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Beach Day Skin Care Essentials: Protecting Your Skin Under the Sun

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When heading out for a fun-filled day at the beach, it’s important to keep your skin protected from the harmful effects of the sun. The combination of UV rays, saltwater, and sand can pose potential risks to your skin. By incorporating the right beach day skincare essentials into your routine, you can enjoy the sun while keeping your skin healthy and radiant. In this article, we’ll explore the must-have items for your beach bag that will ensure you have a memorable and safe time by the shore.

Pre-Beach Prep

Good beach-day skincare practices start way before that first sea-breeze hits. Everything at the beach, from the sun to the sand, can be extremely damaging to your skin, so you want to make sure that your skin is fully protected and prepared for when you step onto the beach. 


Since high temperatures as well as the salt content of the ocean at the beach can dry out the skin, your pre-beach preparation should involve multiple layers of hydration.

Start with a serum containing humectants like hyaluronic acid or propylene glycol on damp skin after cleansing to draw water to the skin’s surface. Then, seal in all the hydration with a moisturiser that replenishes and protects the skin’s moisture barrier.

Skincare to avoid: While we love retinoids and AHAs for glowing, radiant skin, avoid them 24 hours before the beach as these ingredients chemically exfoliate the skin, making your skin more sensitive to the sun and susceptible to burning.


Photo by Onela Ymeri on Unsplash

No beach day preparation is complete without sunscreen, of course. Your first round of sunscreen application should begin at least 15 minutes before sun exposure to allow ample time for the sunscreen to be absorbed into the skin and work effectively.

Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least  SPF 50 to shield your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it generously to all exposed areas of your body, including your ears, neck, and the often-forgotten feet. 

Not only does sunscreen protect your skin from sunburns and skin cancer primarily caused by UVB rays, but it can also defend against premature ageing by blocking your skin from UVA rays. 

UVA rays are long waves from the sun that penetrate deeper into your skin, accelerating the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres in the skin, leading to a loss of firmness and elasticity – think fine lines and wrinkles. UVB rays, on the other hand, are shorter waves from the sun that only reach the surface of your skin causing tanning or sunburn. Exposure to UV rays can also trigger an increase in melanin production, leading to the development of dark spots or hyperpigmentation. Therefore, applying sunscreen consistently can help prevent these uneven patches of skin discolouration, maintaining a more even and radiant complexion.

Beach Essentials

While you’re having fun at the beach, don’t forget these essentials to keep your skin healthy and happy!

Sunscreen for Reapplication

Why do we need to reapply sunscreen? Here is some science behind sunscreen to help you understand the importance of sunscreen and why we need to reapply frequently.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF):

The Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, labelled on sunscreen is a measure of how effectively it protects against UVB rays. SPF indicates the amount of time it takes for UVB radiation to cause sunburn on protected skin compared to unprotected skin. The SPF value represents the factor by which you can extend your skin’s natural sunburn protection time. For example, if your skin typically starts to burn after 10 minutes of sun exposure, an SPF 30 sunscreen theoretically extends that time to 300 minutes (10 minutes multiplied by SPF 30). This is due to a process called photodegradation. When you apply sunscreen, it forms a thin protective layer that absorbs or reflects UV radiation. However, throughout the day, UV radiation breaks down the sunscreen’s active ingredients, reducing its effectiveness at blocking or absorbing UV rays. Therefore, a single application of sunscreen will only provide adequate sun protection for a few hours.

Additionally, other factors contribute to the decreased effectiveness of sunscreen over time, emphasising the need for reapplication: 

Water and Sweat: Water can wash away or dilute sunscreen, while sweat can reduce its efficacy by causing it to run or rub off the skin.

Friction: Activities like towel-drying or rubbing against clothing can diminish sunscreen’s effectiveness by physically removing it from the skin.

Reapplying sunscreen is crucial for maintaining its effectiveness and providing continuous protection. The recommended reapplication interval is typically every two hours, or more frequently if swimming, sweating, or engaging in activities that can remove the sunscreen from the skin.

Regular reapplication helps counteract the photodegradation process, replenishing the protective layer and ensuring consistent coverage. It also addresses missed areas during initial application, offers a fresh layer of sun protection, and helps compensate for any inadequate initial application.

Lip Balm with SPF

Image by Supergoop!
Image by Sun Bum

Don’t forget about your lips! They are susceptible to sunburn too, especially since the skin on the lips is thinner and more delicate compared to other areas of the body. Sunburn on the lips can be painful, cause swelling, and lead to peeling or blistering. Long exposure to the sun can also lead to dry and chapped lips. Therefore, lip balms with SPF can provide a protective barrier against moisture loss while simultaneously offering sun protection.

Wide-Brimmed Hat

A stylish wide-brimmed hat not only adds a fashionable touch to your beach attire but also acts as a shield against the sun’s rays. It provides extra protection to your face, neck, and shoulders, reducing direct sun exposure and preventing sunburn and premature ageing.


Protecting your eyes from the sun is just as important as protecting your skin. Choose sunglasses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. This will shield your eyes from harmful rays and minimise the risk of eye damage, including cataracts and other vision problems.


Photo by Justin W on Unsplash

Staying hydrated is crucial when spending time at the beach, as the heat can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can result in dull skin and accentuate the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. To maintain skin elasticity, tone, and a healthy appearance, it’s important to drink an adequate amount of water. Be prepared by packing a cooler box with hydrating fruits, water-rich foods, and an ample water supply. Optimal hydration can be achieved by including electrolyte-rich drinks like coconut water in your beach essentials.

Post-Beach Skincare

After a fun, relaxing day frolicking under the sun, it is important to replenish and nourish your skin. First, cleanse your skin well, especially if you are using mineral sunscreen, as it tends to stick to your skin to protect it. If you are experiencing any sunburn or irritation, apply an after-sun lotion or gel enriched with aloe vera or other soothing ingredients to calm the skin down. This will aid in restoring moisture and promoting skin repair.

Vitamin C

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

To rejuvenate the skin, layer products with antioxidants like vitamin C, aloe vera,  and hyaluronic acid. Vitamin C is known to have protective properties against photo-ageing, help reverse UV damage, reduce signs of ageing and minimise pigmentation. In short, vitamin C is your skin saviour if you were having a little too much fun and forgot about reapplying sunscreen at the beach.


Saltwater and sand can dehydrate your skin, so it’s crucial to moisturise, especially after a long day at the beach. Apply a hydrating lotion or cream after rinsing off to replenish lost moisture and keep your skin soft and supple.

Taking care of your skin during beach days is essential for maintaining its health and appearance. By packing these beach day skincare essentials, you can enjoy the sun’s rays while ensuring your skin stays protected and hydrated. Remember, prevention is key, so lather on the sunscreen, wear your protective gear, and have a fantastic time at the beach while keeping your skin safe!


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