[Top Shelf] Summertime Skin Solutions

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After so many iterations around the sun on our beautiful planet, thirty – if you want to get technical, I’ve begun to tell the changes in the season by the way my body acts and reacts to the world around me.  Slight aches in my knees and ankles in the morning happen more frequently as Fall ebbs into Winter, while my nails feel like they chip more frequently as Spring flows though to Summer.  Not to mention, my skin gets put through the wringer at the shift of each season, and even more if I’m not careful.  The thing about skin, is it’s your biggest organ and you’ve only got the one, weather and seasons and the great outdoors are always going to be a factor, as is your diet, nicotine and alcohol consumption (I’m looking at you, college me).  Now that I’ve entered my thirties, I’ve been a lot kinder to my skin on purpose – making sure to treat my body like the temple that it is.

A swimmer since I was a little one, I would jump in the pool year round – playing around for hours on end without sunscreen and burn once every few years.  I always reached a nice golden brown while my hair faded from brunette to blonde with every dip into the chlorine and back into the sunshowers. Needless to say, I’ve been a bit lackadaisical with my skin care until pretty recently. Back when Winter was kicking itself into full gear, which is not so coincidentally when my birthday hits, I took one long look at the expression lines on my forehead that have etched a permanent place on my body since childhood and the awkwardly ashy cracks in my joints and made a mad dash for the skin care aisle.  Just think – if everything worked out well with hydrating your Winter skin during the blustery cold dry spells, then give back into the urge to treat yo’ face and body and lotion up because it’s going to be a hot Summer.  When the heat comes, like it literally just did this past weekend to Los Angeles, it takes, takes and takes from your body: zapping skin, pulling moisture out of your hair and leaving lips feeling chapped and sad.

Hydration is a Major Key

Back in winter it was about hydrating your face – which is still valid, but lets take this a step further because as my significant other always reminds me: hydration is the key to a long and successful weekend.  When you’re out and about, prancing at the beach, sunning by the pool or simply enjoying some sunshine infused shenanigans – the Sun is busy draining your body of energy and water, as your body fights to not overheat.  Ever had heatstroke, heat exhaustion or saw someone suffering from it?  It’s the exact opposite of a good time and incredibly hard on your internal organs, your cardiovascular system and – your skin.  It’s simply just as important to take care of your body from the heat on the inside as much as we do from the outside.

Water is your friend – but drinks with electrolytes like coconut water, smart water, juices and sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade come jam packed with nutrients that replenish your body.  You’ve heard of preloading for festivals?  Well, you can preload for anything – including extreme heat. And sometimes, water alone isn’t enough.  Before you bounce out on your adventures this Summer, make sure you drink at least a liter before you step out the door and come prepared with 1L bottle of water or Gatorade for every two hours you plan on being outside.  You might think it’s overkill, but your body – and your friends that forgot their water – will thank you later.

 

Protect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

 

Now that we’ve taken care of the internal body, let’s tackle what the sun is hitting directly: Your lips, skin and even your hair are all susceptible to sun damage, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and take some extra precautions.  First things first, SPF.  Those little letters stand for your Sun Protection Factor, which can range from nearly none at all, a 2-5 exists in some tanning lotions, to a ridiculous high of 80.  Now, do you need an SPF of 80? Absolutely not. But if it helps you feel better, go for it. As it turns out, SPF 15 blocks 94% of the rays, while SPF 30 blocks 97%, in contrast -SPF 45 only blocks 98%.

When the sun is out in full force, it sends UVA and UVB light waves down – sunscreens only block out the UVB rays, and some are far more effective than others.Products within sunscreen have shifted dramatically over time, especially with research on skin cancer and melanoma, but it’s still smart to check that your sunscreen is rid of PABAs.  That said, be on the lookout for “physical sunscreens” that contain zinc oxide and titanium oxide – the two compounds reflect light off of the skin instead of filtering the light that hits the skin. Physical sunscreens are only effective up until an SPF of around 50 – which is pretty perfect, since above 50 doesn’t change it’s effectiveness.

For skincare, my personal favorite is actually gift bag swag from Blue Medi Spa:  Fenix Hydrating Sunscreen in SPF 30. I swear by it daily and highly suggest you go grab yourself some ASAP.  If you’re looking for something more generic, I’m also a huge fan of Hawaiian Tropic’s Sport Lotion Sunsreen in SPF 30 – because you can bounce from the ocean to the volleyball court and back to your towel without sunscreen smears and streaky sweat. Not to mention, it smells delightful!  Kiss your chapped, lips goodbye and dive into some lusciously tasty lip balms.  Make sure you snag the ones that have some SPF in them like Chapstick brand.  Their lip balms range from SPF 12 up to SPF 25 and SPF 50+. And don’t forget about your hair – especially if you’ve invested a lot in the color!  I haven’t dyed my hair in over a decade, but when I did – the color would fade so fast in the Summer months.  Enter Oscar Blandi’s Capri Sun Shield Spray – it’s so good, that I spent 20 minutes hunting down a link because I thought it was discontinued, but no – just only available in obscure online stores.  But hey – at least it’s available!

With your after sun care, Aloe Vera shouldn’t just be a want this Summer, it’s a necessity; one luxurious soak in it after a long day at the beach and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.  There’s some great creme after sun lotions out there to use as substitutes to the pure gel like Alba’s Very Emolient After Sun Lotion which comes with 85% Aloe , but baby – ain’t nothing like the real thing and Trader Joe’s has a great one for an incredibly affordable price (though, as a warning – it definitely has a smell, which I now associate with feeling cool as a cucumber).

Think your skin care game is lacking but you’re not sure why? This might sound a little silly – but hear me out: if you have the cash to buy yourself a random Martini on a Tuesday night, then you can definitely treat yourself to a $10 IPSY or Birchbox Subscription.  The boxes come monthly and you can cancel at any time; with each delivery, you get to dive into a package of skin care samples and goodies with highly sought after trial sizes and even a full sized product or two. The last few months, they’ve both been killin’ the skin care game and I’ve discovered some new favorite products to add to my daily routine. Among them, I’ve fallen head over heals for the Coola Classic Sport Face Sunscreen from Birchbox and  HeyHoney’s 24seven moisturizing creme from my last IPSY Bag – it feels like you’re soaking in creme.

What are some of your Summer skincare secrets? Let me know in the comments below!

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[Top Shelf] My Favorite Winter Skin Solutions

 

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The air has resolved into a crisp, blustery whisper, the coldness of the night has slowly crept its way into the nooks and crannies of my apartment and between the cracks, some days it becomes increasingly more difficult to decipher whether my skin more resembles a leaf or vice versa.  Ah, yes – Winter in Los Angeles; it’s not for the faint of heart, nor for those who aren’t as versed with skin care remedies.  Between the sun, the smog and the cold, your skin needs to be prepared to combat all the elements – so I think it’s about time you were covered, both literally and figuratively.

Though there are definitely products that In life, there are a whole lot of things that I don’t mind in knock off form, but unless it’s a great deal or a stellar sale – skincare and hair care are two of the few corners in life that I refuse to cut.  Abraham Lincoln once joked ‘If I was two faced, would he really be wearing this one?’ Well the truth of it is, we really do only have one face and unless you’re in the business of Botox or more extreme treatments, you better be taking care of yourself.  As the largest organ that your body has, your skin deserves to have you treat yo’self.  And even though you can go all high end, your local CVS and Walgreens also have a whole host of products that are simply great for you, like Cetaphil, Clearasil, Dove and Vasoline brand. Balling on a budget, definitely;  feeling good and looking great in my natural skin – bitch, I might be.

For the Face

As a little pre-moisturizer ritual, I give my face, neck and chest a little dose of Murad’s Intensive Vitamin C Face Mask.   You leave it on for ten minutes and let the glycolic acid do the work – exfoliating your skin while leaving it feeling fresh and smooth.

Murad: $55

Also available through Sephora for the same price

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For the best 24 hour moisturizer, I turn to Korres Wild Rose 24 Hour Moisturising and Brightening Cream.  For the better part of the last decade, it’s been part of my morning ritual and I can’t for the life of me see myself deviating from that anytime soon.

Korres Wild Rose Cream: $38s750992-main-hero-300.jpg

Since the time I was just a wee little girl my mother always told me the only face cleaning product I ever really needed was Cetaphil.  And now, almost 30 years later – I want to let you know: lady was right. Great for a simple face cleansing, and works effectively to take off makeup – not to mention, you can find it at your local drug store.  Win.

Cetaphil: $7.99

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For the Lips

When I found out that my favorite line of chapstick was discontinued, I sunk into a pseudo depression.  Trust me, though I wasn’t full on sad the idea that I’d no longer be able to find a Pink Lemonade or Mango flavored Bonne Bel was more than I could handle for a period of time.  Yes, you read that right – 2015 was a monumental year….a year where Twinkies came back and Lip Smackers were discontinued. But thanks to the Evolution of Smooth (EOS), I’ve been having a ball with my lips and have barely looked back. Snag them at any of your local drugstores, or just load up online – my favorite flavors are Summer Fruit and Strawberry Sorbet.

EOS: $3.29

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For the Body

I have loads of tips and tricks up my sleeve when it comes to buying beauty products (like I said, balling on a budget) – but one of the best is that you don’t need a fancy lotion to lavish over, what you need is tried and true.  And that means you go with Vaseline brand.  With my skin as succeptable as it is to the dull, dry months – I always go with the Intensive Care Total Moisture – and the Cocoa butter smell definitely helps!

Vaseline with Cocoa Butter: $4.19

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For the Hands

Last, but most definitely not least – those ten little digits that rub on all that lotion could use a bit of love themselves.  Enter Bliss’ High Intensity Hand Cream.  With it’s tantalizing mix of macadamia oil and grapeseed extract, the lotion sinks deep into the skin – nourishing it from the base to the top, providing extra comfort in the dead of winter to dry, brittle skin.

Bliss Hand Cream: $91003-01295-bliss-high-intensity-hand-cream.jpg