Sunbathing with Sensitive Skin: How to Keep Your Skin Healthy at the Beach

Ultraviolet rays from the sun are one of the leading causes of skin damage. If exposure of as little as 15 minutes can already harm your bare skin, just imagine what prolonged exposure from sunbathing can do.

But don’t cancel your trip to the beach just yet. You need not sacrifice beach fun to keep your skin healthy. This is the very reason why sunblocks and sunscreens were invented.

Many of the best skincare products in Dubai have enough sun protection factor (SPF) to shield the skin from UV rays. However, you can also take extra precautionary measures to ensure that you don’t get sunburnt or suffer long-term effects of photodamage, including the following:

1.   Time your beach trip right.

When planning your beach trip, you need to consider more than the number of days you’re spending there. You must also make sure that you do activities under the sun while the UV rays are still tolerable.

To be safe, stay in the shade from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as this is the period when the sun’s heat is most intense. Heading out during this time also increases the risk of sunburn.

If you must go, be sure to limit the time you’re under direct sunlight from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. Use the shadow rule as a guide. If your shadow looks shorter than you, it is time to find shade.

2. Choose broad-spectrum sunscreen.

One of the most crucial rules you should never break when going to the beach is to apply sunscreen. Even if it’s cloudy, you have to use a sunblock before going out.

Apply a minimum of one ounce of the product to exposed parts of the body at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. The amount of sunscreen should be enough to fill one shot glass.

Most importantly, choose a broad-spectrum sunblock to shield against both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays (UVA and UVB). Look for water-resistant products with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Some sunscreens may protect you from sunburn, but they won’t be much help against skin damage. These are those that protect against UVB rays only. UVA are rays that have a longer wavelength and penetrate deeper into the skin, causing signs of premature aging such as wrinkles and may even lead to skin cancer.

Don’t forget to apply lipstick or lip balm with the same SPF level as your sunblock to prevent your lips from cracking.

3. Stay under the shade as much as possible.

For those with extremely sensitive skin, experts recommend staying in the shade as much as possible. If you are prone to eczema, rosacea, and other sensitivity issues, you might experience more intense symptoms under sudden temperature changes.

Rosacea – a condition that causes redness, minor skin clogging, and weakening capillaries – might worsen under high-heat conditions, leading to the rupture of these tiny blood vessels.

The heat from the sun at the beach may also increase evaporation and can trigger moisture loss that causes eczema. It may also irritate sensitive skin, causing extra itchy atopic dermatitis (the rashes caused by allergies or skin irritation).

4.   Prepare your skin before the trip.

You need to prep your skin before a beach trip the same way you would when getting ready for a race. You need to hydrate.

When you go to the beach, you basically put your skin through a marathon. When this happens, you need to make sure that it isn’t thirsty by implementing several layers of hydration in your skin care routine. This should provide your skin enough moisture to take on the upcoming challenge ahead.

You can apply serums with humectants that draw water from the air to the skin’s surface. Then, seal the water in by using a moisturizing product that keeps the moisture barrier in perfect shape.

An excellent way to do so is by using skincare products that contain hyaluronic acid. This active ingredient can trap water that is around 1,000 times its weight. It also promotes elastin and collagen production.

5.   Avoid skincare steps that expose the skin.

Besides what you need to do, you should also remember that certain skincare steps are not recommended prior to a beach trip. One such skincare step is the use of products with retinol or AHAs.

These products or ingredients work as chemical exfoliators, which leave the skin feeling thinner, more delicate, and more prone to sunburn.

You also need to reschedule any waxing appointment, as undergoing such a procedure (especially on your face) could increase your risk of sun damage.

6.   Cover up with clothing for better sun protection.

One of the best ways to keep your skin safe from sun damage is by using a physical barrier. This is why you need to choose your beach attire according to your skin’s needs.

Depending on the fabric they are made from, clothes can protect you against harmful UV rays. Some shirts and pants are even tailored for this very purpose.

Of course, if you’re not keen on hiding your swimwear and beach body, you should consider bringing some beach cover-ups.

Don’t forget your headgear. A beach hat with a wide brim should be enough to protect your neck, ears, and face. But if you must wear a baseball cap or anything similar, remember to apply sunscreen to your ears and neck.

7.   Take note of medications that increase sun sensitivity.

Some medicines – both over-the-counter drugs and doctor-prescribed antibiotics – may also cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight. This includes:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen or aspirin.
  • Some antibiotics, like Tetracycline and Bactrim.
  • Some oral diabetic medications.

To be sure, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether your medications have these side effects or not.

8.   Maintain a post-beach skin care routine.

After having so much fun at the beach, it can be easy to forget that you still need to care for your skin after you head home.

Make sure you have a post-beach skin care routine to keep your sensitive skin healthy. The goal is to replenish lost fluids during your time under the sun through moisturizing.

Start by washing your face with a skin cleanser. Choose a product that can remove zinc oxide found in some sunscreens.

Then, rejuvenate your face with a layer of products containing hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. This includes skincare products with vitamin C and aloe vera as their active ingredients.

Enjoy the Beach Safely

Beachgoing is one of the most popular vacation activities in the world. As you enjoy the warmth of the sun, you need to make sure your sensitive skin doesn’t suffer from it by following the tips listed here.

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