Lashes in the Lush


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Not just any After-Sun Gel, Balm, Cream,
Spray or Lotion will do!

For a region with such an abundance in suncare products, remarkably little variety in after-sun products seems to be available. This could be explained by the fact that most products available are sun protection products, implying that the locals’ approach of hefty sun block coating works against the horror of anything that remotely resembles a tan. Add the near-religious sun-avoidance with UV-blocking umbrella’s and visors to that and a society lacking any need for after-sun products is born. But then there’s the expats, like me, that after almost 2 years of living in Singapore still tend to forget that the sun burns hard around the equator. And that one must always use a sun block, even when it’s just for a 5 minute walk to the supermarket somewhere mid-day. Find out how to cool down sunburns quickly, how a product that is labelled ‘after-sun’ is sometimes misleading and what products to use instead for effective sunburn relieve.

Whereas I would rarely get any sunburn back home in Europe, in Singapore especially my shoulders and décolleté are prone to burn fast.  Like I said, a quick walk to the supermarket is enough to redden the skin from sunburn. What to do, apart from trying to remember “when in Rome…”, a.k.a. to do as the locals do and put on a SPF 50, 60 or 120? Although there is no way to cure a sunburn - once the damage is done, it's done – there are several ways and products to relieve painful, reddened and inflamed skin.

SPF 75, 100 and 120 aren't rare in Asia...

1. Cool Down

Take a cool bath or shower to soothe the burn, but not for too long as water also dries out the skin. Avoid heavily perfumed soaps as these might irritate the skin even more and use a very mild body wash instead, like a baby soap.  You can also choose to use a cold compress instead of or in addition to a cool shower. Apart from the obvious ice (never apply ice direct to your skin; always wrap it in a cloth!) and ice packs, it’s very easy to make one yourself:

Chilled Milk Compress - Soak a washcloth in a bowl of chilled milk (add some ice cubes for extra chilled milk), then apply to your skin and let it sit on your sunburn for about five minutes. Don’t rub it on, just leave it on the skin! Milk soothes inflammation, and the cool temperature makes blood vessels contract, so your skin will be less red and puffy. The milk should come from a cow and not from a soybean or almond. Cold Yoghurt also does the trick.

Calming Chamomile Compress – Because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, chamomile tea has long been used as a remedy for skin issues such as rosacea. It also works for sunburns; prepare the tea as you usually would, chill it thoroughly and soak a washcloth in it. Apply to your skin and leave it sit until the compress is no longer cool.

2. Sooth & Moisturize, but not with just any after-sun!

Use a cream, balm, lotion, gel or mist to moisturize and further soothe your sore skin. When you store your product in the fridge, the cooling relief is even more divine – seriously, try it. A question that often arises is the difference between a regular moisturizer or body lotion and an ‘after-sun’ product that is specifically labelled as such.  Special after-sun products usually contain more ‘actively’ soothing ingredients, like Menthol, Camphor and Aloe Vera than a regular moisturizer. However, this is not always the case.

Don't trust a product just because it says "after sun"!

The blog ‘Honesty for Your Skin’ took a thorough look at the ingredient lists of several popular after-sun products, and although it is true that many of them contain ingredients such as Aloe Vera, products like Nivea’s Aftersun Moisture Soothing Lotion also mention alcohol and mineral oil high up in their ingredient list. Ingredients must always be listed in descending order, meaning the product contains most of the first ingredient listed and least of the last ingredients listed and you absolutely do not want to find large amounts of alcohol and mineral oil in your after sun, as these respectively dry out the skin and trap the heat which can make the burn worse.

I’ve listed my favorite after-sun mist, balm and gel below – these passed my own high standards, contain soothing ingredients and a minimum amount of alcohol, mineral oil and/or perfume. For the best result, gently apply the product while skin is still damp and repeat the next few days to keep burned or peeling skin moist; keep your skin as moisturized as possible to aid in its recovery!

MIST: Herbivore Botanicals - After Sun Soothing Aloe Mist 

I love this for product for many reasons. First of all, Herbivore puts a large emphasis on plant-based and organic. Each ingredient has a therapeutic purpose and all oils are cold-pressed or steam-distilled. Aloe vera helps sunburnt skin heal faster, while peppermint essential oil immediately cools hot skin due to its high-concentration of menthol. Lavender essential oil is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce redness and induces calm with its herbal and floral aroma. I really like that the product comes in a spray; when your skin is really burned, it mostly really hurts to touch it - no need with that spray that gently envelops your skin in a soft and immediately refreshing mist.

The product has a herbal-floral aroma of which Peppermint and Lavender are the strongest scents. The design of this product is really cool (love the tropical leaves on the product label!) and the glass bottle makes it look and feel quite artisinal.

Just when you think you can't love this product more than you already do, listen to this:
Paraben-free, sulfate-free and phthalate-free; Not tested on animals; and Vegan. Someone give this product a medal!!!

Herbivore Botanicals After Sun Soothing Aloe Mist, 60ml & 240ml 
Price: 19 SGD (60ml) / 32 SGD (240ml)
Available through Sephora's Online Shop (find link here)

BALM: Clinique - After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe

Good old Clinique. This after-sun balm contains Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Wheat & Barley Extract as main soothing ingredients; Aloe Vera helps sunburnt skin heal faster, Chamomile is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities and Wheat & Barley, high in vitamin E, is thought to improve blood circulation to the skin, which can relieve dry or itchy skin.

This white balmy cream is a solid allround after-sun product that helps minimize peeling and is suitable for both face and body. I'm not a big fan of the scent, which is the typical Clinique "non-scent"; i.e. it's not perfumed but smells a bit stale in my opinion. After application, let the skin absorb the product few minutes, otherwise it feels sticky to your clothes. Once it's dry, there's absolutely no tackiness but a very silky-satin finish.

Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe, 150ml
Price: 38 SGD
Available at a.o. Sephora, Takashimaya, Isetan & Tang's.

GEL: Sukin - Aloe Vera Gel

Sukin is Australia’s bestselling natural skincare brand ("Skincare that doesn’t cost the earth”) with a portfolio of lines extending over more than 60 products across face, body and hair. This is a pure Aloe Vera gel with not much else in it; pure and effective simplicity, ideal to hydrate, cool and soothe dry skin. It's not especially developed (or marketed) as an after-sun product but is perfect for after sun care. This multi-purpose gel is suitable for all skin types, even for children, and also provides effective treatment for dry and irritated skin after shaving or waxing - a friend of mine even uses it to soothe insect bites. 

The gel is transparant and I really like that it doesn't leave a sticky feeling but is absorbed really well and really fast by the skin. Upon application there's a fresh Aloe Vera scent that however quickly fades away in less than 2 minutes. The only thing I don't like is that the bottle is so small and I always run out of pretty fast without remembering to buy a new one...but that's my fault, obviously.

Sukin Aloe Vera Gel, 125ml
Price: 14,90 SGD
Available at a.o. Guardian


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