You waited all winter for it, but now that it’s here, you feel unprepared. That’s right, it’s summer.
The sun is shining, you’ve been invited to a co-worker’s beach house for the weekend, but you’re cowering behind your curtains. Luckily for you, there are fairly simple solutions for most summer body woes, and here they are:
The problem: You forgot your feet all winter and now they are hideous.
The solution: Start with serious scrubbing to get rid of dead skin so the moisturizer can really work—that’s your next step: slather on foot cream to soften and hydrate as needed. Your feet will look younger and healthier instantly. Don’t forget to manage your nails. You will need a good pair of nail clippers and should cut straight across the top of the nail. If you’re really wanting a complete transition into summer, give your feet a little color by applying a self-tanner—after a good exfoliating session, of course.
The problem: You’re blindingly white.
The solution: Self-tanners have come a long way since the first streaky, orangey products hit the market. If you’re nervous about achieving natural looking results, start with a product designed for fair skin and gradually work to a darker shade. Professional spray tans are another option if you don’t trust yourself with a bottle of self-tanner or don’t have anyone to reach the places you can’t. In either case, make sure to exfoliate before application, especially in rough spots like your elbows and knees, where colour tends to collect.
The problem: You want to lie in the sun but want to stay away from skin cancer.
The solution: Since skin cancer is becoming more and more prevalent, there’s no excuse not to protect yourself from damaging UVA and UVB rays. If you insist on soaking up the sun, avoid the sun’s strongest rays by staying in the shade from noon to three, and use a sun cream with a minimum SPF of 15. Try to find a product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays to cover all bases. Do your best to build your tan gradually to avoid frying yourself (which is cancer-causing skin damage) and to get a longer lasting tan. Also, since your face is exposed to the sun year round, always use a daily moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or more when you leave home.
The problem: You’re as red as a lobster.
The solution: Help yourself heal. You can’t repair the damage to your skin cells, but you can calm the burn and help speed the healing process. Cool your skin with cold water and apply a good after-sun lotion. Cooling your skin before applying the product will prevent you from locking in the heat you’re radiating. Products containing vitamin E and aloe often work well to cool and moisturize. Also, eat lots of high-antioxidant foods or take vitamin C to try to neutralize cancer causing free radicals. And, of course, stay out of the sun!
The problem: Your hair is cause for despair.
The solution: The sun does not just attack your skin; it preys on your hair as well. Not only can UV rays leave your hair without its natural and protective oils, all the time you’re spending in the pool exposes your hair to chlorine, which can further dry out hair and leave it weak. Invest in a shampoo that counteracts chlorine and in products that have UV filters. You can also spray your hair lightly with sunscreen to protect your hair and scalp.
The problem: Your body wants to come out of hiding, but you haven’t paid attention to it for months.
The solution: It’s not hard to remember to take care of your face, but what about the parts of your body that spends the winter beneath layers of clothing, out of sight, and out of mind? Don’t worry, it doesn’t take much to bring the rest of you up to summer standards. Adopt a weekly exfoliating habit to smooth skin and get rid of dead skin cells, and make sure you moisturize immediately after. Before bed is an ideal time to moisturize as your body heat allows for better absorption. Your body will thank you for taking care of it, and you’ll be thanking your body for all of the attention it gets you.
The problem: You hate packing, but you hate not having what you need to look and feel your best while on holiday.
The solution: Many products are available in travel sized versions. You can also purchase empty travel sized containers that you can fill with your favorite products so you can leave the full-sized containers behind. If you have convinced yourself you do not need to bring absolutely everything, make sure a moisturizer is on your packing list, as the air in an airplane is much drier than on land and the transitioning can put your skin through quite a cycle. You’ll want to apply it both before and after your flight, and as always, drinking plenty of water will help your complexion immensely. If you’re concerned about oily skin, pack your own facial wipes, as the courtesy wipes on airplanes often contain alcohol, which will dry your skin out even more.
EASY WAYS TO LOOK BETTER ON THE BEACH
There are a number of ways to make the beach even more enjoyable than it already is, and one of those ways is to know you look your best. It may be too late to whip your body into professional athlete form, but there are ways to enhance what you have and to beat some common downfalls of beach bumming.
Work with what you have. There’s a way to dress any body type for the beach. Knee-length board shorts are flattering for the tall and thin type, who should steer clear of vertical stripes (which make you look taller) and overly baggy shorts (which will make you look thinner). Loud patterns can overwhelm a shorter stature, so stick with solid colors or vertical stripes. Long shorts can also make a shorter guy look even shorter, so keep proportion in mind. Loose styles, dark colours, and matt fabrics can help disguise lumpy areas, and naturally, Speedos should be left for the perfectly chiseled types.
Sit up straight…or not. Your posture on the beach can help you if you know how to work it. If you’re carrying some extra weight around the middle, sitting up straight tends to emphasize those rolls. Instead, support yourself with your elbows in a more reclining sort of pose to let gravity pull the extra weight out of focus.
Remember to rinse. Salt water can do a number on skin and hair because as it evaporates off of you in the sun, it dehydrates your surfaces. Prevent dry, irritated skin and straw-like hair by rinsing off in tap water before drying, or at the least, toweling off before the sun can dry you.
Respect your shave. Hitting the beach right after shaving means you’re exposing your skin at its most sensitive state. Shaving before you go to bed allows your skin time to build its defenses so it can protect itself from the sun.