Essential summer skin care tips for queer guys – there’s more to it than just sunscreen!
It’s turning into a pretty hot summer in many places across the Northern Hemisphere. While it’s probably a sign of an impending environmental disaster, in the short-term we’ve all got to find ways to keep cool and carry on.
A basic step is to make sure you’ve got some sun-block on before stepping outdoors, but there’s a lot more to summer skin-care than just slapping on some Factor 50.
We caught up with Joel Quinones of Houston’s Q Salon, to talk about how to take care of your skin while enjoying the summer sun.
What are some of the skin-care basics that we should be thinking about when heading out into the sun?
First off, the sun is hottest from 10 AM to 2 PM. If at all possible, wear hats, sunglasses, and keep as much covered by clothing as possible.
Always wear a sunscreen on the areas exposed – face, neck, arms. If you wear shorts and flip flops, those areas need to be covered also.
You need a broad spectrum which blocks both UVA and UVB rays. There are also hair products that contain a sunscreen for hair. If you have colour on your hair to cover grey, the sun will lift that colour right off and leave you looking brassy – hats and hair products with an SPF are recommended.
What are some of the considerations when choosing a sun-block?
I don’t mess around – an SPF of 30 or higher is my go-to. I have sunscreens that are for just my face, and then those just for the body. I have oily to combination skin, so I pick a sunscreen with an SPF of 50. The ones I use are light and have an almost mattifying effect on my face.
I love Kiehl’s Facial Fuel UV Guard Sunscreen for men. SPF of 50.
La Roche Posay makes an amazing duel product – it’s a moisturising serum and sunscreen in one – it’s called Anthelios AOX. It too is an SPF of 50, and is great on most skin types - it hydrates and protects.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch comes in up to 100 SPF. Amazing for oily skins.
Do I need sun-block if my grooming products include SPF protection?
Yes - they’re just not strong enough for today’s rays. If you live in a city where you walk everywhere - like New York or London - that exposure can really damage you. You’re supposed to reapply after 2–3 hours of sun exposure or getting wet.
What sort of after-sun skin-care should I be considering?
Gentle is the order of the day here. Cleansing oils and milky cleansers are best. They’ll clean thoroughly without over-stripping. Pat dry after you rinse, and proceed with your moisturising regime.
If I’ve suffered a bit of sun-burn, what’s the best way to try and cool the heat down and help the skin recover?
Cool showers and compresses are recommended. Use moisturisers that contain aloe vera and soy. Aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce redness and discomfort. Drink lots of water, because you really have to re-hydrate after a burn.
What sort of long-term damage can over-exposure to the sun cause to the skin?
UV rays will reach your inner skin layers. On the surface it could be a tan, or worse a sunburn. Underneath, skin cells are damaged, die and become cancerous. Signs are increased freckles and discoloration, wrinkles, signs of premature ageing, and the risk of several different types of skin cancer.
Is it possible to repair sun-damaged skin?
Yes – there’s so much out there to help you improve what you have. The marriage of science and beauty has been a successful one.
First off, use sunscreen - every day. Exfoliate - scrubs, Alpha Hydroxy Acids, and microdermabrasion leave skin smoother and trigger cell regeneration.
Brown spots and discoloration can be treated with kojic acid, hydroquinone, Retin-A, and Vitamin C. Products containing these ingredients can really brighten and lighten freckles or brown spots if used religiously.
Hydrate your skin. Moisturisers that contain Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin, Lecithin, Sorbitol, and Glycerol do lots to keep the skin supple and plumped up.
Visit a professional like your dermatologist or esthetician to discuss photofacials, laser resurfacing treatments, microneedling, and peels – all must be administered by a professional. These can significantly restore skin, improve texture, and tone.
What are some of the essential hints and tips that I should bear in mind when enjoying the warmth of the sun?
Limit your time in the sun. Cover whatever you can with the proper clothing. If you have only two seconds to use one product, then it should be sunscreen. Hydrate and drink lots of water, and get your electrolytes.
The sun isn’t all bad, 15–20 minutes of morning sunlight exposure can do a host of good too. It helps regulate our body clock, elevate our mood. It helps us produce Serotonin, and make Vitamin D. It’s also said to alleviate certain skin issues, such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and jaundice.