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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, shed the city grime, and 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, and dirt, - even if you do it “fancy.” And if you’re in and out of the water, there's not way to 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 my skin thanked me for it.
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:
Seeing your bare skin in the light of day can be a little intimidating - 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 made an effort to up my exfoliation game, making sure to add an exfoliant to my routine at least three nights a week. Want to do the same but not sure where to start? There are two main categories:
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, you probably fall into the dry skin type.
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 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 feels like a bit of a mess that I don’t know what to do with.
But a week at the beach helped me get back to basics. I wasn’t wearing makeup, I was getting consistent vitamin D, I was cleansing properly, and I was restoring my skin’s natural barrier.
Under those circumstances, my skin revealed itself to be a combination skin type (learn more about skin types).
Here’s to many more beach adventures and beautiful skin days. Cheers!