It’s been hot and sunny forever and in the UK we’re just not prepared for this kind of constant, melting, hell-like heat. Sunburn is pretty much guaranteed for the majority of us so I thought I’d put together a little guide to help you care for your skin after too much sun (and just generally in the summer). But more importantly, how to protect your skin from the sun in the first place.
I’ll start with sunscreen. Everyone should be wearing this. Wearing sunscreen will dramatically decrease the likeliness of you damaging your skin (which can lead to cancer). So please protect yourself. If you want to know how sunscreen works and why it is vital this is a really useful site from British Association of Dermatologists. It explains everything to do with sunscreen in an accessible way.
My favourite face sunscreen is Nivea UV Face Shine Control 50 SPF. It has both UVA and UVB protection (usually described as broad spectrum), as well as a UVA 4 star rating. The UVA star rating is important and as a rough guide a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and a star rating of 4 or 5 will give good sun protection, but I usually go higher on the SPF to around 50. If you want to look tanned there’s lots of good fake tanning products available that won’t ruin your skin. To best protect your skin you want a high SPF (above 30) and a high UVA rating (nothing lower than 4 stars). Another important thing to bear in mind when applying your sun protection is to let it sink into your skin before applying your makeup.
I stick to high SPF and high star rating when choosing sunscreen for my body too. I recently picked up Aldi’s Lacura Extra Sensitive Sun Lotion 50+ UVA star rating 5 to give it a try and I’m really impressed with it. Despite the blistering heat I have zero sun burn (or tan, this is another sign your skin has been damaged). There’s a couple of things that might put people off. Firstly, it has a kind of chemically smell. It does settle down though and I can’t smell it on the skin. And secondly, it does apply quite greasy but again once it sinks in it actually just feels nicely moisturising with no tackiness. TBF, this doesn’t really vary from any other sunscreens I’ve tried but I do think Aldi’s offering provides amazing protection for the sun at an incredibly affordable price of £1.99. A definite repurchase for me.
Sunscreen is full of ingredients with the potential to block up pores if not cleansed properly so I really recommend using an oil or balm cleanser. These will breakdown the hard to remove ingredients easily and won’t irritate your skin’s barrier. I wrote a blog post about my cleansing routine here if you want to know more about oils/balms. If you’ve applied lots of sunscreen throughout the day I’d probably double cleanse just to make sure all that sunscreen residue is completely removed.
For my body I use pretty much any shower wash but I have sensitive skin that’s easily irritated so I’ve been using Child’s Farm Hair & Body Wash in Blakberry & Apple which smells AMAZING. It’s also really gentle and doesn’t dry skin out. Another favourite is the soap-free shower gel from The Body Shop. My favourite is strawberry but it comes in a range of scents. If you have eczema or especially sensitive skin I really recommend trying these out, they smell amazing and leave the skin lovely and soft.
After cleansing comes the hydration, cooling and moisturisation. If you’ve been burnt the best thing to cool your skin down is aloe vera. Something like this aloe vera gel from Superdrug would work a treat. It’ll quickly soothe burnt skin, as well as a range of other complaints like dry, irritated skin. I’ve been terrible at regularly moisturising my body but I *try* to do it regularly. It just seems so laborious though and again I don’t really stick to a ‘holy grail’ I just try whatever, but I am a fan of The Body Shop body butters. Something I have been recently using and I am really liking is the super-budget friendly Lidl Cien Body Milk (it’s only 99p!). I had read that this was a good body moisturiser so thought I’d pick it up when I was in getting some groceries. Despite it being called milk this is a rich, thick body cream that deeply nourishes thanks to the ingredient almond oil. It doesn’t have that gorgeous almond oil smell unfortunately, instead it almost smells of baby lotion. Due to how thick it is it takes a little while to sink in but it really good for the price. I think I will try some of Aldi’s offering next.
My preferred choice of moisturisation for my face is oil when its dehydrated. Don’t be scared of face oils! I know lots of people are wary especially if they have oily skin but what can happen is that the skin is being stripped by using too harsh products aimed at acne/oily skin types. This can make the skin overcompensate thus producing too much oil. The reason facial oils can be so good is that oils penetrate the skin’s barrier differently to creams and are especially good if you’ve dehydrated your skin by being in the sun too long. A couple of my favourites are Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil and Chloe Loves Organics Oil (which is cruelty-free). (I previously blogged about using facial oils here if you want a bit more info about oils). A good facial oil will have your skin feeling soothed and nourished in no time. You can always avoid your t-zone if you really don’t want to add oil there and target your dehydrated areas.
For extra hydration I use a sheet mask and I have been using another budget product that works wonders. Unsurprisingly this comes from Aldi. I am such a fan of their budget skincare range Lacura, I previously blogged about one of their releases here. I hadn’t heard about Aldi’s Lacura sheet masks before I tried them so I wasn’t sure what to expect but these ate just BRILLIANT. One of the reasons I love a sheet mask is because they are just drenched (hopefully!) in product giving the skin a big hit of treatment (and of course you look a bit like a psycho killer which is always a bonus). Aldi Lacura Moisture Complex Sheet Masks come in packs of two with chamomile (dry skin/ sensitive skin), pomegranate (sensitive skin), and green tea (normal/combination skin) varieties available. I picked up green tea to try. It is super refreshing and deeply hydrating. I think it is one of the most hydrating masks I’ve ever used. For extra cooling you could pop these in the fridge before application. This is something I do with my Mario Badescu facial sprays, it makes it much more refreshing and is also nice for a pick-me-up throughout the day.
Do you have any other tips for looking after your skin in the sun for me?
(contains affiliate links)