Skin Care Tips From A Real California Girl
Ever wonder how Californians care for their skin? From perfecting the faux glow to protecting the skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays to staying moisturized in desert-like climates, one beauty editor— and California native— has all the secrets. We share nine skin care tips from a real California girl, ahead.
As a Californian and Los Angeles native, I was born and raised with the notion that caring for your skin is just as important as brushing your teeth before bed and eating your fruits and vegetables. This, in part, probably has to do with the fact that I grew up in a city ran by celebrities that are permanently in search of the fountain of youth. But, also, because—fortunately—my mother understood the importance of protecting the skin from environmental aggressors— such as the sun’s harmful UV rays, the warm, dry climate, and air pollution (AKA, the notorious LA smog). That being said, there’s more to a California girl’s skin care routine than sunscreen and skin protecting antioxidants (though they are the real MVPs). Keep reading for skin care tips from a real California girl.
It’s no secret that Californians practically worship our year-round sunshine— but, that doesn’t mean we don’t take sun protection seriously. Whether we’re hiking to the Hollywood sign, surfing in Big Sur, rock climbing in Yosemite, frolicking around at a music festival in Palm Springs, or enjoying a day at the beach in sunny San Diego, we are never too far from a bottle of broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Even on the few rainy days of the year, when the sun is seemingly nowhere to be found, our SPF is still close by (and definitely used). That being said, as a girl from Southern California, there are a couple major faux pas that I—regretfully—took part in (and to the detriment of my skin): my indoor tanning membership and ensuring that my face and hands were protected with SPF whilst sitting in infamous LA traffic.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “The World Health Organization has declared indoor tanning devices to be cancer-causing agents that are in the same category as tobacco” (I’ll give you… and myself... a minute to let that sink in). I know what you must be thinking: “You grew up in Southern California, why did you go to an indoor tanning salon in the first place?” And to be honest, I don’t know. But, I did. And now—no thanks to my bad tanning habits—my chances of developing melanoma are higher than someone who has never used a tanning bed. So, my number one piece of sun protection advice—aside from regular SPF application—is to step away from the tanning beds…for good!
In addition to swearing off tanning beds, I would also like to note how important it can be to apply SPF to your face, neck, décolleté, and hands while driving. You may think this sounds silly, because you are “inside” a car, but the sun’s harmful UV rays can still reach you through the windows, which could result in premature signs of skin aging like sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and more.
Editor’s tip: In addition to sunscreen, you may also want to stock up on after-sun products (i.e. aloe vera) that can offer sun-kissed skin a sense of soothing relief.
SELF-TANNER IS YOUR SKIN’S BFF
Speaking of the sun—more specifically, sunless tanning—if you are looking to get your California bronze on, consider switching to self-tanning products that can give the illusion of tanned skin… without the negative side effects of the sun’s harmful UV rays. When it comes to self-tanners, there are a wide-range of products to choose from. From self-tanning lotions, to towelettes, to serums, and even mouse, there’s no shortage of sunless-tanning products out there that can help you achieve your ideal level of bronze. We share a few of our favorites, here.
Southern California may be warm, but it can also be very (very!) dry… especially if you reside closer to the desert, like my family does. To combat the negative effects that dry weather can have on your skin, consider hydrating your face and body with nourishing lotions, butters, creams, and oils. Want to kick things up a notch? Apply these lotions and creams after getting out of the shower—or after taking a bath—when your skin is still wet.
KISS HARD WATER GOODBYE
As a California native—who grew up in a house that had hard water—one thing I can attest to is just how drying hard water can really be on your skin (and hair). Between a pH level of about 8.5, a buildup of metal, and chlorine levels, hard water can potentially wreak havoc on your skin. Fortunately, there is a solution. According to The United States Department of Agriculture, vitamin C can help neutralize hard water, making it less harsh on your skin.
True story: The last time I visited my family in northern LA, I went out and purchased a humidifier for my parents’ guest room—because, as it turns out, I am no longer immune to my hometown’s dry, desert-like climate. Whether you’re experiencing dryness from artificial heating in winter, are planning to visit a city that has a notoriously dry climate (like Los Angeles), or are you’re cranking the air conditioning during a hot, humid East Coast summer, consider investing in a humidifier to help create a more comfortable, skin-friendly environment.
Speaking of hydration—or, lack thereof—drinking the recommended amount of water can be beneficial to not just your body, but your skin, too! If plain water is too boring for you, take inspiration from fresh California produce and store a pitcher of spa water in your fridge. To do so, simply cut up some of your favorite fruits— like cucumbers, lemons, oranges, and lime—and place them in a large pitcher. Fill the pitcher with ice and water and pour yourself a refreshing glass. Cheers!
EXFOLIATION IS KEY
As a self-proclaimed beach bum, one of my favorite things about California is its beautiful coast. Not only can the ocean help ease your worries, clear your mind, and relax your body—it can have benefits for your skin too. According to Skincare.com expert and board certified dermatologist, Dr. Bhanusali, “vitamin sea” (get it?)— read: saltwater— can serve as a great exfoliator…and if you’ve ever swam in the ocean and felt your skin after, you can probably agree!
Don’t live near a beach? No problem! Try massaging a body scrub onto your skin 1-2 times a week. We recommend giving The Body Shop’s Spa of the World Dead Sea Salt Scrub a try. Formulated with the brand’s Community Trade aloe vera, olive oil, and salts from the Dead Sea, this spa-inspired body scrub helps slough away dead skin cell buildup from skin’s surface to reveal soft, smooth, beach-worthy skin.
After you exfoliate, follow up with an ocean-inspired body lotion—like one we share in our round-up of ocean-inspired skin care products—and you’ll be feeling like a real California girl in no time.
Ever wonder where the summer sun goes when the rest of the country is blanketed in frigid, winter weather? Chances are it’s on vacation in Los Angeles (and other parts of Southern California). LA is notorious for its hot weather—even in February—and, while this sounds great in theory, the dry heat can be quite uncomfortable for the skin. To beat the heat, we like to store our facial mists, creams, lotions, and even some of our favorite overnight face masks in the fridge. The cooling effect of chilled skin care products is super refreshing on days that are too hot to handle.
Editor’s tip: I definitely try my best to avoid a sunburn, but sometimes my skin can still feel uncomfortable after spending a day under the LA sun. For a refreshing and soothing option, I like to keep a bottle of aloe vera gel in the fridge and apply it to my sun-kissed skin as needed.
If you’ve ever driven down a Los Angeles freeway and noticed a big, brown, fog-like cloud hovering over the city, you know that the Los Angeles smog is no joke (seriously, on a clear day I can see it from my parents’ house in Northern Los Angeles… nearly 40 miles away). No thanks to free radicals, smog—AKA air pollution—can accelerate signs of skin aging, such as a loss of radiance, fine lines, wrinkles, and more. Luckily, there are ways to help protect the skin from its repercussions. Antioxidants can help skin neutralize free radicals from air pollution, cigarette smoke and more. To protect your skin from pollution, consider incorporating an antioxidant formulated skin care product into your daily regimen and always (always!) layer your broad-spectrum sunscreen on top!