With all the talk of staying sun safe, you’d think that dermatologists hide out indoors all summer decked out in big hats and zinc oxide all over their faces rather than taking part in the typical #99DaysofSummer outdoor activities. No need to feel bad for them, though—because that’s not the case at all.
Skin experts, too, enjoy a leisurely day on the beach, just like the rest of us. Of course, they’re not the types to lay out simply to tan, nor are you going to find them spending six consecutive hours in the sun—but dermatologists certainly have their own uber-safe way of getting their summer fun on.
Whether you take their advice for wearing UPF clothing or buy yourself a beach umbrella, be sure to glean at least some of the dermatologist-approved advice for enjoying the season, minus the sun damage.
Keep scrolling for how 6 NYC dermatologists spend their beach days.
Joshua Zeichner, MD
“When you’re prepared, you can be out all day and be sun safe. I make sure to create my own shade with two beach umbrellas next to each other. The kids can play in the sand in the shade we create. Before we get to the beach, we put on our first round of sunscreen—I find it’s much easier to put it on before you get there so you’re not distracted. I actually set my alarm to go off every two hours to remind us to reapply during the day. Otherwise, as the saying goes: Time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s very easy to forget. I always bring a variety of sunscreens so that we’re prepared, but personally I choose one that has the words ‘broad spectrum’ on the bottle along with the highest SPF possible. Everyone [in my family] has a rash guard because it’s an easy way to physically protect your skin from the sun, too.”
Doris Day, MD
“I love spending time outdoors and I love the sun and the light, but I’m very careful to be sun smart. To stay safe, I start with an antioxidant serum, then I put SPF on face and body before I get dressed. I use SPF 50 and apply two layers to make sure I have good coverage. I use a special one for the face and a body one for the body. I also wear clothing with UPF 50 or more—my favorite is Uvida—and I wear a big hat and sunglasses. I’ll be sure to always carry a powder SPF for reapplication and take Heliocare Pro at breakfast and lunch for added protection. I try to avoid midday sun when possible and stay in the shade when I can.”
Kim Nichols, MD
“Most people assume that dermatologists simply don’t go to the beach, but in most cases, that’s not true—especially when you have you kids like myself who want to play in the sand all day on vacation. So if possible, I avoid going to the beach during the peak 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. sun hours, and a half hour before I head out, I’ll slather on a physical sunscreen of SPF 50 and reapply it ever hour to hour and half that I’m there. I also wear tons of SPF lip balm because my lips are very sensitive to the sun. When I get to the beach, I’m always sure to get a beach umbrella—preferably the ones that have a bit of side coverage also. You’ll find me in a large brimmed, floppy sun hat and huge sunglasses. Hot tip: Although lotion sunscreen gives better coverage than spray, when you’re in a pinch, don’t hesitate to use a physical sunscreen spray—especially on kids who are running away from you when you’re trying to put it on.”
Robert Anolik, MD
“Contrary to what many of my patients may believe, I love days at the beach and go several times in the summer. My day starts with sunscreen. I typically use Anthelios and Neutrogena brand lotions to my face, ears, and neck. Don’t forget the ears if you have short hair—we diagnose skin cancers on the ears often. I typically reach for the spray sunscreens for my body. I take measures not to breathe any of it in, so I usually head to the backyard and spray myself while holding my breath. I find it helpful for covering larger areas at once and very helpful if you don’t have shaved legs—lotion gets messy over hair.
I’ve always got an umbrella and wear a T-shirt, hat, and sunglasses except when swimming. When I get out of the water, I reapply sunscreen or if I’m out of the water, I reapply every two to three hours.”
Amanda Doyle, MD
“I can read for hours at the beach, and I do so under an umbrella while also wearing a wide brim hat. I use a topical antioxidant under my water-resistant sunscreen—at least an SPF 40 is what I always recommend. I’m diligent about reapplying my sunscreen every two hours also. I can’t live without Perrier sparkling water in the summer and I constantly snack on fruits for an extra energy boost. NeoCell’s Derma Matrix powder form is great when added in my water for extra hydration.”
Dendy Engelman, MD
“I grew up in the South (Charleston, SC) and we went to the beach all of the time. Being a dermatologist doesn’t mean you have to never enjoy the pool, beach, or sunny vacations —but it does require some behavior modifications from my prior ‘sun-worshipping’ lifestyle (gasp!). Now, I have a wide-brimmed hat, large sunglasses, an umbrella, and copious sunscreens. Prior to heading to the beach, I apply the antioxidant containing SkinBetter’s Protect and Elizabeth Arden’s City Smart under my makeup. For re-application on my chest throughout the day, I use Colorescience Sunforgettable Powder Block. For my body, I use Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense and I layer Hydropeptide Solar Defense Body spray on top.
I use the spray to reapply as well. On my lips, I use the Hydropeptide Lip Shield. When not chasing around my two year old, I stay under the umbrella. As far as what I wear: I have a bathing suit and cover-up addiction, so I am always looking for chances to support my habit. I put my children in UPF shirts, hats, and suits so I don’t have to chase them down as much to get them slathered in sunscreen.”
Speaking of skin experts and sun safety, *this* is how much sunscreen you should apply according to dermatologists. And this is the difference between sunscreen and sunblock.
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