A warm island breeze blows in off the surf. The sound of the waves lapping on the beach calms you. The cares of the world seem to slip further and further away with each tiny cloud passing over the horizon. It’s the perfect tropical dream. But wait, is that a blemish you feel on your cheek? Suddenly your dream turns to nightmare – not on my vacation!
Your vacation is a chance to get away – away from the things that add stress to your life. Work. Complicated relationships. Diets. And yes, breakouts.
But can it be done? What about all that humidity? The answer is yes. With a little advance planning and the right products, you can keep your skin healthy and vibrant in the tropics without stressing over it (you’re trying to get away from stress, remember?).
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Why? Because the sun’s light isn’t good for you in high doses – and neither is a tanning bed. So many of us will spend hours baking in tanning beds before we leave so we look good on the beach from day one. In addition to the many dangers of tanning (whether in the bed or in the sun), there is also the distinct potential of triggering a breakout in the process. When your skin tans, it also dries out. In the process, your pores can shrink and become much more easily clogged – especially when you sweat.
A spray tan, on the other hand, is a great alternative – there’s no burning involved, no tell-tale goggle lines, no harmful UV exposure and you see the results almost immediately. And the real benefit is to your skin once you get to your destination – if you hit the beach already tanned, you’ll be less likely to stay out in the sun too long. And that can keep those blemishes in check.
On an island vacation, you’ll be spending the majority of your day exposed to the sun in one way or another. Whether it’s parasailing, lying on the beach, sightseeing, or shopping in one of the local markets, you’ll need a good sunscreen. Look for one with an SPF of at least 15 – 30 is better – and is noncomedogenic (won’t clog pores). Be sure to find one that is waterproof and incorporates a moisturizer to help pull double duty under the tropical sun. Apply it wherever skin may be exposed to the sun over the course of the day – before you even leave your hotel room. Reapply periodically throughout the day – even if it’s a long-lasting variety. The last thing you want is a burn – it’s bad in the long run and in the short-term, it can lead to breakouts by essentially sealing your pores shut. And don’t forget your lips – be sure that whatever you wear on your lips also caries a high SPF rating!
Salt water and sunlight will dry out your skin even with the best of sunscreens, so your moisturizer needs to be up to the challenge. Look for moisturizers that are fortified with vitamin E and botanicals. Also be sure that, like your sunscreen, your moisturizer is noncomedogenic. If you have oily skin or are prone to breakouts, look for an oil-free variety.
Tip: Pack a container of disposable cleansing cloths – you can find them in most department stores. Throw some in your bag for the beach or horseback riding and keep them in your hotel room for quick cleansing throughout the day. Many are formulated to remove make-up and cleanse at the same time, so they serve a great dual purpose.