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Soaking Up the Sunscreen

Skin Care Measures for Summertime

We’re all for summertime nostalgia, but when it comes to skin care, we draw a line in the sand. Don’t settle for those gooey, tropical-scented sunscreens of yesteryear — take better care of your skin. We spoke to the experts at Birmingham’s Total on 1st to find out the best way to enjoy the sun safely, and they had plenty of advice.

First of all, basics are necessary — every day, not just on a vacation, though at that point, it’s critically important. Bring sun-protective clothing such as wide-brim hats and sun shirts — and bring along sunscreen that you are not reluctant to slather on every two hours. “I recommend a zinc oxide-based sunscreen for the face, neck, ears and the ‘V’ of the chest daily and for all other exposed areas,” says Dr. Melanie Appell. “For beach and pool sunscreen, I like EltaMD UVSport.  It stays on great for active use.”

Total on 1st is an advanced clinical spa, which means it is backed by a full-service dermatology center with more than 45 years of expertise in treating skin conditions and using a holistic, individualized approach. For certified physician assistant Margo Maples Plagenhoef, working at Total on 1st was a great fit for her career goals. “My first job out of PA school introduced me to the world of cosmetics and lasers, and, from that point forward, I knew this was my passion,” she says. “I have always felt a strong pull to Total, and when they offered me a position in spring of 2021, it felt like it was finally all coming together.”

Not only a great source for premium skin care products, Total on 1st offers treatments such as Dermaplane, laser hair removal, Coolsculpting and more. Instead of waiting until the last minute before your vacation, however, Margo recommends starting early. “Treatments such as these may require a series to achieve optimal results, so starting early is key,” she notes. 

Pampering yourself can yield great results as well — the hydrafacial is popular in the summer and can be customized for any kind of skin. “It uses vortex technology to simultaneously combine cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration and antioxidant protection,” Margo points out. “Topped off with the signature Total on 1st neck and shoulder massage, our Hydrafacial treatment is the epitome of self-care indulgence.”

For those who want to level up their routine at home, summer is a fine time to do so. The main points are to find a good vitamin C serum, to make sure your makeup doesn’t clog your pores,  to switch to a lighter moisturizer and to definitely find a sunscreen that you love for daily use, not just the beach or pool. 

“Find a sunscreen you love; if you don’t love it, you won’t wear it,” Margo insists. “For instance, a powder sunscreen that brushes on for easy application might be something you didn’t know existed, but something you need! Or perhaps an SPF compact is more your speed. Try ColoreScience SunForgettable Total Protection and SkinBetter Tone Smart compact.”

For Birmingham Lifestyle readers, Dr. Appell and Margo offer their favorite skin care secret. While it’s not at all an excuse to skip sunscreen, the skin supplement HelioCare Ultra is a daily oral supplement derived from, believe it or not, a fern. 

“Heliocare Ultra is an awesome oral supplement that helps protect against the burning rays of the sun,” adds Dr. Appell. ”It is an antioxidant that is extracted from a South American fern.  It is not a replacement for sunscreen but an addition to it.”

As for consulting social media on skin care solutions, the team at Total on 1st advises to proceed with caution, as each person’s skin has different needs. “It is important to consider that these people are being paid to promote a brand,” Margo says. “Be cautious, be discretionary, do your research and entrust professionals to help you along the way. Remember, at the end of the day, skincare is not one size fits all. You are unique, and your skin care routine should be customized to you.”

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