The beach is calling. You’re ready to feel sun on your skin, surf at your ankles, and wind in your hair.
But are you ready for what the beach will do to your skin?
Sun, surf, and wind may be the makings of a relaxing vacation, but they can present unique challenges to your complexion. In fact, all three can undermine your skin’s natural barrier and leave it vulnerable to beach day damage.
So should you cancel that seaside vacation? Of course not! Instead, you can set your skin up for success with these skincare tips for your day on the sand.
Prep Your Skin Before You Hit the Beach
Environmental conditions by the ocean can be seriously stressful for your skin. To help make sure your complexion begins beach day in prime condition and ready for fun in the sun, we recommend these preparatory steps.
Hydrate Inside and Out
Sun, salt, and heat can all be extremely drying to your skin, so give it a good hydration boost the day before. Drink plenty of water — even more than you might usually.
You can also help lock moisture into your skin with the right skincare products. Consider adding extra moisture to your usual routine with a luscious cream or hydrating serum. One easy option is to double-down on your moisturizing nighttime products, using them both AM and PM throughout your trip.
For extreme hydration, our recommended duo is the Perfectionist Overnight Serum and the Flawless Nourishment Cream. First, the serum fortifies your skin against water loss with rich botanicals like prickly pear. Then the cream deposits intense, nutrient-rich moisture. Together, they help keep your skin lush and dewy no matter what the beach throws at you!
Pause Skin-Sensitizing Products
Treatments like retinol, AHA, and medicated acne creams may make your skin thinner and more sensitive to sun damage. Experts recommend temporarily stopping these products three days in advance of intense sun exposure — in other words, three days before your sunny and luxurious beach trip.
No Last-Minute Waxing
There’s no shame in wanting baby-smooth skin for your beach bod, but avoid any waxing within 24 hours prior. Waxing unveils lower layers of skin before they’re quite ready to face the world and can increase your vulnerability to sun damage.
Protect Your Skin While You’re At the Beach
When you finally arrive at that glittering expanse of white sand, you’re ready to kick back and relax. In between umbrella drinks, use these easy tips to make sure your skin finishes the day still as radiant as it began.
Armor Up With SPF
A souvenir is one thing, but who wants to bring their beach trip home as a painful, lobster-red sunburn? To protect your skin from toasting under the sun’s UV rays, be generous with the sunscreen.
Ideally, begin with a waterproof, broad-spectrum lotion with SPF30 or higher, and reapply every two hours or after you get out of the water. It may take more sunscreen than you expect to achieve good coverage — for an adult, full-body coverage requires enough sunscreen to fill a shot glass. For best protection, apply your SPF about 15 minutes before sun exposure.
Want to protect your skin without risking the environment? Choose a reef-safe SPF.
What about spray-on sunscreen?
Many dermatologists agree that spray-on SPFs are less effective than lotions — primarily due to the way we apply them. To match the protection of an SPF lotion, it’s been estimated that you’d have to spray each patch of skin for six seconds. That sounds quick, but try counting it out loud. Do you really spend that much time spraying each area?
If you love the convenience of spray SPF and can’t bear to give it up, consider this compromise: first, start with a lotion-style sunscreen to create a good foundation. Then use your spray strictly for touch-ups and reapplications.
Once you’re outside in the sun and heat, your skin loses moisture quickly and can end up looking papery or dry. Regularly top up its hydration by sipping on water throughout the day, especially if you’re also downing a few tropical cocktails.
Don’t Forget Your Beach Umbrella
At most beaches, it’s BYOS — bring your own shade. A dip in the ocean can help keep you cool but won’t give your skin a break from the blazing sun. That’s why we love taking a rest under the beach umbrella, perhaps while enjoying a good book and the sea breeze.
You can also up your shade quotient with a cute sun hat and swimsuit coverup!
Soothe Your Skin With Post-Beach Skincare
At the end of a beach day, you probably feel giddy, exhausted, and a little weatherbeaten. This is your perfect time to reset and refresh.
Rinse Off With a Cool Shower
Whether you swam or not, your skin is now caked with sand and salt. And if you got a little too much sun, you may be feeling that toasty-tightness of a sunburn. Offer your skin some relief with a nice, cool shower. It will help remove grit and ease the burning sensation.
We’ve repeatedly stressed hydration as a key to your skin-friendly beach excursion, and afterward is no exception. Following your day by the ocean, your skin will be crying out for replenishment.
Besides quenching your thirst with a tall glass of water, you can also help reinstill hydration topically. If you took our earlier suggestion and began using an ultra-moisturizing routine before your trip, you can carry on with the same products — such as the classic serum/cream combo we recommended.
This is also a perfect time for any products containing vitamin C, which will help combat UV damage and protect your skin’s elasticity.
Bonus: the Perfectionist Overnight Serum is crafted with rich sources of vitamin C like acai and sea buckthorn.
Indulge in Restorative Lip Care
Often overlooked in the whirlwind of vacation, your lips can be strongly affected by conditions at the beach. Sun and wind can quickly strip their moisture and lead to chapping, especially when that wind is carrying all those tiny, exfoliating specks of sand.
Tim to break out the chapstick? Probably not. Your average chapstick can provide temporary relief but doesn’t deposit any deep-reaching nutrients. To thoroughly rehydrate and protect your lips, your better bet is to apply a lip-pampering nourishment bomb like our Goodnight Kiss Overnight Mask.
Available in our Perfect Pout Lip Kit, this mask is a perfect way to end your beach day. Hydrating natural ingredients like snow mushroom and strawberry seed extract envelop your lips with deep moisture and enrichment. Formulated for long-wear, you can smooth this mask on before bed and let it revivify your beach-side pout as you sleep.
There tend to be two approaches to a beach vacation: the adventurous approach and the relaxing approach. But even if your beach plan involves more mai tais than parasailing, your skin will be getting a workout. So why not give these tips a try, and treat yourself to a little extra TLC? Your skin will thank you later!