10 Tips for Finding the Best Everyday Sunscreen

Finding a great sunscreen to wear to the beach isn’t exactly a daunting task. Find the SPF you want in a broad-spectrum and water resistant formula, and you’re done.

Finding a great sunscreen to wear for everyday use, on the other hand, can be a bit of a beast. Is this enough SPF? Will this leave my face greasy? Will this be too thick? Too thin? You’re trying to protect your skin; it shouldn’t be this difficult!

While it’s important to wear SPF every day all year, now that the sun is coming back out, it’s absolutely vital. Check out these 10 tips for finding a great sunscreen you can wear every day.

  1. Remember that you need to wear sunscreen if you’re going to be in the sun for more than 20 minutes. As a general rule, it’s good to put on SPF when you’re getting ready in the morning.
  2. If you will be spending more than 20 minutes in the sun, or will be participating in outdoor activities, use an SPF 50.
  3. For everyday use, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF 30 sunscreen.
  4. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Broad-spectrum means the lotion will protect you against UVB (rays that cause sunburn) and UVA (rays that penetrate deeper into the skin and cause premature aging and wrinkling) rays. Sunscreens not labeled “broad-spectrum” may only protect against sunburn, not aging, wrinkles or other damage.
  5. If you’re looking for a product to wear under your makeup, look for a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer. Make sure it contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide listed as an active ingredient.
  6. For sensitive skin, look for a mineral sunscreen (rather than chemical).
  7. If you don’t want to wear a full face of makeup, but still want a little bit of tint, try a BB creme with SPF 30.
  8. Avoid sunscreens that contain vitamin A. According to the EWG, roughly 20 percent of sunscreens and moisturizers with SPF contain the vitamin, possibly because it may slow aging when used in indoor lotions or moisturizers. In products exposed to the sun, however, it can speed the growth of cancerous tumors and spur excess skin growth.
  9. Lotions and creams will provide better, more protective coverage than sprays.
  10. Don’t forget your lips! A lip balm with SPF 15 will help protect your lips from burning and chapping.

What are your favorite sunscreens to use? Let me know in the comments!

How to Get Better Skin in 5 Easy Steps

I’ve never been the makeup kind of girl. Every time I try to get really into it, I make a trip to Sephora, use my new toy once or twice, then I’m done. My makeup routines are usually reserved for days that my red skin is especially active, I’m having a breakout, or, for whatever reason, my skin looks dull.

What I do get obsessed with, though, is skincare.

I love taking care of my skin so that I can keep going makeup-free. But, still, I’m not one for long routines. I’m not going to have 10-step skincare regimen I have to do every morning and night. I prefer to take care of my skin with my lifestyle.

Way too many people forget all the factors that can have an impact on their skin. I’ve had so many friends blame genetics or the luck of the draw, then tell me al of the overpriced products they use to make their skin somewhat decent look.

Granted, genetics do play a big part. For example I get the redness in my cheeks from both sides of my family. But, I also get it from being overweight and working in a very stressful environment.  Pollution, diet, sunlight, age and so many other factors play into your skin’s radiance, as well. The good news? You can’t control genetics, but you can control your environment and your lifestyle in order to take control of your skin’s health.

  1. Get More Water – This one is huge. Adequate hydration not only helps your body function better, but also helps you look younger. When you’re dehydrated, your body will use water from wherever it can get it, including your skin. When your skin starts to lose water, fine lines, wrinkles and other “blemishes” are exaggerated, making you look older. I try to drink a gallon of water a day, but a good rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water each and every day. If you’d like an extra kick in the metabolism, try drinking lemon water first thing in the morning.
  2. Catch Your Zzzz’s – Your skin’s repair mechanisms are hard at work while you’re fast asleep. Bedtime is when your proteins and melatonin are produced, and when other anti-aging activity occurs. Skin conditions and irritations are exacerbated when you’re sleep-deprived; that tired state can also accelerate skin aging, and cause breakouts as more adrenaline and cortisol are released. Sufficient sleep (7-8 hours) gives your body its best chance for optimal skin performance.Conture Green Tea
  3. Go Green – Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties that can be soothing to red or blotchy skin. Try to drink it cold, because hot beverages can worsen redness and other imperfections. In addition to soothing unevenness, the epigallocatechin gallate in green tea may help prevent the collagen destruction that leads to wrinkles, lines and discoloration. Try replacing your morning joe with some morning green.
  4. Protect Yourself – While you may put on sunscreen every time you head outdoors, did you know that UV rays can penetrate your windows? So, even if you’re safe inside, your skin could still be at risk of wrinkling and brown spots. Whether the windows are in your home, office or car—studies have shown higher rates of skin cancer on the left side of the face and upper body than the right—you’re at risk. Always be sure to apply sunscreen to your face and neck, and any other areas that are exposed, every morning to protect yourself whether or not you leave the house.
  5. Stress Less – I totally get it. Stress can’t be avoided. Between your boss, your kids, your spouse and everything else in your life, stress happens. But, how you deal with that stress has a huge impact on your overall health, and your skin in particular. Stress increases your production of hormones, like cortisol, that cause breakouts by making your skin oilier and less able to fight off acne-causing bacteria. Stress also impacts your sleep patterns, eating habits (Just say no to the brownie!) and mental acuity. Find a way to deal with your stress that works for you: meditation and yoga can help you recenter and find balance, whereas more active exercise like cross-training or running can help you get out your frustrations. Added benefits of these activities: reduction of skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis.

What do you do to take care of your skin?

Why Lemon Water is SO Good for You

About a year ago, it seemed that everywhere I turned, social media, radio programs, tv shows, people were hailing the benefits of lemon water. Since then, I’ve repeatedly tried to make it a habit to drink it every day, but only recently have actually made it part of my daily ritual.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been more dedicated to my health than every. I do some form of exercise every day. I eat healthy probably 90% of the time. And, I drink 8 oz. of lemon water as soon as I wake up.

As a result, I’ve felt better, my skin is clearer, and I wake up much quicker. (Coffee doesn’t stand a chance against the instant-alertness you experience when chugging ice cold, tart lemon water.)

slicing-lemons-on-cutting-board

Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

Lemon water helps flush out the body, which leads to clearer skin, and the innate vitamin C promotes collagen production for smooth and healthy skin. If great skin isn’t enough to sell you, consider these other benefits of drinking daily lemon water:

  • Helps digestion – drinking the concoction first thing in the morning can help flush the digestion system and rehydrate the body.
  • Boosts immunity – drinking lemon water when you wake up helps the body absorb the vitamin C and Potassium present in the fruit, helping the immune system and reducing the effects of stress.
  • Sheds weight – being properly hydrated helps increase your metabolism. Researchers in Germany found that, after drinking 17 oz of water, participants’ (both male and female) metabolic rates increased by 30%.

    Other theories on the benefits of drinking lemon water:
    -Balances pH levels
    -Detoxes the body
    -Prevents water retention
    -Boosts energy

lauren-cathleen-slices-lemons-for-lemon-water

To recharge your body with lemon water, follow these simple steps:

  1. Wake up and boil about 10 oz of water.
  2. Cut a lemon in half and juice–by hand or by press–into a glass. (If you weigh less than 150 lbs, only use half a lemon. If you weigh more than 150 lbs, use the entire lemon.)
  3. Pour your water into the glass and let steep for a few minutes. Feel free to use more water if it’s too strong.
  4. Wait 15-30 minutes after drinking your water before you eat breakfast.
  5. Brush your teeth! The citric acid in lemons can erode tooth enamel, so be sure to rinse your mouth after and/or brush your teeth.

Now, that’s what’s recommended. To be honest, though, I do not have time to boil water and let my lemon steep in it first thing in the morning. When I wake up, I have 15 minutes before I need to be out the door and headed to the gym.

So, every Sunday, I do all my lemon squeezing and water-mixing. I fill up two of these 34 oz. bottles from IKEA with the lemon water and store them in the fridge. When I wake up, I simply pour, chug and dash. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

bottle of lemon water with lemons on cutting board
Have you used this tried-and-true method? What are your thoughts?