I'm Neurotic About My Skin, But I Love the Sun. Here Are My Secrets.

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I love the beach as much as any California girl and back in college I may as well have been a poster child for tanning oil, believing that SPF 4 in Hawaiian Tropic was sufficient. Ah the follies of youth... Looking in the mirror now, I sure do wish I had listened to Baz Luhrmann's advice on the radio. (I know you remember this one.)

Now I spend most of my year in perpetually sunny Los Angeles. And although last year I basically skipped winter, my Scandinavian/Belgian heritage doesn't exactly prepare me for a life of endless summer. 

But it's not too late! While the bulk of skin damage may be done during those younger "invincible" years, it's not entirely irreversible and it IS possible to avoid getting worse. Check out my clean and natural skincare secrets for living a life in the sun. 

Wear (THE RIGHT) Sunscreen, Duh. 

Not just at the beach, and not just any sunscreen. I wear Karyng's Complete Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Every. Single. Day. Even in the winter, and even under my makeup. 

Always make sure your sunscreens avoid toxic chemicals Oxybenzone and Retinyl Palmayte/Vitamin A are both commonly found in mainstream and "anti-aging" sunscreen brands including Coppertone, Neutrogena, Wallgreens, Rite Aid and even Aveeno and Trader Joes

Look for mineral sunscreens containing natural protectors like zinc and titanium and broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. 

Get to know the "do's and don't" of safe sunscreen here, and use EWG's amazingly useful guide for evaluating how clean or toxic your favorite products are. Just say no to Banana Boat and oh Aveeno... Shame on you.

Not Just A Pretty Face.

Aging shows up all over, not just your face. Your neck, decollate and hands (yes, hands!) are often the most telltale places to detect a woman's age. We often forget to apply sunscreen to these parts and rarely give this delicate skin the same love we give our face. So whatever you do to your face, smear it on down your neck and into your hands too!

Wear a Hat, They're Cute Anyway. 

Hats! Turns out they're not only an adorable way to accessorize a plane sundress or simple pair of jean shorts, they're also the best way to block the sun from your delicate face, neck and shoulders. The wider the brim, the better. 

BEAT & TREAT THE BURN

Getting a sunburn is like adding a shot of espresso to your cup-o-aging. Obviously the goal is to avoid, avoid, avoid. But accidents happen, and how you care for that sunburn is crucial.

Drinking a ton of water will help rehydrate the skin from the inside out and applying pure aloe vera gel is the best way to soothe fresh, painful burns. Here are a few that you can trust.

Darphin's Intral anti-redness serum and cream are my secret helpers to calm mildly inflamed skin, and Perry & Hudson's All-For-One cream is my obsession for body. It's incredibly emollient, nourishing, and packed with antioxidants so it's perfect for rehabbing sun damage.

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