It’s that time of year again: music festival season.
And while we know skin care probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you’re getting ready to head into the desert for Coachella (or any other festival), you shouldn’t overlook it. Just think about it: You’re likely going to be out in the sun all day, dancing and sweating with no access to a sink or shower, then camping out in a tent.
We’re not saying your skin needs a complicated 10-step routine, but it still deserves some love while you’re out there living your best life.
We spoke to three dermatologists who shared their top tips for keeping skin happy and healthy throughout all your favorite festivals. Unsurprisingly, wearing sunscreen is at the top of the list, but it’s not the only thing you need to know about.
Read on to find out more. Your skin will thank you.
1. Wear — and reapply — your sunscreen throughout the day.
This one is a given. If you’re heading to a music festival ― particularly one that requires you to be outside for essentially an entire weekend ― it’s important you keep your skin protected from the sun’s rays.
“Always look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen,” Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, a New York-based dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, told HuffPost. “Broad-spectrum means that the sunscreen covers both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays. The SPF factor is only an indication of protection against UVB rays, so the sunscreen needs to be labeled broad-spectrum in order to also protect against UVA rays.”
Gmyrek also suggested opting for a sunscreen that’s water-resistant, as dancing and sweating are par for the course at summer festivals. Both she and Dr. Devika Icecreamwala, a dermatologist with her own practice in Berkeley, California, recommended EltaMD’s UV Clear broad spectrum SPF 46.
Dr. Rita Linkner of Spring Street Dermatology in New York said her go-to is Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 36.
“The reason I like to recommend that for people is because it blocks infra-red heat,” Linkner said. “When you go out into the sun and it feels so nice and warm, what you’re feeling is infra-red heat. It really is responsible for causing melasma, skin discoloration, and it ages the skin.”
If you’re going to be wearing sunscreen anyway, Linkner said, “you may as well pick one up that’s going to anti-age you and prevent that discoloration.”
Finally, all three dermatologists stressed the importance of reapplying sunscreen every two hours if you’re staying out in the sun all day. It’s also important to make sure you’re thorough with your application and don’t miss easily overlooked areas like the tops of ears and feet (especially important for sandal-wearers).
2. Pack some face wipes.
While it’s true face wipes shouldn’t replace your everyday cleansing routine, they do come in handy for weekends spent camping out at a music festival with limited (or no) access to a sink or shower.
“I really like micellar-based wipes because you’re in the sun all day, really sweaty, [exposing your face to] pollution … micellar-based wipes are a really easy way to cleanse, moisturize, remove your makeup, remove the dirt off your skin, remove your sunscreen,” Icecreamwala said. “That is my go-to for a music festival ― the one thing you should definitely carry with you.”
Her favorite face wipes are Simple’s Kind to Skin micellar cleansing wipes, which are affordable, easy to use and hypo-allergenic.
Linkner’s go-to wipes are the La Roche Posay’s Effaclar clarifying oil-free cleansing towelettes. “[They’re] what we use on our patients to get makeup off their faces for cosmetic procedures or full body exams so we can see their skin,” she said.
You can also use bottled water with the cleansing cloths for a more thorough cleanse, Gmyrek said, especially if you won’t be able to use a sink or shower. If you wash your face (and body) while it’s still sunny out, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen afterward, she added.
3. Incorporate a hat into your festival-ready wardrobe.
Hats, particularly the wide-brimmed variety, protect the face by providing shade, but they also physically block the sun’s rays from reaching the scalp, one of those oft-neglected areas of the body when it comes to sun protection.
Hats, according to Linkner, are particularly great for men or any individuals with thin or thinning hair.
“[You] don’t realize how much direct sun exposure you get from being out in the sun without a hat on, and the top of the head gets so much sun exposure,” she said, adding, “I treat a lot of pre-cancerous and cancerous spots in men in their 50s, 60s and 70s because they were just golfing without a hat on earlier in life.”
“It goes such a long way to get a nice wide-brimmed hat and to be wearing it consistently when you’re out in the sun,” Linkner said.
4. Don’t forget your lip balm.
Lip balm is a must during the cold winter months but it’s also super-important to keep on hand when the weather gets hot. On top of that, dry weather, like that in the Coachella Valley, can also wreak havoc on lips, so it’s good to keep them protected.
As Gymrek pointed out, the importance of applying SPF lip balm is “often overlooked.”
She recommended using a broad-spectrum lip balm with SPF 30 or higher “as often as you need, but at least every two to four hours.” Her favorite SPF lip balm is Supergoop’s Acai Fusion lip balm, while HuffPost editors are fans of Fresh’s Sugar sport lip balm with SPF 30.
5. Skip the retinol and acid-based skin care products.
A sun-filled weekend spent outside all day, every day, doesn’t really call for an elaborate skin care routine with acids and retinols, Linkner said.
“It’s not a good time to be using medicated pads that have glycolic or salicylic acid in them, or even vitamin A, because those sun-sensitize you,” she said, adding that it’s a good idea to stick with products that are gentle and non-medicated. You can get back to your beauty routine once you’re in the comfort of your own home.
6. Don’t forget about your hair.
Wearing a hat is the easiest way to protect your hair and scalp, but it’s still a good idea to take some extra precautions, Gmyrek said.
“The sun will degrade hair proteins and pigment [which] results in weaker, duller, drier hair,” she said. “Protect [your hair] with a product like Ultrasun daily UV hair protector.”
Once you’re equipped with your skin care essentials, you can dance the day and night away.