Skin Care: Beauty, Beach & Bikini Bumps

Beauty, Beach
and Bikini Bumps

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Beauty and the Beach

Having bathing beauty-ful skin isn’t as simple as throwing on the latest micro-mini bikini or trendy tankini. Exposed skin is vulnerable to a variety of environmental insults, not to mention needing to overcome a season or two worth of neglect.

Before You Hit The Beach

Let’s face it, everyone fantasizes about golden, glistening, gorgeous looking skin. So if you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you don’t, work on it. Chances are, you’ll be pretty happy with your efforts.

First a few simple steps to getting healthy looking beach-y skin. Exfoliate, hydrate, glisten and protect.

Rough, dry skin isn’t glamorous. In fact it’s just plain unhealthy looking. Simple fixes include light physical exfoliation (look to DermaNew Microdermabrasion Total Body Experience) and/or a bit of chemical exfoliation blended with a hydrating factor. Products containing AHAs such as M.D. Forte Hand & Body Cream or urea (such as Carmol 20) will work wonders in no time. Skip applying these immediately after any physical exfoliation. Instead, apply a bland emollient such as Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Care Cream or TheraSeal Hand Protection to help seal and soften skin. Later in the day, apply your “active” moisturizer and save yourself possible stinging that may occur if applied immediately after home microdermabrasion.

You’ve exfoliated, you’ve hydrated, now you want your skin looking “sun kissed” before you put in an appearance at your favorite hot spot. Everyone knows it’s unhealthy to get suntanned the old-fashioned way. The question remains, how to look bronzed and beautiful without the damage?

What of your concerns, you say, about the need to get a “base” tan at a tanning salon before heading poolside? Despite the popular notion that tanning beds offer a “safe” alternative to getting a tan, nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the more than 1 million Americans who seek out tanning salons nationwide are unaware that a mere 20 minutes spent in a tanning booth is the equivalent of spending an entire day at the beach. And in addition to the intensity of tanning bed rays, you’re also likely doing more damage in the tanning bed since you probably apply sunscreen at the beach. Recent UV exposure in a tanning bed can make the skin even more vulnerable to outdoor sunburns. So, there really is no such thing as helping protect your skin by getting a base tan.

Get A Healthy Tan The Old Fashioned Way…Out Of A Bottle (Or Booth)!

Self tanners continue to be the mainstay of achieving that bronzed look safely. No longer the foul smelling, orange staining concoctions of our youth, self-tanners have matured along with the rest of us. Self-tanners contain the active agent dihydroxyacetone. This ingredient works by way of a chemical reaction with the most superficial cells of the epidermis that colors the skin. The intensity of color depends on the amount of DHA, usually from 3.5 to about 5 percent as well as the number of applications and the frequency of use. DHA has been determined to be a safe ingredient by the FDA. Self-tanners typically last between 3-4 days. Reapplication of a self-tanner every few days will maintain your bronzed appearance.

Not safe, however, are tanning pills. These contain canthaxanthin an ingredient implicated in causing hives and drug induced hepatitis. Others contain large amounts of beta carotene, and related color additives that produce a tan by colorizing the skin. The color will vary by individual and may look tan but some unfortunates will find their skin looking orange (think about consuming far too many carrots and developing carotenemia) or even pink! None of these additives are FDA approved for use as a tanning agent.

Sunless tanning products that contain sunscreens can be confusing. The sunscreen only lasts until the area has gotten wet from water contact or sweat. Sunless tanners do not provide sun protection on their own. The brown color has no ability to guard against the sun. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

If you want to feel like you’re experiencing the hedonism of the tropics try a self-tanner California North Titanium Self Tanner. Or if trying a self tanner at home seems daunting, consider going for a Mystic Tan. Now available under a number of names (sort of how the names Aspirin and Kleenex are now “generic” over their original brands), one stands in a specially designed booth and evenly sprays a fine mist of self-tanner onto every uncovered surface. Some contain a visible bronzer so that color is visible from the moment the treatment is performed. Whether containing a bronzing agent or not, it will still take the DHA a few hours to make the skin look tanned.

One final benefit of using a self-tanner - cellulite will appear less visible.

However you get your faux glow, in order to make it “glisten”, try applying a product designed to do just that. Body builders and those in the know may apply Cellex-C Body Sheen & Toning Gel before unveiling for eye catching glow.

Final Details

Other things to keep in mind for your day in the sun:

  • Watch Your Sun Exposure

Yes, it seems obvious, but make certain a broad spectrum SPF 30 is applied at least 15 minutes before getting out into the sun’s harsh rays. And reapply, reapply, reapply. When you get out of the water, towel off, or are sweating from a great game of volleyball, reapply your sunscreen no matter if the label says “water-proof” or not. It’s the main way to protect your skin.

  • Wear Your Shades

Take along, and wear, your UV protective sunglasses. Your eyes will thank you for the protection against cataract and melanoma formation. Plus it will make it all the easier to focus and look cool, too.

  • Rinse Off The Chlorine

Chlorine is extremely harsh to the skin. High alkalinity disrupts the protective acid mantle and can leave skin dry, sensitive and irritated. It can also discolor color-treated hair, especially those with blonde tresses, so wash that chlorine right out of your hair!

  • Protect Color Treated Hair

On another note, it’s not just the chlorine that can do a number to your hair. It’s the sun. UV rays will bleach out hair color, we all remember trying to add lemon highlights to our hair when we were younger. But after paying for hair color (even brunettes), the sun can discolor the hair. If you have a sun-protective hair leave-in conditioner, it would be ideal to apply it. A hat works wonders, too.

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