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Beauty & Lifestyle expert, Kelley West, gives us her best summer skin care secrets. See what this licensed medical esthetician and TV personality has in her beach bag!

Sunscreen is the most important skincare essential! Remember … the SPF is somewhat irrelevant because no sunscreen is effective for more than three to four hours. Therefore, it is mandatory you reapply. Also try to wait 15-20 minutes after applying before going into the sun as it takes most sunscreens that long to penetrate.

For the face, my favorite sunscreen is Epione’s Tinted Sun Block with SPF 40. It’s a splurge because it’s $40 for a 1.7oz bottle, so only use it on the face unless you can afford to buy several bottles at once and do the whole body. It has a silicone base so it won’t absorb into the skin, making it ideal for patients with skin allergies or sensitive skin.

For a more affordable option, I like Aveeno’s Smart Essentials. It doesn’t irritate my face, has an SPF of 30 and a pleasant scent. It goes on light and doesn’t leave the typical SPF white residue or film. It’s a steal at around $12. I’m a huge Aveeno fan and the other sunscreen I like for the body is the Aveeno’s Continuous Protection Sun Block Lotion for around $9 a bottle. I love the way it goes on, it’s waterproof, which it great, but don’t let the name fool you, you still have to reapply every three to four hours or more often if you are going in the water.

When applying sun block, make sure you apply it all the way to the hairline when doing your face. This will help protect you when driving because the sides of our faces get direct sun exposure the whole time we’re behind the wheel.

Make sure to apply sunscreen to the tops of your hands. Our hands give away our age as we get older, so you must protect them early on. Also apply to the tops of your feet. People don’t think about this area, but again, it is exposed to direct sun when we are wearing sandals or walking barefoot. Skin Cancer doesn’t discriminate, so lesions can appear anywhere on the body.

Put your sunscreen on BEFORE you apply make-up. It amazes me how many women put sunscreen on top of their make-up. Many foundations have silicone or other types of bases that form a barrier on the skin, making your sunscreen ineffective.

Protect your lips and your scalp! These areas are vulnerable to sunburns and skin cancers just like the rest of your body so you must protect them. I love Neutrogena’s Revitalizing Lip Balm with SPF 30. It comes in a clear formula or colored. My favorite is the Soft Caramel because I like a more nude lip, especially in the summer. I part my hair in the middle so if I have the squeeze version of my lip balm in clear, I run a line of it right down my part to give it extra protection. This may sound weird, but it works! I haven’t had a sunburned scalp in years! I also adore Aquaphor’s Lip Balm but it does not have SPF so it’s really for the bad girls who didn’t use sunscreen and now have sunburned, chapped and burning lips! Aquaphor products are a staple of mine at home and in my office because for hydration, you can’t beat them!

To protect your hair and scalp, you must use a sunscreen hairspray. My preference is a Walgreen’s product called 3-in-1 Sunscreen Hairspray. It’s light, never sticky and is an absolute bargain at $2.99!

Lastly on the sunscreen front is a clothing line I am obsessed with! It’s called SunSoul and it’s protective skincare you wear! SunSoul makes a floppy hat, baseball cap and sun visor out of a patented fluorescent material. This material filters the damaging, skin-cancer causing UV rays and converts them into anti aging yellow light, while providing an SPF of 50! With SunSoul you get sun protection and an anti-aging treatment without stepping into my office! This is cutting edge technology and it’s cute and stylish! I wear my floppy hat all the time!

Other ways to get your skin summer ready are:
Exfoliating! Make sure you give your skin a good exfoliation before applying sunscreen, sunless tanners or make-up for that matter. In the summer we want a more natural look and a build up of dead skin cells does not a natural look make! If you can’t afford a monthly microdermabrasion treatment, here are some home treatments that I really love and use myself:

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser for the face is tops! I buy an extra bottle and keep one in my shower to use on my body as well. This cleanser has a low percentage of glycolic acid so it’s safe to use on even sensitive skin like mine and it helps to exfoliate the stratum corneum while giving you a really good cleansing. As far as skincare products go, this line is really affordable! It is $12 for a 6 oz bottle. I am also crazy addicted to Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray! It’s loaded with herbs, rosewater—which is so great for hydration—and aloe. I keep it in my purse and spritz right over my makeup for an instant pick me up. It’s fantastic on the beach and it is a steal at $7!

This next one is a bit of a splurge but worth every penny. I use this product every day for exfoliation and a more intense glycolic treatment. It’s the Cane + Austin Glycolic Treatment Pads. The price is $60 for 60 pads but they have 10 percent glycolic acid, which is pretty high for a home-use product. I only use them three times a week so they last me quite a while. Patients with oily or acne-prone skin may want to use them more often. I love to use these on my chest, arms and hands too, since I have a lot of sun damage and they really help to fade brown spots.

Lastly, my absolute favorite body exfoliator is my own! Scrub It Clean Body Polish by PlasticGirl! I took what I liked from my favorite body polishers and got rid of the things I didn’t like to create Scrub it Clean. It’s a medical-grade exfoliator, but it doesn’t smell medicinal. It has amino acids, acai extract, calendula flower extract and a bunch of other natural extract oils so it gets rid of dead skin cells without stripping or drying out the skin. It also has a heating mechanism that kicks in as soon as you start to rub it in, and this stimulates blood circulation that will help with the color and tone of your skin too!

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Disclaimer: We were not compensated to mention any of the products above or for featuring Kelley West on our site. We just love her advice!