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.

  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat with a brim and by covering exposed skin with a light layer of clothing.
    Photo by Superstock/Ronnie Kaufman/Larry.
  • Apply sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before going out in the sun to allow the cream to bind to your skin and increase protection. Reapply frequently.
    Photo by Superstock/Paul Bradbury/Ojo Images.
  • Aloe vera makes an excellent skin soother, plus itโ€™s easy to grow in pots indoors.
    Photo by Superstock/Chassenet/BSIP.
  • Protect your skin from sun damage by keeping it well-hydrated.
    Photo by Getty Images/Ridofranz.
  • Treat yourself to a luxurious milk bath the next time your skin is sunburned or irritated; you can add fresh or powdered milk to warm bath water.
    Photo by Fotolia/DN6.

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 an aid for treating 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.

4/16/2018 3:03:20 PM

Looks like a great line-up of recipes, thank you! But please be careful on ingredient sourcing - USE ORGANICS when you can. Just being 'natural' does not mean that the ingredient is free of pesticides or is non-GMO. For instance, cornstarch. 88% of all non-organic corn is GMO, Substitute conventional cornstarch with organic cornstarch or tapioca flour (very few to no pesticides are used on cassava, the source of tapioca). Tapioca flour is amazingly smooth and delightful on the skin and blends well with oils and creams. Cucumbers are high pesticide-retaining vegetable. Avocados are low in pesticides (whew!). Research your oils - most conventional oils are GMO and pesticide laden. Please do your homework! It's easy and fast to do some online research - there are even apps - to help you avoid toxins, endocrine disrupters, honey bee killers and GMO's in your food and things you put on your skin (or the skin of your children!). Be mindful to keep you, your family and our planet healthy.

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