breakout-prone skin, too 😉
3.) Some shades!
Protect those shining eyes of yours!
And now, a word from our expert skin-kweens (YASSS!):
What’s your non-negotiable summer skincare step?
JD: I always protect my face and neck. I use moisturizer every morning anyway so why not make sure it contains zinc oxide?
SM: Here are a few things I do specifically for my summer skincare steps:
– To dress in light LAYERS as the first line of defense for sun (which isn’t always practical. but when possible)- ideally light organic fabrics that cover skin as well.
– HATS are amazing as well – fashionable and functional for sun protection.
LK: Sunscreen!! Although it’s a year-round non-negotiable recommendation that I make to all of my clients. 90% of premature aging is caused by UV rays emitted from the sun. Sunscreen creates a shield of protection and should be included in your daily routine.
AR: Obviously, sun protection is going to be vital when it comes to loving and caring for your skin in the summer months. But with the increase in humidity, I’d also say it is important to have the right cleanser to wash away excess oil, sweat and makeup after hot summer days. We love our cleansers from Botnia, a female-owned, plant-based business out of San Fransisco that creates their incredible formulations straight out of their happy in-house California garden. With ingredients like goldenseal, willow bark, chamomile and hyaluronic acid you can’t go wrong, and your skin is left feeling fresh and perfectly balanced.
What are your favorite diet and lifestyle tips for happy summer skin?
JD: This is definitely the time of year to pump up anti-oxidants, polyphenols, and omega 3 fatty acids. Luckily, that’s easy in the time of juicy fruits. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods and anti-oxidants can help prevent DNA damage caused by UV rays. Consider that pile o blueberries or cuppa matcha your skin prescription.
– Eat lighter – think fruits and veggies with high water content that just FEEL refreshing such as cucumbers and watermelon
– I love mixing natural flavors into water: lemon water, cucumber water, water with berries – just to drink more water while enjoying light flavors.
– Avoid fried foods, especially in the summer. Fried food + summer heat = skin that is congested from the inside out.
– Summer is a time when many fruits and veggies are in abundance so try and eat what is in season and local to get the highest nutritional value in your food.
– I am a big fan of lassi – a yogurt based drink that I dilute with water, salt and pepper. You can make it sweet too – its full of probiotics.
– Definitely take sun in moderation or else there is only so much your skin can constantly be deflecting UV rays – which is why I think hats and light layers are so good if you want to be out and about for hours.
– I do a weekly 4 step facial routine with my own product line (Cleanse, Exfoliate, Mask, Moisturize) at home and notice in the summer it is especially good to do because of the added grease and grime from the heat.
– I am a fanatic of using natural ingredients, often found in the kitchen and using them for skincare. Thus, for summer skincare, from your kitchen, you can try strawberry juice for brightening, tomato juice to soothe skin (it also provides mild sun protection) as well as turmeric for the same reasons – to soothe, brighten and mildly protect skin from the sun.
LK: Water, water, water. Drink it – 2 liters a day, it is so easy to get dehydrated in the heat and humidity. Eat it – watermelon, tomato, cucumber – your local farmers market has tons of water to eat! Get in it – swim, surf, paddle board, float, lakeside, poolside, ocean side. Summer is my fave for happy skin!!
AR: Balance is important. If you are more active in the summer remember to rehydrate. If you’ve had a long day in the sun don’t overdo exfoliants. Your skin may already be compromised, and you don’t want to increase your sun-sensitivity by overusing physical scrubs or acids. Also, take it easy on cosmetics. We find a swipe of mineral powder from a super clean line like Lily Lolo will even out your skin without contributing to oiliness or causing skin congestion. Plus it feels weightless and provides a natural SPF 15.
Is a sunscreen habit necessary year-round?
JD: This is totally personal and depends on many factors. How much or little melanin does your skin have? Where do you live and what’s your daily lifestyle? I think it’s really important to develop a personal relationship with the Sun. I use a facial moisturizer with zinc year-round but don’t use anything on my body in the winter unless I’m on vacay. That being said I live in Kansas City and work in a dark cave all day. If I lived in, oh say, Austin, Texas and rode my bike around town all day I’d prolly use something on my shoulders.
SM: I am torn about this one. In theory, yes. However, in practice, sunscreens are often thicker and in general the texture isn’t as pleasant as a non-sunscreen moisturizer. Thus, I do not wear a sunscreen year round. I should mention that I just moved to Southern California after 10 years in NYC, so ask me in a few months and my answer may differ – it is SUNNY here!
LK: Absolutely, our face, neck and decollate are exposed to UVA (suns aging rays) and UVB (suns burning rays) year-round. Get into the habit of applying sunscreen daily to age gracefully.
AR: I would say when it comes to face, neck and chest my answer is yes. Sun aging is accumulative. One of the best anti-aging products we can use is sunscreen. If you are spending extended periods of time in the sun then go ahead and apply SPF all over. Remember though it’s not about having the highest SPF you can find. A lot of those 50-60+ SPF are really marketing gimmicks. Properly applying and reapplying is the key. I also think there is a great deal of misinformation out there about how much or how little time we need under the sun. 10-15 minutes in shorts and a tank will give you all the Vitamin D your body needs, plus you can supplement with foods high in Vitamin D such as fish and mushrooms.
Does your summer skincare advice differ for people with different skin colors, and if so, how?
JD: I’d give the same advice to people of color. People with darker skin tones may not sunburn as easily as their fair friends but they’re still susceptible to sun damage. I recommend daily zinc sun protection for anyone who wants to maintain an even skin tone and avoid hyperpigmentation. The tinted moisturizer with SPF from 100% Pure comes in a wide range of tints.
SM: Yes and No. The lighter the skin color, the more there is an assumption to use a really high SPF. The darker the skin color, the more there is an assumption that the skin is naturally protected, to some degree, from the color of the skin.
Here is the thing: the higher the SPF is not really that much more effective in protecting the skin from the sun’s rays (the number indicates what % of the UV rays are being blocked, so the difference between a SPF 15 and 45 and actually about 4.5% different, vs the numerical difference of 30 between the SPF 15 and 45 – the SPF 15 is blocking 1/15th of the suns rays which is about 6.7% and the spf 45 is blocking 1/45 of the suns rays which is about 2.2% of the rays coming into your skin. The EWG (environmental working group – a wonderful resource to get educated and aware about skincare) actually was working to ban SPF 50 because of how misleading it can be. And actually, people who wear higher sunscreen sometimes think they need to use less or re-apply less, leading to more damage in the long run.
Thus, with lighter skin, the main concern is actually getting a sunburn, which is a pretty immediate reaction to too much harmful sun exposure. With darker skin, a main concern about the sun is hyperpigmentation, which is a longer term result of harmful UV rays into the skin. Thus, though the concerns are very different, the treatment should be in line with how I feel about skincare in general: a slow, steady and consistent approach (using a mineral SPF 15 sunscreen) is the way to go.
LK: Summer skin care is universal – no matter your skin tone you can benefit from protection, good skin care and nutrition… Darker skin tones are still susceptible to damage from the sun at a cellular level. Rules of protection apply to everyone!
AR: Remember that all skin needs sun protection including women of color. Even if your skin will “tan.” A tan is actually a sign of damage. Don’t buy into the big lie of achieving a “base tan” as a means of protection.
Any special summer skincare tips for sensitive and breakout prone skin?
JD: Know your breakout triggers. For many people, coconut oil can cause breakouts. I would look for lighter, friendlier oils like sunflower or jojoba. Also, no matter your skin type, always wash your face at night. This is especially true if you use sun protection but also because you’re more likely to have a buildup of sweat, dirt and environmental toxins from outdoor life in the summer.
SM: For sensitive skin: Use a good night moisturizer to give your skin an extra boost of protection from the harsh sun, especially since with using a sunscreen during the day, your skin will not reap the benefits of a high-quality non-sunscreen cream. May I recommend: ShaffaliNeem + Neroli Facial Moisture: Neem is a super ingredient for the skin because of how soothing is it while being super antibacterial simultaneously. Neroli is calming both for the mind and the skin – it is truly one of the most intoxicating (and luxurious ie expensive) floral essential oils.
For breakout prone skin: Use an exfoliant gentle enough to use daily in order to keep away the accumulation of extra summer grime, sweat and dirt, which can exacerbate a breakout. May I recommend: Shaffali Pineapple + Peppermint Facial Exfoliant. This exfoliant with fruit enzymes of papaya and pineapple is even good to use for skin that is experiencing a breakout – because just applying it like a mask will let the fruit enzymes do their work. If you don’t have a breakout and are simply avoiding a future breakout, the product is great to massage into the skin in order to feel the effect of the jojoba beads. This is our best selling product and has been written up as a superstar product for men as well, especially before shaving to get a smoother shave with no ingrowns.
LK: I may sound like a broken record, but sunscreen! It’s for everyone. Sensitized skin will potentially be even more reactive in the sun, so top that sunscreen off with a wide-brimmed hat and don’t stay out too long. Acne prone skin is typically sensitized skin, so the same mindfulness to sun habits will be imperative. As well as a good basic routine of skincare that is right for the individual’s skin type. Getting that sunscreen off at night might be as important as putting it on!
AR: Those prone to rosacea or general redness may want to also wear a great hat when poolside. Take care of sun-sensitive capillaries with the addition of antioxidants in your skincare products. And if you find yourself with more breakouts in summer I’d recommend a good spot treatment. Sulphur is our favorite spot treatment ingredient as it works quickly to heal the skin and reduce redness without being too drying. Botnia has a great mask with super-healing sulphur and soothing colloidal oats that can work wonders for problem areas.
Can you comment on the difference between natural sunscreen such as zinc vs. chemical sunscreen?
JD: Chemical sunscreens are known to mimic hormones disrupting thyroid function and hormonal balance. They’re also implicated in killing our coral reefs. Booooooo! Physical sunblocks are minerals (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) deemed safe for use. I always choose only mineral sun protection with zinc and possibly some titanium dioxide. And for the love of all things holy, please don’t use the spray sunscreens. We have no idea what the long-term implications are for absorbing these chemicals into the lungs.
SM: I am big into visualizations (each product in my line comes with a meditative visualization) so for zinc vs chemical sunscreen, you can imagine that with zinc, the sun’s rays bounce off the surface of the skin and with chemical sunscreens, the rays go into your skin and through a chemical reaction that occurs on/in your skin, there is supposedly protection from the harmful rays of the sun.
LK: Physical sunscreen (the only two are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – found in nature ) creates a BARRIER to reflect UV – like a shield! By far the best protection your skin can get from UV. Chemical sunscreen is absorbed by the skin (which is why you have to wait 30 minutes before you get to play!) and breaks up UV as it enters the skin, which can cause heat, irritation and sensitivity on/in our skin. That is the very basic difference, but the most important thing is no matter what sunscreen you choose, that you wear it!
AR: At Etiquette, we choose our product lines with a heavy dose of discernment. And although we the choose natural or plant-based when possible, we believe both natural and chemical sunscreens have a place when it comes to proper protection. Natural sunscreens, particularly non-nano zinc has the ability to cover a really wide range of UV. That means not only are you being shielded from the burning rays (UVB) but the aging rays (UVA) as well. But they are considered a physical form of protection because they need to remain on the surface of your skin in order to work. Things like wiping away sweat and being in and out the water can diminish the ability for natural sunscreens to protect. If you are going to be extra active I recommend finding a great chemical sunscreen that is water-resistant, but skip chemical sunscreens with oxybenzone as it has been shown to disrupt hormones. If you want to read more I totally recommend Supergoop’s Sunscreen 101 page which you can find by clicking the link. We also have testers for anyone that wants to stop into the studio in Kansas City to see what different types of sunscreen feel like on their skin.
Thank you SO MUCH to our super brainy skincare specialists! Check out their services + products:
Jen, Holistic Esthetician + Owner of Blooming Lotus,
Shaffali, Facialist + Creator of Shaffali Beauty Care,
Laura, Oncology Certified Esthetician + Owner of Kitzie Spa,
Amanda, Esthetician + Owner of Etiquette Beatuy!
What’s your fave way to protect your skin in the summer? Have a kewl hat or fave sunscreen brand I should know about? Comment below!
Wanna talk more in-depth about holistic health care? Click here to book a chat (holistic nutrition consult what urrrp!?) and stay in the know by signing up for my mailing list here.