Summer has finally arrived—and that means it’s time to replenish your skin-care supplies. Whether you’re swimming, sailing, gardening or barbecuing, bugs bite, UV rays burn and hot winds dehydrate. The result: Your face and body likely need more pampering and protecting now than they do in the dead of winter. We asked skin and beauty experts not only for tips on solving common summer problems but which skin-soothing, animal-friendly products they’d recommend. Their answers, coming up.
Seeing (and feeling) red
Sometimes, no matter how much sunscreen you slather on, you miss a spot or even forget a whole arm and wind up sunburned. Act fast and you can do some damage control.
“The first thing you want to do is take the heat out of your skin with a cool shower or bath,” says Marcy Street, MD, an East Lansing, MI, dermatologist who serves on the Michigan Board of Medicine. Then, she says, jump-start the healing process by applying cooling aloe. Since most of us don’t keep the fresh plant on hand, try Kiss My Face After Sun Aloe Soother, a blend of 95 percent aloe and two anti-inflammatory plants: jewelweed and yucca. $6/4 oz.; 800.262.5477; kissmyface.com
To rehydrate skin, moisturize after applying aloe. Natural beauty expert Kat James, author of The Truth About Beauty: Transform Your Looks from the Inside Out, suggests a lotion that has plant- and vitamin-based anti- inflammatories. “Green tea and vitamins C and E fight free radical damage from the sun,” she says. VTAE’s Damage Soother Repair Lotion calms and cools sunburn with green tea, witch hazel and cucumber, and hydrates with vegetable glycerin, sunflower, avocado and jojoba oils. $18/8 oz.; 800.643.3011; vtae.com
TIP: For maximum healing and comfort, reapply aloe and lotion every few hours until redness fades, advises Street.
When the bee stings
Nothing quells summer fun like bee stings or mosquito bites. To reduce pain and inflammation, put an ice cube on them right away, says Street. Wash stings and bites with soap and water to prevent infection and try not to touch them (yes, we know they itch). Products that disinfect the skin can provide bite relief. “Tea tree is a good antiseptic for bug bites, and will help deaden the pain and speed healing,” James says. Try Dessert Essence Tea Tree Blemish Touch Stick. It neatly dabs the oil on bites to gently disinfect and quell itching. $8.95/0.33 oz.; 800.848.7331; dessertessence.com
TIP: If you have dark skin, dab bites with sunscreen to prevent the sun’s rays from creating a lasting dark spot, suggests Michelle Garbin, a clinical esthetician and makeup artist based in Los Angeles.
Tend thy tootsies
Going barefoot and fancy-free feels wonderful after a winter of being crammed into closed shoes, but it can quickly lead to cracked heels and thick calluses—hardly ideal for those times when you want to slide on sexy sandals. But you can make battered feet look beautiful again overnight. Begin with a 10-minute pre-bedtime soak in warm water; toss in a handful of baking soda to soften calluses. Garbin suggests also adding a few drops of stimulating peppermint or calming lavender essential oils, which double as antiseptics and aromatherapy agents. Or simply add all-in-one Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Foot Soak. It has baking soda, plus lavender and peppermint essential oils. $3/3 oz.; 800.669.3275; auracacia.com
Next, exfoliate the dead skin and calluses around the heel with a pumice stone, says Garbin. Then apply a thick moisturizer and cover with thin cotton socks to keep the lotion on your toes, not your sheets. Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Creme leaves feet deliciously soft. $9/4.34 oz.; 919.998.5200; burtsbees.com
TIP: To maintain those soft feet, give tough spots a quick rubdown with a pumice stone every time you shower, then follow up with a creamy lotion to remoisturize.
Face the summer
Your face is almost always exposed to the elements, which makes dry, chapped lips and wind-burned cheeks surprisingly common in summer. That’s why you still need to use a moisturizer in the summer, even in humid areas of the country. “Just switch to a lighter formula to avoid breakouts and let skin breathe,” James says. Make sure your daytime lotion also contains sunscreen to avoid the burning and cellular damage that lead to premature aging. Boscia’s Vital Daily Moisture SPF 15 goes on light and contains broad-spectrum sun protectants, meaning they guard against both UVA and UVB rays for maximum defense. $26/1 oz.; 866.267.2421; boscia.net
Treat dry, chapped lips with a balm that doesn’t contain petroleum-based ingredients, such as mineral oil and petrolatum. “They act like a barrier and impede the skin’s true moisture self-regulation and healing,” says James. Instead, she prefers plant-based emollients such as carnauba wax and shea butter, which readily penetrate the skin. Make sure your lip balm contains sunscreen too: “Sun damage can cause irregular sunspots on the lips, and skin cancer on this tender tissue is sometimes more aggressive,” says Street. Aveda’s Lip Saver contains carnauba wax and beeswax and protects with SPF 15. $8/0.15 oz.; 800.644.4831; aveda.com
TIP: Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E and CoQ10 can fight environmental damage to the skin, says Street. Try Derma E’s Ester-C Serum with Vitamin E (it also contains vitamin A) under your nighttime moisturizer for an antioxidant boost while you sleep. $17/2oz.; 800.521.3342; dermae.net
Digging in the dirt
Spend a little time gardening on the weekends and, before you know it, your hands will have calluses—and as for your nails, don’t even mention them! The first steps to getting and keeping your hands presentable again are to use an exfoliating soap to smooth rough calluses, and a nailbrush to dislodge stubborn dirt. All Terrain’s Grime Bar is a peppermint-scented hard-milled soap embedded with fine pumice that sloughs off dirt and dry skin too, but won’t leave your hands parched. (Note: Soaps with pumice are not for sensitive skin.) $6/4 oz.; 800.246.7328; allterrainco.com Once clean, massage in a rich hand cream. Better Botanicals’ Gardener’s Hand Balm is a concentrated blend of hydrating kokum butter and coconut oil, laced with a mixture of healing herbs. Plus, it’s small so you can carry it with you to reapply often. $10/1.5 oz.; 888.224.3727; betterbotanicals.com
TIP: Before bed, apply a rich moisturizer to garden-weary hands and cover with cotton gloves. You’ll wake up to soft-again skin.
Living at the foot of the Rockies in Lafayette, CO, freelance writer Anna Soref doesn’t leave home without sunscreen, lotion and lip balm.