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Spending a week at the beach is both one of the most trying and the most beneficial things that you can do for your skin. You expose yourself to the elements, get rid of the makeup and the city grime, and really take things back to basics - for better or worse.
Here’s what I learned during that process.
A beach vacation is a messy business. There’s saltwater, sand, sweat, dirt, and a whole bunch of other things going on - even if you do it “fancy.” And if you’re in and out of the water, you just can’t maintain a full face of makeup.
That’s why, during my trip, I went makeup-free for the majority of the time (save a nice dinner or two). And I really think that my skin thanked me for it.
The reality of wearing makeup every day is much more trying on the skin than even the most active of beach days. With constant wear, makeup can:
This is especially true if you keep your makeup on for long periods of time or occasionally sleep in your makeup.
After a few days makeup-free, I found improvements in:
Plus, it was nice to take a break and spend less time getting ready.
Seeing your bare skin in the light of day can be a little uncomfortable - especially if you have dry spots, congestion, and other imperfections staring back at you.
Guess what? If you’re slathering on sunscreen and exposing your face to wind, sand, and sun, chances are you’re going to see those things.
That’s why I really upped my exfoliation game, making sure to add an exfoliant to my routine at least three nights a week. Not sure where to start here? Well, there are two main categories here:
Physical Exfoliants: Scrubs like our Zen Out of Ten detox scrub slough off dead skin cells and accelerate cell turnover.
Chemical exfoliants: These products use AHA's and BHA's for gentle, daily exfoliation.
Just remember to keep a gentle hand and be wary of over-doing it. Three applications a week will be more than enough for anyone.
Properly hydrating can be tough, and more often than not we tend to get it wrong which is why a full 75% of Americans are thought to be chronically dehydrated - yikes! And the one day of my trip that I accidentally skipped water and moisturizer, I saw some major consequences:
So where do you get started with fixing something so intense? Well, it was a multi-pronged strategy that included:
Remember, we’re not talking about dry skin here. Dry skin is a permanent skin type - like combination or oily skin - while dehydrated skinis a temporary skin condition that anyone can suffer from (even those with oily skin) if they’re not properly hydrated.
Not sure where you’re at?
Consider: is this a new problem or a condition that you’ve dealt with your whole life. If it’s the latter, your skin type is probably dry.
Alternatively, do a pinch test: take a small amount of skin around your cheek area and squeeze it lightly. If it wrinkles or doesn’t fall back into place right when you release, you’re likely dealing with dehydrated skin.
Then there were the sunburns. I tried my best to use SPF, but admittedly missed a hard-to-reach spot or two (and probably didn’t reapply as often as I should). And while a part of me wanted that sun-kissed glow, I knew this was ultimately a bad idea. After all, any tan or redness is a sign that UV radiation has damaged the genetic material (DNA) in your skin cells - and I would really rather have my DNA intact.
Here’s how I combatted the problem:
This has been an ongoing internal debate for years - and mostly because it’s been hard for me to get an accurate baseline when it comes to my skin. Sometimes it feels tight, flaky, and dry. Other times, it’s shiny, broken out and oily. Still other times it's reactive and sensitive. What gives?
Overall, it’s a bit of a mess that I don’t know what to do with.
A week at the beach really helped me get back to basics: I wasn’t wearing makeup, I was getting consistent vitamin D, I was cleansing as I should, and I was restoring my skin’s natural barrier.
My skin revealed itself to be a combination skin type (learn more about skin types).
Here’s to many more adventures and healthy skin days. Cheers!