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Beach Bag Essentials

Head into the sun with top product picks and smart summer safety.

By Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

WebMD Magazine - Feature

Preparation in life is key, and your next beach or outdoor pool excursion should play by the same rule. Arielle Kauvar, MD, the founder of New York Laser & Skin Care in New York City, and Lisa Ginn, MD, with Skin@LRG, in Chevy Chase, Md., share their savviest sun, sand, and surf advice.

Q: What are the beauty must-haves for my summer beach bag?

Kauvar's top picks:

Start your summer beauty kit off right with sunscreens for face and body. For the face, try Neutrogena Sport Face SPF 70+. It's noncomedogenic, which means it won't clog pores or worsen acne.

For the body, I recommend Banana Boat Sport Performance Active Dry Protect SPF 50, which is super-moisturizing and doesn't leave a pasty film on the skin. Remember that even water-resistant sunscreen won't last more than two hours when you're sweating and swimming, so reapply often.

Skin cancer often occurs on the lips, so toss an SPF-infused lip balm like Banana Boat Aloe Vera with Vitamin E  into your bag. It has SPF 45, and you can apply it underneath lip gloss or lipstick.

Don't forget to pack a big, floppy hat to protect your scalp from UV rays. But a hat won't guard against indirect sun exposure, so play it safe by wearing a sun-protective topper (look for the "UPF" label) and sunscreen for your hair. I like J.F. Lazartigue Sun Protection Oil. Rub a bit of the oil on your part to protect the scalp there as well.

If you do burn, first apply cold compresses or take a cool bath to relieve the sting. Take an anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, to reduce the pain and swelling, and apply a light aloe lotion like Crabtree & Evelyn Aloe Vera Hydrating Body Lotion ($22) to help soothe skin.

Ginn's top picks:

No beach bag is complete without a UVA/UVB-blocking sunscreen. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55 is great for people who don't like the feel of a greasy sunscreen. Although most sunscreens focus on protecting against UVB (the sun rays that can burn skin), those that contain helioplex (like this one) also protect against UVA (the aging rays that, like UVB, have been linked to melanoma).

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