What’s in my Beach Bag? Summer Packing Series #2

Are you ready to hit the beach?

Welcome back to the summer packing series!  Hope you enjoyed my first blog about how to pack makeup for vacation.  If you missed it, you can check it out here.  This post will talk about the essentials to keep in your beach bag so that you can be prepared for lots of beach/pool fun this summer!

To make my life easier, there are some staples that I pack into the beach bag at the beginning of the season, and leave in there so I can’t forget it!  I keep a lot of items in plastic zip lock bags to keep out sand and water.  Then I can just throw in towels and some snacks and we are good to go!

Sunscreens

There are several SPF products that have a permanent home in my beach bag.  First, I have fallen in love with Coola’s sport Guava Mango sunscreen spray SPF 50.  It’s organic, and smells so delicious it doesn’t even give a hint that it is sunscreen!  It is a chemical sunscreen so if you prefer mineral, I have another great one to recommend to you.  This other  sunscreen I’ve been loving is from the drugstore.  It is Australian gold Botanical sunscreen SPF 50.  This also has a fruity heavenly scent but is a lotion (mineral, so it’s great for those with sensitive skin).  To get the lowdown on SPF you can check out my other blog post here.  Now both of these sunscreens are ok to use on my son, but I do have another one I use for him from Thinksport.  Like the others, it’s broad spectrum, water resistant and is SPF 50+.  This one also smells great so sometimes I’ll use this for me also!  It’s a little thicker than the Australian gold lotion so sometimes it’s easier to use the other one.

Brush on Block – I spoke about this product in another blog.  It’s great to reapply SPF to your face on a daily basis.  It’s a powder and brush in one.  The powder has an SPF of 30, is broad spectrum and water resistant as well.  If you wear makeup when out in the sun, this is a great way to keep your sun protection in tact without messing up your makeup.

Lip protection – I found an awesome product from Supergoop called Shine on Lip Screen.  This is a gloss with SPF 50 to keep your lips protected in the sun.  You can wear it alone or right on top of your regular lipstick (this is how I like to use it).  Again, it’s a great way to get that sun protection in while keeping makeup looking fresh!

Bug Spray – Not sure about where you all are located, but here in NJ, mosquitoes are even more of a menace this season.  I really don’t like to use products with DEET, so I’ve found a product from OFF! that has another ingredient called picardin, which is a gentler alternative.

Deodorant wipes – I like to keep these on hand to freshen up after the beach if I am out somewhere without a shower nearby.  Pacifica makes these wipes that smell like coconuts.  It is so refreshing and they really work for me to not smell!

Baby Wipes– With a 5 year old, you never know what can happen, so I always keep a pack of baby wipes on hand.  They are in my car, at my house, and definitely in my beach bag!  Over the years I’ve tried many brands, but I always go back to the Huggies Natural Care.  They are gentle, have no fragrance and do not feel greasy.

Hand Sanitizer – Along with the baby wipes, whether you have kids or not, it’s always a good idea to bring hand sanitizer to the beach.  I use one I got as a freebee from work a while back, but Bath and Bodyworks has great travel sized ones and any drugstore will have some travel sized ones also.

Good book – I make pretty regular trips to my local library, so before my next trip I’ll run over and grab something that looks like a good beach read.  Lately I’ve been into suspense and mysteries, but let’s see what I find!

I hope you are enjoying your summer and happy packing for your next trip!  Stay tuned for the next installment of my summer packing series, which will be all about packing clothes!

 

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of those products, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try some of the products!

 

Sunscreen 101: What you need to know

Are you ready to be in the sun this summer?

With Memorial Day upon us and the unofficial kick-off of summer, it’s important to make sure your SPF routine is summer-ready.  Not only is sunscreen key in your antiaging routine (see my anti-aging tips here), but it is also your weapon against skin cancer, which is on the rise.  Here are some facts that are concerning:

  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.*
  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.*
  • Also, the risk of skin cancer doubles if a person has had 5 or more sunburns in their lifetime or even one severe sunburn as a child.**

Ok, so this is pretty scary.  What do you need to know when selecting a sunscreen?  Products should have a minimum of SPF 30 and should protect against BOTH UVA and UVB rays.  If you don’t see the words “broad spectrum” on the label, then it doesn’t protect from both.  UVA rays cause premature aging, hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries, and wrinkling.  UVB rays cause sunburn.  Both are contributors to skin cancer.

UV rays pass through clouds and window glass – that is why sunscreen is a MUST every day no matter what the season or the weather!  Also, UV rays are the strongest between 10 am and 4 pm so be extra diligent during those times of day.

Knowing what to look for in a sunscreen is key to being safe in the sun!

What is physical vs. chemical sunscreen and which should I use?

OK, let me break it down.  Bottom line, you need to use sunscreen and need to find one that works well with your skin type.  Both types have pros and cons, and there isn’t any evidence that one is better than the other, as long as you are using it consistently and reapplying often.  (Remember to reapply every 2 hours – don’t forget around your eyes and lips.)

Also there is not evidence that the higher the SPF the better.  Most experts recommend using a minimum of SPF 30 up to 50 with broad spectrum protection.  Really though, anything higher than 30 does not really provide that much more protection, maybe 1-2% more than SPF 30 does.

Physical sunscreens have mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and sit on top of your skin to deflect the sun’s rays.

Pros and Cons-

Physical sunscreens can be better for those with sensitive or acne prone skin; some formulas can be very thick or leave a white cast which can be a con for those with darker skin tones.  However, sunscreen products have come a long way and many are not as thick as in years past.  Another pro is that once applied the product begins working and you can go in the sun.

One product I love that is a physical sunscreen is CeraVe Face Lotion SPF 50.  It is for the face and looks great under makeup!  It also has some other good for you skin ingredients like ceramides and niacinamide, and is pretty inexpensive.  Another product I use to touch up during the day without messing up my makeup is Brush on Block.  It is powder but comes in a portable stick so it’s great to bring to work, the beach or wherever you are going!

Chemical sunscreens have ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate or avobenzone and penetrate into your skin, absorbing the UV rays, changing them to heat and then releasing that heat.

Pros and Cons-

Chemical sunscreens can be more irritating to certain skin types and also, because they penetrate into the skin, it is recommended that you wait at least 20 minutes for the product to sink in before sun exposure.

One chemical sunscreen moisturizer I love is the L’BRI Oil-Free Moisturizer with SPF 32.  L’BRI is an American company that uses all natural ingredients and features aloe as a main ingredient in its products.  This moisturizer feels great on my skin and leaves a natural glow.

Final thoughts

No matter what, find an SPF product that works for you and use it!  Don’t just use it when you are going to the beach, but every day.  And, don’t just apply in the morning and forget about it the rest of the day!  It needs to be reapplied every couple of hours or after you’ve sweat or gone swimming.  If you are using makeup with SPF in it, great but please don’t rely only on that for your protection.  Happy summer, everyone!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of those products, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try some of the products!

*Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. American Cancer Society.  http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-048738.pdf.

**Milady’s Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians 9th Edition.