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Towel? Check! Book? Check! Head-to-toe cover....Check?

By Elean Translated by Ann Lee

As summer approaches, beach season is in full bloom. Bikinis, board shorts and beach towels fill up shop windows as people flock to the coast for a little time with the sand and water. While splashing in the waves, however, it's easy to get a little carried away when it comes to exposure time. If this happens, the next thing you know, you'll have a great big white "X" or a little knot from your bikini tie branded in between in the maroon patches of back, on what used to be healthy skin. This month, we want to share a few pointers and reminders, so that you don't end up back at the hotel, rubbing aloe on your back for the rest of your beach vacation.

Cover your skin
This is a no-brainer if you're planning to spend any time at all outdoors. The suns rays are the strongest in the middle of the day (usually from around 11 a.m.-3 p.m.). Most doctors recommend not going outside during this time, and if you have to, they recommend using sunscreen with high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) along with wearing protective clothing like hats, long-sleeves, and pants. Tanned looks are getting less and less popular and sun damage to your skin is pretty much irreversible, so don't forget to apply sunscreen and keep highly-exposed skin under wraps.

Use sunscreen correctly
When you walk into any health store or supermarket, especially in the summer, there's a broad selection of sunscreen that boasts different effects and protection levels. Sifting out the good from the garbage is an important step in protecting your skin. If you're going to be at the beach, look for high SPF sport-specific cream. These blocks are usually waterproof and less greasy than tanning lotions. While the SPF isn't the determining factor in healthy or unhealthy skin, it works together with your good judgment.
Besides applying it 15 or 20 minutes before going out in the sun, your sunscreen is only truly effective when you reapply frequently—the bottle often says how often you should do this. Usually it is about 80 minutes for waterproof blocks and a few hours for normal kinds. That means if you're spending all day at the beach, you need to get out every hour, reapply and wait 15 minutes before going back in the sun. I know it sounds boring and painful, but it does a lot less damage than a blistering inferno on your shoulders and chest.

Proper after-sun care
Sunshine, sand and sea water remove a lot of moisture from your skin, which can cause irritation and premature aging. Because of this, it is essential that you effectively moisturize before and after sun exposure—try to use aloe and avoid using fatty lotions, which can irritate sun damage. After you've come in, and if you're not badly burned (water can upset the burn), take a shower and exfoliate your skin—you can do this with an exfoliating soap or product or a firm loofa. Don't forget to moisturize your face, too! Skincare is not about keeping up with fashion or following trends, so find a product that is designed especially for your skin's sensitivity level. Some people also believe that loading up on proper foods before you go outside—red, yellow and dark green vegetables, for example—can do nothing but promote skin health while in the sun.

Besides moisturizing your skin, be sure to drink a lot of water after you come in from the sun and always look out for your skin. There's nothing that says "beach vacation" like an even, healthy tan but, then again, there's nothing that says "future skin problems" like a roaring, purple sunburn.

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