I love the beach. I am also crazy pale and super obsessive about my skin. These things probably shouldn’t go together.
I live with people who have the kind of skin that browns as they walk into the sun. I have the kind of skin that begins to crisp as I walk into the sun. On the rare occasion that my husband burns, his skin peels the next day, and the new, fresh skin is a beautiful brown tone. On the not-so-rare occasion that I burn, my skin peels several days later, and the skin underneath is as milky as it was before the horrible offense. At some point several years ago, after a burn that a co-worker casually called “sudden onset skin cancer,” I decided I needed to up my sunscreen game. And I now have the perfect beach sunscreen routine. It’s not easy. But it hasn’t let me burn in years (knock wood).
The sunscreen I use daily on my face is not beach-worthy. It’s great for everyday, but it can’t deal with the fabulous white (reflective) beaches we have here. A supervisor years ago liked to deep sea fish, and he recommended Ocean Potion. This stuff is amazing. It’s the first layer in the process (SPF 45). Face, ears, top of feet, and tattoos. My teenage son shaves his head, so this is what he uses for that delicate scalp. Never fails. It’s water resistant for nearly an hour and a half.
Let’s Get Started
After that, it’s all Bullfrog, all the time. With skin this lily white, there’s no messing around with Banana Boat or some boutique sunscreen. As the old ads proclaimed, “have you ever seen a sunburnt bullfrog?”
And unfortunately, for this to really work, you have to start with the thick, goopey one. The Water Armour Super Lotion SPF 40. It will seem like it’s taking forever to rub this stuff into your skin, and there are strong odds that you will still have white streaks on you as you walk to the beach or pool. I find that it’s best to do this before you put your swimsuit on or you’ll burn on that line where your swimsuit meets your skin & you didn’t apply right under that line. Burnt boobies. Every time.
And Once More
To take to the beach for reapplication, I like the Bullfrog Water Armour Quik Gel. It applies far more easily than the lotion, but don’t be tempted to use just this. If you’re really pale, you’ll regret it. This is fine for regular people, but us sparkly people need the thicker lotion for that base coat. This is reapplication sunscreen.
For those who have normal skin and just need a basic sunscreen for general health reasons (and I do believe everyone should use a sunscreen all the time), I like the Bullfrog Gel for the initial layer and the Water Armour Sport Instacool for reapplications. It sprays on and is easy to use on the beach with sandy fingers.
There are all sorts of stickers and bracelets that you can wear on the beach that will tell you when it’s time to reapply your sunscreen. Don’t waste your money. Take that money and buy more sunscreen. I’ve tried them & burnt before any of them suggested it was anywhere close to time to reapply. Pale skin isn’t on the radar for those things. Just reapply ever 45 minutes or so. It’s a pain, but so is a sunburn.
Wear a hat. And sunglasses. And remember that if you’re in the ocean, the sun bounces off the water and reflects up. So as far in as you go, that spot on your body will need extra sunscreen (see above ‘burnt boobies’ mention).
Best Compliment Ever
And while that all of that sounds crazy, it also means that when I saw the dermatologist last (pretty much everyone in Florida over the age of 12 sees a dermatologist annually), he said I had amazing skin. I am reasonably sure that’s an awesome compliment.