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Keep Your Skin Cool and Calm After a Long Day in the Sun

Esther surfing somewhere in SE Asia, soaking in those rays
Esther surfing somewhere in SE Asia, soaking in those rays

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I've never burned as much as I did while surfing Southeast (and Southwest) Asia for three months. Living on boats and waterfront villages and spending hours in the water, the sunblock just couldn't keep up. (Okay, so maybe a few times I was so much in a rush to catch some waves that I forgot sunscreen completely— oops!) Aloe saved me from returning home with crumpled paper bag skin. Although that level of burn is near impossible near the SF coastline, hikes in the East Bay will definitely get you there. After-sun aloe treatments are essential to moisturizing and nourishing skin to prevent the dreaded peeling—they also work wonders for the longevity of a nice tan.Esther Hahn

1. I always pack a few bottles of Burt's Bees Aloe & Linden Flower After Sun Soother because I basically bathe in this stuff after logging long hours in the sun. This is the workhorse of aloe lotions with its easy price point and drugstore availability. It absorbs well and leaves skin feeling soothed and refreshed. Just remember when traveling to carry on a travel size portion and to pack bottles into checked luggage. I suffered a major meltdown at the Mazatlán airport when stripped of this liquid gold at the last checkpoint, making for one uncomfortable airplane ride.

2. The Yes to Cucumbers Natural After-Sun Serum is new this Summer to my aloe collection. With green tea extracts and organic cucumbers in addition to the aloe, I feel comfortable applying this serum to my face and neck. And the shimmer from the Mica, a natural mineral powder, helps hide redness. The scent, on the other hand, is less soothing than would be expected so give it a test run in the drugstore aisle before committing.

3. On the more luxurious end of the aloe spectrum is Kiehl's Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion with Aloe Vera & Oatmeal, which is less for damage control than it is for touchable, silky smooth skin. Ever notice that your tan looks great while still on your tropical vacation but immediately peels (burn or no burn) by the time you land back home in the Bay? The California dryness (and the airplane's, too) sucks out all the skin's moisture and that tan crumbles. The best remedy is to apply this lotion throughout your flight—and the days following —to be able to show off that bronze for weeks after, inciting much envy from fellow fog-dwellers. Tip: although Kiehl's appears to have discontinued the scent, be on the lookout for this lotion in coconut—the best scent to accompany a golden tan.
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