What To Do To Your Skin And Hair After A Day At The Beach

August 21, 2015 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

Ignore the onslaught of all things pumpkin spice you’re already seeing–there are still plenty of August and September days left to get your beach on. The bad news? This also means there are still plenty of opportunities to allow salt water and direct sunlight to wreak havoc on your hair and skin. We love summer, but heat, humidity, and the effects of beach life often require we kick our beauty regimens up a notch. If you suffered a sunburn after forgetting to apply sunscreen or have noticed your skin and hair feeling drier than usual, these expert tips will help you get your glow back after a long day of fun in the sun.

Post-Beach Hair Repair

“Overexposure to salt water can be damaging for your hair because it can dehydrate it by drawing moisture out of your locks,” says Gina Capano of Luxe Bar. “That’s a big reason hair–particularly color-treated hair–ends up feeling tangled and rough after a day in the ocean.”

Capano says the best beach hair care actually starts before you even hit the sand. “Before you head to the beach, add in a leave-in conditioner,” she says. “A spray formula makes for a convenient way to re-apply throughout the day.” On the flip side, you’ll definitely want to avoid drying agents like alcohol-laden hairsprays and gels before a trip to the beach, and skip the oils, Capano says.

Once you’ve had your fill of fun in the sun, Capano recommends re-applying a moisturizing leave-in conditioner or going a step farther and using a hydrating hair mask. Finally, give your hair a break from heat, which will only zap it of much-needed moisture. “Skip the blow dryer and the hot tools after the beach,” Capano says. “After showering and conditioning, allow your hair to air dry naturally.”

Expert tip: Don’t want to spend a fortune on a salon-quality hair mask? Mix up your own with ingredients like honey, eggs and avocados.

Post-Beach Skin Care

While your inclination may be to slather moisturizer on your skin after a beach day, it’s just as important to be mindful of what you’re putting into your body, as well. “Fresh berries are easy treats to enjoy during the summer, and they also help refresh our skin with the high amount of antioxidants that keep the skin looking youthful,” Alina Cimpoeru, lead esthetician at the Guerlain Spa in the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York says. “Most importantly, you must increase your intake of water in the summer. We tend to sweat more when it’s hotter, so the additional water helps keep us and our skin well-hydrated.

Of course, you shouldn’t stop the re-hydration process with a single bottle of water after hours in the sun. “Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe the sunburn and a 1% hydrocortisone cream can also be helpful for areas that feel particularly uncomfortable,” says Dr. Hadley King, a dermatologist at NYC’s SKINNEY Medspa. Dr. Jill Waibel from Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute suggests combining SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque and SkinCeuticals Resveratrol BE after a long day at the beach helps to soothe, hydrate and repair skin overnight. “Apply Resveratrol BE then follow with Hydrating B5 Masque,” she recommends.

Before you go slathering any rich cream on your skin, stop right there. Not all moisturizers are right for delicate sunkissed skin. “Avoid creams that contain petroleum, benzocaine, or lidocaine,” says King. “Petroleum can trap heat in the skin and benzocaine and lidocaine can irritate the skin.” Cimpoeru adds, “Avoid products that include retinol, retin A or harsh exfoliators as the skin is very sensitive after extended periods in the sun.”

Forgot to apply sunscreen diligently and stuck with a bright red sunburn? “Cool showers or bathing in cool water for 15 minutes helps remedy a sunburn, Cimpoeru says. “Don’t use warm water because the skin is trying to protect itself against the elevated body temperature. Cool compresses, possibly with white vinegar or cucumber, will help relieve swelling. Apply plenty of moisturizer on the skin to minimize peeling or flaking of the damaged skin and add oatmeal to help calm and hydrate the skin. Guerlain’s Super Aqua Body Lotion provides much needed hydration to repair sun-damaged skin.”

If your sunburn is severe, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. “It’s actually very important to reach out to a local board-certified dermatologist if you’re suffering from a painful sunburn,” says Waibel . “Dermatologists can provide several options to treat even the most painful sunburns. Medications like oral prednisone, steroids, or topicals like cicalfate can help relieve swelling and inflammation. One of the best options available is actually the use of an LED laser by a dermatologist. This treatment can reduce redness and pain within twenty minutes of the procedure and can leave you feeling as refreshed as you did before venturing out into the sun.”

Don’t Forget About Your Lips

“Lips need extra hydration in summer–especially after coming in and out of salt or chlorinated water. Try a natural lip balm or lip cream and apply it at night before going to bed,” Cimpoeru says.

For more beauty tips, check out why you should never ghost your hairdresser and 6 things every woman should do to her hair before going to sleep.


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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