Jennifer Freitas
COLUMNIST

Let’s start with a basic fact: sun damage is by far the most significant cause of wrinkling, skin aging and skin cancers. That being said, most of us will not avoid enjoying our time outdoors and we are probably all likely, at some point, to experience one of the issues being covered in this article: sunburn, peeling skin and sticky skin!

Sunburn: a burn is an inflammatory response by the body, so if you have a sunburn, you want to apply an anti-inflammatory. (Well, duh!) The best topical anti-inflammatory is fresh aloe – it has both anti-inflammatory properties as well as humectant properties. You should avoid alcohols, witch hazel, menthol and peppermint. I have also heard people say to apply a compress soaked in milk, but you actually should avoid milk – the lactic acid will exfoliate. You want to sooth with emollients, like shea butter or olive oil, and other anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as cucumber, aloe and allantoin (taken from the comfrey plant). Cool water may seem like a good idea but once the water evaporates, it will dehydrate the skin and make it feel even worse. Another suggestion is a cooling spritz of chilled green tea; not only will it feel nice but it will provide your sun-damaged skin with some antioxidants to speed cellular repair. Just make sure your mist is relatively fresh so you can reap the maximum benefit!

Peeling skin: Skin is such a complex organ, but it has the truly amazing ability to renew itself within two weeks to a month. That being said there are simple things you can do to speed the process and also to prevent marking! If the skin is peeling, don’t’ pick – you can trim away excess with a small pair of medical scissors – and it is probably best to get someone to help you with that.

Sticky skin: Sweating is the body’s natural way of detoxing; so as much as you want to avoid feeling sticky, remember that it is necessary to maintain your healthy glow! Anti-perspirants are a big beauty no-no – but a natural deodorant will help you feel fresh! Did you know your sweat isn’t what stinks? It’s actually the bacteria produced that causes you to smell funky. So look for ingredients that will neutralize that. Baking soda works wonders! There are so many great, effective brands out there now, that there is no need to use toxic substances to keep the funk at bay. If it’s shine on your face you are looking to avoid, carrying around a mineral pressed powder will help keep shine to a minimum – and the minerals will also provide you with some additional SPF protection. Win-win!