Travel Skin Care: How to Protect Yourself during Summer

Health & Safety, Spa & Beauty — By on July 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

One essential that a Lost Girl may or may not keep in check during her summer getaway is her skin–and the consequences can be irritating or painful. It’s easy to forget to practice proper skincare methods while on the road, at the beach, or in the woods. LG Section Editor Michele Herrmann asked the following specialists for advice on how to ensure your epidermal layers stay safe and smooth this summer.


Joseph Fowler, a dermatologist as well as clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Louisville and assistant clinical professor in the Division of Occupational Medicine at the University of Kentucky

Neal Schultz, a cosmetic/medical dermatologist with Park Avenue Skincare in New York City and founder of the DermTV website

Johana Sterling, a foot expert at Gehwol, a foot-care company

Josie L. Tenore, president and CEO of Fresh Skin Aesthetic Medicine Center in Highland Park, Ill.

1)  What skincare advice would you give female travelers before setting off for their trip?

Schultz: One important factor that happens for travelers is that they fall out of their regular skin care routine when away from home. Schultz recommends writing down the steps that your morning and evening regime consists of as a checklist and to check to pack the products you use in during each set.

Tenore: She finds that many women don’t do “a great job” of cleansing their skin at night. She suggests to first precleanse your skin with makeup removing products. Then, use a gentle cleanser, which is good for all skin types. If you have time, use a toner.

Fowler: He recommends bringing a combo moisturizer/sunscreen and to avoid highly fragranced products, which may irritate sensitive skin. Fowler adds he has found bar soaps such as Ranbaxy’s Lowila Gentle Cleansing Bar, Dove, Aveeno, and Cetaphil better than liquid washes. He advises to avoid bringing along oil-based products because in the summertime they tend to clog pores. He also recommends to incorporate a moisturizer with a sunscreen into your morning routine, which makes it easy to remember its application while on the go.

2)  Fun in the sun is common on any summer vacation. What should be done to protect your skin?

Schultz: Select sunscreen brands that carry a SPF (sun protection factor) range between 15 and 30 and also list that they provide UVA or broad spectrum protection, as these can protect skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Another lesson to remember is that often people do not apply sunscreen properly or don’t use enough. To protect your body, Scultz recommends to apply about an ounce to an ounce and a half of sunscreen.  No matter what a sunscreen says on the bottle and Woman Applying Sunscreenwhat activity you’re doing, you need to re-apply it frequently, so about every 3-4 hours. Even if it says it’s waterproof, it’s not; you need to re-apply. Areas that frequently get sunburned because sunscreen is not placed there are: the tops of our ears, the back of our neck, the back of your upper thighs and even the tops of your feet. Most sunscreens need to be in contact with the skin for about a half-and-hour for them to work, so apply them accordingly.

Tenore: Your scalp and lips also need protection. Most lipsticks and glosses don’t have an SPF, or if so, only in the range of 15-20. The product line Colorscience makes a sunscreen that can be apply to hair parts and ears, and lip-glosses with an with SPF of 35. Also, don’t forget to don a hat. Cleanse and tone their skin with gentle products, then apply products containing Vitamin C and E before applying sunscreen. When Vitamin C and E (best used in combination) are applied to the skin and then the skin is exposed to UV radiation, there is a significant reduction in the chance of skin damage as well as maintaining your resistance to infections. As long as these vitamins are on the skin before chronic or prolonged sun exposure, you are less likely to develop wrinkles and even skin tumors. Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can calm redness.

Fowler: The best time to apply sunscreen is 20-30 minutes before going outside. Though sunscreen sprays can seem like a quick solution, they’re not at all as well covering. Many think one light spray will do the trick but most of the product ends up in the air. Users would have to spray more than they would think in order to cover their skin well, so Fowler recommend non-spray varieties.

3) Nature calls during summer. What’s best to treat and/or prevent rashes or sores from insect bites and infectious plants?

Schultz: For skin irritated by poison ivy, create a compress consisting of equal amounts of skim milk and water in a bowl; this home remedy acts as a cooling solvent. Take a smooth material like a T-shirt or handkerchief, put it in the liquid mixture, wring it out half-way and apply it to the irritated skin for about 5 or 10 minutes. To help with itching, use a lotion that contains menthol such as Sarnal. Also get a 1 percent cortisone cream. If it’s not sufficient to help with inching, get a prescription cream.

Tenore: DEET-based products are still the most effective with avoiding insect bites, but certain naturopathic oils can also help to deter bugs. Her suggestions include everything from peppermint to geranium to lemon eucalyptus and rosemary. The best strategy really is to apply the essential oils to the skin first and then wear long sleeve and long pants that are made with lightweight material that are light-colored (bug love dark colors).

Fowler: IvyBlock Lotion can block irritation from contact with plants such as poison ivy.  Topical corticosteroids such as Kenalog Spray are needed to treat it.

4) It’s a given that travelers will be constantly on their feet. How should they treat them well after a long day?

Sterling: The heel of a person’s foot is extremely sensitive because there is a high concentration of nerve endings. Soles carry all of a person’s body weight so it is common for them to suffer from pain. To prevent problems with your feet, the right shoe is very important and it is best to pick a shoe with support, like a sneaker. Stretches can also help foot pain and should be done before your travels.

When your feet are sore, Sterling advises to do the following:

  • Rest your tired feet
  • Applying ice helps swelling go down because it reduces blood flow to the area, but don’t overdo it. It can also cause short term pain relief
  • Compression to the area also helps reduce swelling
  • Elevate your feet when they are sore.


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