Whether you head to the beach to play a game of volleyball, to lie down on the sand or to take a dip in the ocean, summertime elements, from UV rays to wind, are ready to attack. Stay beach-bunny beautiful before, during and after your time spent in the sun.
According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, 76,000 new cases of skin cancer will occur this year, up 30 per cent from 1994. The best way to protect yourself? Sunscreen.
“The single most important thing you can do is use a sunscreen,” says Dr. Mary Lupo, a dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. “You get UV light all year round.”
Look for a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 that fights both UVA and UVB rays. To help sunscreens work better, exfoliate the skin to remove dry or dead skin cells, says Lupo. Then apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours. If you take a swim in the ocean or a pool, reapply after drying off. TRY: Ombrelle SPF 30 Lotion ($13), Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 30 Sunblock ($14).
Sun continues to damage skin even when you return indoors. Use after-care products with aloe to soothe and cool the skin, as well as oil-free lotions to lock in moisture. TRY: La Roche-Posay Posthelios After-Sun Repair Cream ($22), OPI Avojuice Skin Quencher in Key Lime Juicie ($7.50), Evian Affinity Nourishing Velvety Body Milk ($20), Jergens Soothing Aloe Relief Lotion ($6.50)
“It's really important to use a different hair regimen in the summer,” says Lance Blanchette, a stylist with The Lounge Hair Studio (www.loungehairstudio.com) in Vancouver.
Sun, he points out, has the same effect on your hair as on your skin; chlorine builds up in the hair and turns blondes green, salt has a drying effect, and wind and humidity cause frizz and flyaways. To combat the elements, always begin with a product that offers UV protection to keep the sun from drying out the hair and to prevent colour from fading. To fight the effects of chlorine and salt, shampoo hair as normal and apply a leave-in conditioner before going into the water. Afterward, use a dechlorinating or clarifying shampoo to remove mineral buildup.
As for styling, women with curly hair should look for products that offer added moisture and silicone to block humidity and should dry hair completely with a diffuser; those with straight hair should use products with silicone and antihumectants, dry with a flatiron and finish with a sealant to keep hair smooth. The best thing you can do for your hair during the summer: "Wear it under a hat," says Blanchette. "The least amount of time in the sun, the better." TRY: Joico Resolve shampoo ($10) and Color Endurance Leave-In Protectant ($17), Pantene Pro-V Purity Clarifying Shampoo ($6.50), L'Occitane en Provence Olive Paste for Hair ($32), Schwarzkopf Bonacure Sun Protection Spray ($20), L'Oreal Vive Smooth-Intense Taming Serum ($8.50), Neutrogena Triple Moisture Line ($11-$12) -- especially the Silk Touch Leave-In Cream with UV Filters.
The ugly signs of too much sun exposure show up in the most obvious of places -- the face. Under-eye skin crinkles; the skin on the nose thickens, causing blackheads and acne; lips develop cold sores; temples get red and scaly; and cheeks develop rosacea or broken blood vessels that lead to visible veins. Not so beautiful.
"When you're young, you can never imagine getting older," says Lupo, "but you get a lot of sun damage before you're 18 and it's very expensive to undo it." The first line of defence, of course, is sunscreen. If you have specific facial concerns, such as oily or dry skin, choose an appropriate sunblock or even moisturizer -- but always make sure it has both UVA and UVB protection. And don't forget to wear UV-protected sunglasses. TRY: Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 30 Daily Moisturizer ($21.99), Olay Complete Defense UV Moisturizer with SPF 30.
Then take your regimen to the next level with innovative beauty products -- concealers and lipsticks infused with an SPF, waterproof or water-resistant eyeliners and mascaras, and bronzers for added sunless colour -- to keep you looking glam throughout the day and night. TRY: Revlon Natural Bronzer ($12) and Age Defying Makeup and Concealer Compact with SPF 20 ($17), Covergirl Smoothers SPF 15 Tinted Moisture ($11), Chanel Aqualumiere Sheer Colour Lipshine with SPF 15 ($29), L'Oreal Paris Waterproof Voluminous Mascara ($9), Maybelline Great Wear Waterproof Eyeliner ($8)