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Girlfriends Offer Summer Skin Advice

Are you and your girlfriends hitting the beach, hanging out poolside, or taking some sunny side trips this summer? Our spa correspondent and expert esthetician Melissa Mellott is back to your beauty rescue! For this article, she collaborated with her esthetician students to come up with some summer skin tips. If you’re not too fond of those “cute” freckles and sunspots, read on.

by Melissa Mellott

I find it a little funny when my clients confess their sunshine sins to me, stating with a guilty voice, “I didn’t wear sunscreen this weekend at the beach.” Of course I sarcastically gasp, but then share ways to combat the signs of sun damage.

The fact is that wearing sunscreen is the best anti-aging tool, but let’s face it: Sunshine makes us happy and feeling the warmth on our face is blissful.  Remember too, spa health is about doing things that are pleasurable and summertime is all about fun and sun!

My esthetician students and myself agree: Enjoy the sunshine! Just be informed and know what you can do to nurture your skin if you do get a little too much sun. So, if you are noticing new freckles from your summer adventures, here are some tips from esthetician students in Santa Barbara—a sunny place where we can’t ever deny the kiss of sun!

Jenny & Joanie remind us:

90% of wrinkles are caused by the sun!  But we also love the sun and sunshine (vitamin D) has its benefits too!  The name of the game is “Sunshine in Moderation” and if we wear our sunscreen, we can splurge.  Here’s the scoop on a good, effective SPF (Sun Protection Factor):

*Make sure the SPF is Broad spectrum, which protects from UVA (aging rays) & UVB (burning rays)

*Any sunscreen higher than a 30 SPF offers only about 1% more protection and sunscreens that have 45 or higher SPF are more about marketing than sun protection.

*Re-apply sunscreen every 1-2 hours

*Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on ears, neck, décolleté (chest) and orbital bone (NOT directly under eyes as it will migrate into eyes and could cause irritation.)

Kendall & Steph inform us:

Enjoyed a long drive in a convertible? Indulged in a long walk on the beach? Good for you!  To nurture your skin after a day in the sun, use antioxidants to halt the sun damage.  Sun damage causes free radicals, which lead to a breakdown of collagen and causes wrinkles.  However, antioxidants combat those free radicals and stabilize them to stop further damage.  Use topical antioxidants such as moisturizers containing Vitamin C or grapeseed extract.  Getting your antioxidants internally through the foods you eat will also assist in fighting free radicals.  So eat lots of blueberries, blackberries, and citrus fruits. Your skin (and body) will love you for it!

Michelle & Rochelle recommend:

There’s nothing that feels better than the authentic warmth of sunshine.  However, if you want to have the summer glow without the burning rays and possible peeling, a self tanner or spray tan available at spas is a great alternative and these products have really improved so you look sun-kissed and not orange!  Just remember, your spray tan will last longer if you exfoliate and moisturize well just before the service—just a loofah or washcloth will do!

Jackie & Leigha & Bri advise:

After your summer vacation, you may notice the cute freckles are not-so-cute sunspots.  One of the best treatments to lighten sunspots is exfoliation.  Make an appointment with your esthetician for a chemical peel or microdermabrasion to help lighten sunspots (also great for softening fine lines and improving tone and texture of skin.)

Kelsey & Lindsey suggest:

For overall skin health and a beautiful glow, getting a facial once a month and a good home care regimen is the most beneficial, especially when you want to combat signs of sun damage (wrinkles, sunspots and melasma, which is unevenness of the skin). Always wearing an SPF is a must, but also cleansers, serums and moisturizers with skin lighteners, antioxidants and melanin inhibitors (which keep sunspots from surfacing) will help lighten sunspots and even your skin tone.

Melissa Mellott is a spa health writer and reviewer as well as a licensed esthetician. As adjunct faculty at Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara City College, she teaches and trains aspiring estheticians.  She is is founder of Spa Defined,,  a website featuring reviews of spas in places like Santa Barbara, California; the Napa Valley, and Italy.


  1. As an organic gardener, I get more sun than I probably should, but the fresh air and sunshine are so nice :)

    So, then I just make good use of the herbs, veggies, fruits… that I grow to combat the effects of it all.

    Yes, eating well and using my wonderful herbs and oils… in my balms makes a huge difference in my skin.

    Staying away from mainstream store-bought products that are full of fake scents, fake colors and preservatives… really helps too.

    Organically Yours,

    Comment by Diana — August 6, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  2. I agree Diana — all of those products with parabens, chemicals, perfumes … NO good for our skin and body. My fave sunscreens are DNA Sol 28 (no parabens) and John Masters Sunscreen 30. Both are great, organic lines!

    Comment by melissa — August 6, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

  3. Great article! I keep getting so burned on vacation. Thanks for all the advice!

    Comment by Becca — August 7, 2009 @ 10:05 am

  4. [...] They made our site so much richer and we truly appreciate their time and talents: Christine Arylo, Melissa Mellott, Casey Wohl, Julie Bestry, Kami Gray, Carly Huegelmann, Brooke Jones, Irene Levine, Izzy Rose. [...]

    Pingback by Our 10 Favorite Posts of 2009 | Girlfriend Celebrations — December 30, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

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