Tonight is my last night shift at the hospital, in which one doctor (me!) covers over 100 patients on the medical service, for twelve slightly nerve-wracking hours. Only one more shift stands between me and my long overdue, postponed honeymoon to Bora Bora, Moorea, and Tahiti! Ten glorious days in the sunshine and overwater villas await, and I can almost feel the sand beneath my toes right now. (Almost!) Since vacationing is on my mind, I decided to do some sleuthing about healthy skincare in tropical climates, and I want to share these tips with you so you’re prepared for your next island adventure.
This is a no brainer – sunscreen is an absolute must especially because you will be a) in the sun more and b) exposing more skin. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA (causes aging) and UVB (causes skin cancer), and the American Academy of Dermatology recommends SPF 30 which blocks out 97% of the sun’s rays. Reapply every 2 hours and also keep in mind that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 2 pm, so think about using hats or seeking shade during those peak hours. Don’t forget to use SPF lip balm as well (my personal favorite is the Fresh Sugar Rose tinted lip treatment with SPF 15). Also, if you’re going somewhere expensive and touristy, make sure to pack sunscreen with you because they will be very pricey once you land on the island!
But isn’t it humid on tropical islands, you ask? Correct, but you will be out in the sun all day and probably enjoying a few alcoholic beverages, which all dehydrate your body and definitely take a toll on your skin. Rehydrate with water (remember the water challenge?) and snack on some foods with high water content such as tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, watermelons, cantaloupes, and strawberries.
Along the same lines as hydration, you will need to keep on top of your daily lotion routine. Salt water and lots of sunlight will dry out your skin, so remember to lather on body lotion and facial cream after every bath within minutes of patting dry. Always use lotion again after any irritation to the skin, such as shaving or exfoliating.
The humid weather makes you prone to acne breakouts because more moisture on the face leads to clogged pores. Clean away the dirt and oil in your pores with oil absorbing sheets, makeup towelettes, pore strips (I like Deep Cleansing Strips from Biore) or a pore clarifying mask, and bring some acne spot treatment like Proactiv Solution Advanced Blemish Treatment. Also, if you have oily skin already, don’t use moisturizer on your T-zone area (forehead, nose, chin) when you’re in a humid environment.