Hi friend! Man, it feels great to be chatting here on the blog again. I really did miss this creative outlet as I’m a writer at heart and tend stretch the caption limit on social shares at times, ha. (You’ve gotta love or hate it.)
Today I wanted to dive right in to something important enough to write an entire post about — taking care of your skin and protecting it through the sunny spring and summer months ahead.
I haven’t always been passionate about protecting my skin. I’m a native Floridian who used to visit tanning beds and bake in the sun with tanning oil back when I had no idea how harmful it really was. I cared a lot more about my tan than my skin health, and I always said “I’ll deal with the repercussions later.” Cool story, Heather.
Well, as my thirty-eighth birthday quickly approaches (tomorrow!), we’re here. Later in life is now, and there’s so much I wish I could rewind and tell my very bold and naive self while lathering oils and soaking in as many rays as possible. (Um, stop. Immediately stop and switch to sunscreen.)
The tips listed below are points I would cover and start decades ago if I knew better. And, BONUS, making these habits something you instill every day will also help your skin look its best and clearest. You can absolutely work towards the skin you’ve been dreaming of having by taking your skin care and protection seriously.
Here we go!
- Wear sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV + UVB rays.
If I could tell my 20-year-old self anything about caring for my skin, it would be these first two points. Sunscreen is so, so important, and please make sure that you’re wearing a mineral sunscreen while you’re at it. Chemical sunscreens just don’t cut it in my book, as they wear off quicker and need to be reapplied more often. (You want to have the annoying white layer that you have to rub in for a bit. The point IS to have that layer between you and the sun.) Also, spray sunscreens may be more convenient, but I prefer to get a good base layer in the form of a lotion every single day I know I’m going to be outside for hours at a time.
You already know I’m going to recommend some of my go-tos from my favorite clean beauty brand, and I highly recommend this lotion, this facial SPF (or this one with a tint of color) and this sunscreen stick to have on-the-go at all times. If nothing else, a good bottle of lotion will get you to where you want to be!
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
It goes without saying that drinking an optimal amount of water every day has many different health benefits. Ideally, you want to aim for at least half your bodyweight in ounces per day, and even more if you’re active and/or live in a warm environment. (Example: if you weigh 160 pounds, that’s at least 80 daily ounces of H2O.) On top of feeling better and getting closer to hitting your goals, drinking plenty of water will also help your skin look its best — hydrated, more clear and even help you fight more wrinkles and fine lines by help to keep its elasticity. (It really is a little known and underrated anti-aging hack!)
- Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face twice a day.
Washing your face is key. If you think about everything that you come in contact with and how many times you touch your face throughout the day, it will probably make you think twice about skipping a cleansing step as much as possible. Please reach out to me if you’re not sure what type of cleanser might be best for you and your skin! I personally use this cleansing oil (with an anti-aging focus) most frequently, but here’s one that would be a great starter option for a fraction of the price.
- Moisturize your skin regularly to keep it hydrated and prevent dryness.
Above all, I always recommend two vital steps in every skincare routine: CLEANSE and PROTECT. Everything in between falls under the PREP or TREAT categories, and they do serve a purpose to get you optimal results. But let’s stick to the basics and talk about cleansing and protecting, as it’s something that will make a huge difference in your skin, almost instantly.
Cleansing is exactly what it sounds like (see the point above), and protecting your skin comes in the form of a good moisturizer to keep it hydrated and happy. Again, everyone has different skin and skin goals, but I swear by this or this (anti-aging focus) daytime moisturizer for everyday protection. If you’re just starting out, here’s the counterpart to the cleanser above for a fraction of the price that’s good for any skin type including sensitive skin.
One moisturizer will take you far, and some people stop there, but if you’re looking for that extra step of protection and results with a PM recovery cream, I would also recommend a nighttime moisturizer to use before bed. I swear by this or this (anti-aging focus), and the formulas are just a little bit thicker and more recovery focused.
- Get enough sleep to allow your skin to regenerate and repair itself.
Speaking of recovery, let’s talk about sleep! Just like getting enough water is essential for many reasons, aiming for seven or more hours of sleep as consistently as possible is where your best results will live. This is a must for hitting your health and fitness goals, and is also true for getting the natural, even glow you’re looking for with your skin, as quality sleep is a part of the skin’s repair process. More sleep means more collagen production as your cells naturally turn over, and more collagen helps your skin become plumper and less likely to wrinkle. (I know, it’s wild … but true!)
- Consider taking a collagen supplement.
One last piggy back point off of the two above is to consider taking a daily collagen supplement. I personally love this powder and add a serving into my morning coffee every single day. I’ve been doing this for years! (I don’t even notice it’s there as long as I pour the coffee first, pour the powder, then mix it all together with oat milk.) Why? Studies indicate that hydrolyzed collagen may help to support strong bones and healthy joints as well as skin smoothness and hydration, so there’s really nothing to lose if you haven’t given it a go.
- Exfoliate once a week to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.
Okay, now that we’ve covered cleansing and protecting, exfoliating your skin fall under the treatment category. You can use a physical exfoliator, chemical exfoliator (like a leave-on peel), or a combination of both. If you’re new to exfoliating or have sensitive skin, start small by adding in something like a few drops of an exfoliating polish to your current cleanser. Another option could be to use an exfoliating mask once a week. This one is my favorite I’ve tried by a long shot and leaves my skin feeling noticeably softer and smoother after just one use. Even my husband is a fan, ha. If you’re looking for a body exfoliator, this is also something I use once a week and is so, so luxurious.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
All right, we’re back to the basics of good nutrition practices right alongside with drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of sleep here. Nobody and no diet is perfect, but aim to eat whole foods and less processed foods as much as possible. Try to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Try to balance your plates with an appropriate amount of proteins, fats and carbs, and pay attention to fiber, too (ideally 25 grams/day). Doing these things on the regular will automatically help you keep a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
If you think about it, what you’re putting in your body is essentially what you’re putting on your skin!
Extra bonus points going out to you if you can also avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as those habits have been linked to cause skin damage long-term.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, especially during peak hours.
Along with wearing an effective sunscreen, it’s important to be aware of what times of the day are peak hours for your skin to be exposed to the sun. These hours can vary by season and region, but “peak hours” are generally anywhere from 3-5 hours every day in the United States, and are represented by A LOT of sunlight, usually in the afternoon. Schedules can be tricky, but when I’m home with Skyler in the summer I try to plan our outings mid-morning or late afternoon to avoid the hottest hours that puts us in direct sunlight for hours at a time.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a hat and sunglasses, when out in the sun.
And finally, if you have to be out in the sunshine (live your life!), there’s nothing wrong with wearing more protection than sunscreen in the form of clothing that covers your shoulders (where I burn the most!), hats and sunglasses.
My summer splash pad uniform consists of a thick layer of sunscreen followed by a tank, biker shorts, a long-sleeve shirt in my bag (to put around my shoulders if needed), a fanny pack, sunglasses and a baseball hat. I reapply sunscreen every ninety minutes or so, and make sure to take lots of water with me. I also sit in the shade as much as I can, and a combination of all of these things make a huge difference day after day.
And that will do it for today!
Thank you so much for reading, and just know that I’m only a message away to help you if you have any questions at all. I genuinely love talking about this stuff! So, please reach out by direct message on social, commenting on this post, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you’d like to receive a discount on the products mentioned in this post, use the code CLEANFORALL20 at Beautycounter for 20% off your first purchase and LIFEINLEGGINGS20 for 20% off at Now Foods. (Additionally, Beautycounter is holding a semi-annual sale through tomorrow, 4/25 @ 11:59 PST where you can save 15-25% off site-wide. Please message me if you’d like more information or more tips on how to save on clean beauty!)
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, but I am partnered with Beautycounter, and I will earn a commission off of anything purchased using the links in this post. I truly appreciate your support, and thank you for shopping clean with me from the brands I know, love and trust!