Spring Break Skin with Dr. Akhavan

By Christy Knell
April 02, 2023

Sun’s out, skin’s out. It’s been awhile since our fragile dermis has seen the rays of the biggest star. And member and dermatologist Dr. Alaleh Akhavan of Joyful Dermatology is the person we turn to for advice on how best to manage this complicated relationship, where we want so badly to be with it despite the harm it can bring. She explains how we can protect ourselves in order to enjoy it in all its glory this spring break and beyond. 

Favorite facial sunscreen: La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Sunscreen

A 100% mineral-based sunscreen with great staying power, feels relatively light and smooth on. Comes in tinted and non-tinted (I prefer tinted), and the tint seems to work for a wide range of skin tones. Readily available. Also it is in the pricing “sweet-spot” for sunscreen. Not so pricey that it becomes overly precious to you and you don’t use enough, not so inexpensive that it lacks quality ingredients and proper research behind it.

Favorite body sunscreen (adults and kids): Sheer Zinc Mineral Sunscreen Spray SPF30 alternate: Coppertone Pure & Simple Kid’s Sunscreen Spray SPF 50

The American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees with spray sunscreens, but it is by far the most convenient with wiggly kids. Just avoid spraying their faces, hold the spray 1-2 inches from their skin when applying, and rub in with your hands afterwards.

I also love stick sunscreens for children’s faces. (My pick: Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen Stick with Broad Spectrum SPF 50) Get two sticks, one for them and one for you to apply simultaneously, then blend in with your hands. Kids tend to love it and over-apply which is awesome:) Make sure to blend into their hair line.

What to look for in a good hat

I call it the Joyful two hat rule to help folks remember. Always have two hats with you: one tightly woven hat with a brim (beach hat, panama hat etc). When you hold the brim up to the light, the brim should remain dark..no light should be peaking through the weave of the hat. The second hat should be a baseball cap. Ideally wear the tightly woven, brimmed hat as much as possible. But when you inevitably remove that hat because it gets too windy, or you are hopping into the pool, switch immediately to the baseball cap. There should always be one of the two hats on your head.

(Shown above: Frances Grey Angie hat, hom market’s Rivertown Leisure Club Hat Edition II)

A spritz or a frozen cocktail for hydration? (joking, kinda)

Ha! I like the efficiency of trying to hydrate with your alcohol simultaneously, but glasses of water in between should work just fine too:)

What to look for in sunglasses

Big sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection are the way to go. The bigger the better. Helps protect the delicate eye area. Plus between your brimmed hat and your big sunglasses, people will wonder if you’re a celeb.

(Shown above: Lowercase Marlton in Sunspot, Le Spec The Thirst Black Smoke Mono)

Favorite spring break destination

I love to travel, and want to explore as much of the world as possible. But I just returned from my seventh trip to Costa Rica, to the Guanacaste Province. It is of the places in the world I feel most in my element. Easy going and Joyful.