A sun-kissed glow requires so much more than a long afternoon under the summer sun. While an intensive tanning session to make up for all the months spent indoors might result in a seemingly lovely bronze hue by dinnertime, the harsh rays can actually cause long-term damage to your skin. 

But with the right, moderate dose of “sunshine vitamin D,” there are steps you can take to not only protect yourself from sun damage, but ensure a glowy look all summer. Take it from top dermatologists and estheticians: you can achieve a healthy, radiant look with the right skincare regimen (both morning and night). 

But first, SPF. 

“Always wear sunscreen SPF 30 or above, and bonus points if it contains iron oxide for blocking blue light,” says Dr. Joyce Park, a board-certified and Stanford University-trained dermatologist. Brands like Supergoop! and Cotz use iron oxide which protect from strong wavelengths from the sun as well as your digital devices. If you’re concerned about overexposure to blue light and urban pollution, have a bottle of One Ocean Beauty’s Blue Light Protection Hydration Mist by your desktop, and give your face a spritz twice daily.

“Protecting yourself from the sun’s UV rays is key to preventing photo-aging. Think leathery textured skin, enlarged pores, dark spots, wrinkles and skin cancer development,” says Dr. Park, who is also an advisor and ambassador to bareMinerals Global Dermatology and a lifestyle blogger at Tea with MD.

Be sure to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.

From SPF formulas, to UPF garments.

If you plan on being outside for several hours, wear UPF hats, cover ups, and sunglasses. “UPF swimwear is in!” says Park. “Rather than risking sun damage, I opt for donning these stylish UPF 50 rash guards and cover ups.” Her favorite brands for safe poolside-wear include Cabana Life and Swimzip (which both offer collections that can dress the whole family). 

If you’re a watersports warrior and need something more athletic, look to Title Nine as well as Seea. The latter brand makes wetsuits out of plant-based materials and features swimsuit collections made of recycled materials. Its focus on sustainability and empowerment does not deter it from designing timeless prints and flattering colorblocks.  

Consistency is key.

In addition to proper UV protection, a true summer glow is all about skincare, before and après-sun. The building blocks of a good regimen include high-quality moisturizer, exfoliant and antioxidant products. 

“But the key is consistency,” says Park. “Use these products daily and be patient. Achieving healthy-looking, glowing skin is a gradual process and requires commitment.”  

While applying a good day cream and sunscreen to freshly cleansed skin is an easy start to the day, most tend to drop the ball with nighttime regimens. Sara Connor, master esthetician at Joanna Vargas Spa Los Angeles, emphasizes the importance of double-cleansing your skin before bed to break up oil, dirt, makeup and sunscreen. “Two rounds of cleansing helps to avoid any leftover product on the face from soaking into your pores overnight which can cause congestion and breakouts.” In addition to cleansing, use an exfoliating scrub or even a dry brush to remove dead skin skills and brighten your complexion.   

Remember your antioxidants. 

“Summer is the perfect time to start using vitamin C,” says Connor. Antioxidants fight damage caused by the sun while enhancing the power of your SPF. She recommends 1-2 pumps of Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum to a freshly-cleansed face and neck. This is suitable for all skin types but is still a powerful concentrate that may be best for those who are serious about reversing signs of sun damage.  

Dr. Park agrees with the power of corrective vitamins: “Choose products with vitamin C, vitamin E, or niacinamide to help neutralize skin damage caused by harmful UV rays.” You can also ingest antioxidants through dark green leafy vegetables and blueberries.

If you’re prone to developing dark spots and freckles during the summertime, in addition to wearing sunscreen and hats, consider skincare ingredients that help to brighten those spots, such as niacinamide, azelaic acid, or kojic acid. Dr. Park recommends bareMinerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion Serum which is rich in niacinamide. Launched this week, Skinlongevity is a clean and vegan collection relies on botanical extracts to protect the skin’s barrier.

For newbies to the skincare game, I highly recommend Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, which I’ve even worn during makeup-free days as a light moisturizer. It smells good, feels luxuriantly light and delivers a refreshed complexion after just one week of daily use.     

Speaking of watermelon, hydrate hydrate hydrate. 

“It’s easy to dehydrate during the hot summer months, and dry skin is more prone to wrinkling and impaired barrier function,” says Dr. Park. “Remember to drink water or quench your thirst with fruits like watermelon or cucumber-infused water.”

And if you need a stylish water bottle to remind you to sip H20 often, look to LARQ’s Terra Collection, a winner of the NYCxDesign Awards 2020. In addition to its sleek, earth-inspired designs, the self-cleaning bottle uses UV-C LED light to eliminate virtually all contaminants from your water and container. With over 1 million plastic bottles per minute being added to landfills, the LARQ’s reusability will make it the most celebrated addition to your 2020 summer tote.



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