There are plenty of reasons we love summer: Sundresses, picnics and lots of fresh air. And one reason to fear it: The havoc it wreaks on our skin. While we live all year for those long, lazy days spent by the pool, we put ourselves at risk for sunburns, bug bites and dried-out skin (or the familiar chapped lips). So if you find yourself having a little too much fun in the sun and end up with one of these beauty emergencies, you’ll want to keep these tips handy.
Sunburn: We drill home the dangers you face if you don’t protect your skin from the sun-like prematurely aging skin and deadly skin cancer. But summer brings along another big risk: the dreaded sunburn. You may not feel a burn coming on, as it takes several hours to fully develop, so be sure to reapply your broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen after you get out of the water or have been sweating for a few hours. If you’re already burnt, treat your skin with a calming cream that contains aloe vera and green tea extracts to restore moisture, sooth your skin and reduce inflammation. Tylenol or Advil may help with the pain as well, or you can try a cool milk compress to stop the sting. Also: don’t peel or exfoliate skin that’s healing from a sunburn-it’ll only look worse.
Bug bites: Last month, the British Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin reported that over-the-counter bug-bite products that contain ingredients like painkillers and antihistamines are simply not very effective. Instead of spending money on products that may not work, try a more natural approach. First, scrape your skin with the edge of a credit card or your fingernail to make sure remnants of the bug are out, then soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it for several minutes. Some natural oils, like tea-tree or lavender oil, can ease discomfort with just a drop or two, a few times a day. Do your best not to scratch the bite, or you could wind up with a scar. If you know you’re headed for a bug-infested area, start eating extra garlic for a few days to ward them off.
Dry lips: Exposure to the sun will sap moisture from all of your skin, but your lips may be the first to really show it. Protect them in advance by using a lip balm with SPF, and if you’re going to be in the sun for quite some time, pop on a wide-brimmed hat, too. If your lips are suffering, you may want to try a gentle exfoliator made specifically for the lips, and then give them a mega dose of moisture with a balm like Trilogy’s Everything Balm ($21). With organic rosehip, jojoba and coconut oils, it’s ideal for dry lips, but can also be used anywhere on the skin, including your cuticles.
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