After-Sun Care for Skin and Hair

After spending time in the sun, try these recipes for cooling masks, mists, bath soaks, gels, and more.

| August/September 2017

Spending the day outdoors on a sunny day is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Sunlight is necessary for healthy bodies and minds. It’s our main source of vitamin D, and it’s important for strong bones. Studies have also shown that sunlight is an instant mood booster and a cure for some types of depression.

Without proper care and protection, however, the sun can also cause aging of your skin, sunburn, and even skin cancer. Sun exposure can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes, and overexposure to the sun can also break down collagen — the protein that gives skin elasticity — making wrinkles and lines more apparent.

Avoid being outside in direct sunlight during the middle of the day, which is when the sun’s rays are strongest. A good way to test the sun’s strength is to check your shadow; if it’s larger than you are, then the sun isn’t directly overhead and you should be safe. If your shadow is smaller than you, then its rays are strong and you’ll want to be prepared with the right supplies, including sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.

The sun can also be very drying to hair, so it’s always a good idea to cover your head with a hat or scarf when spending time outdoors. This is especially important if you dye your hair, because the sun can also lighten the color. Consider spreading a small amount of sunscreen on your hair for added protection, and don’t skip the areas where you part your hair or have a cowlick, as those spots burn easily.

Always apply sun protection, even on cloudy days. It’s difficult, however, to create a DIY version of sunscreen that will protect your skin properly, so choose a good commercial product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

If you’re unlucky enough to have gotten sunburned, or your skin is just sensitive from a day spent outdoors, then remember to keep your skin and body well-hydrated by using lotions that are water-based and by drinking lots of liquids.

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