not a professional. just crazy.

Help Me, Rio: I Got a Face Mask Suntan

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I’m no stranger to beauty mishaps — I once ripped half of my eyelashes out with a drugstore lash curler. After such an incident, it’s easy to take to the internet to look for advice. The trouble is, there is simply too much out there. Which is why, when I have a beauty dilemma, I prefer to go to trusted friends — people who’ve been there before, know their stuff, and can give me helpful, tailored advice. I’d like to be that friend for you, so I created the email Send me your strange, specific beauty problems, and I’ll respond with tips, tricks, and remedies to get you through your predicament.

My friend is experiencing a distinctly 2020 issue. After walking her dog around the neighborhood, she came home, removed her face mask, and realized that she’d gotten a suntan on only the upper half of her face. We FaceTimed the other day, and I had to stop myself from laughing. What can she do to even out her face tan and, what can I do to prevent this from happening to me?

Though this hasn’t happened to me yet with a face mask (I’m sure it’s only a matter of time), a few years ago I fell asleep at the beach with my hand on my face — and the results were not pretty. The truth is, these situations are easier to avoid than they are to treat — evening out tans is possible, but it won’t happen overnight. So I’m going to recommend a few products that can help you avoid this issue altogether, and for your friend, two things that will help slowly but surely even out a super uneven tan.

To prevent an uneven tan

Not to shame your friend but … was she wearing sunscreen? Since quarantine, I’ve noticed that many of my friends and family members have been opting out — “What’s the point?” they’ve asked — or, “why wear it if I’m basically inside all day?” But, as your friend now knows, a short walk around the block is more than enough time to cause damage. (Even if you literally don’t leave the house all day you should apply sunscreen: UV rays penetrate through your window.) What’s great about this particular sunscreen from Purito is that it’s very hydrating, and entirely non-irritating, so you could easily wear it in lieu of a moisturizer in the morning. Apply about a tablespoon to your hands, neck, face, or anywhere your clothing doesn’t cover your skin.

I’d say to wear a baseball cap, but the truth is, baseball caps can only protect your skin so much. If you’re really adamant about ensuring your skin is out of the sun as much as humanly possible, these sun visors are the way to go. I can promise you: this, worn in combination with the Purito, means there will be no strange mask tan.

To treat an uneven tan

First things first: if you have a fresh sunburn, do not use any of the below products. For treating a new burn, I always recommend applying Biafine Topical Emulsion and using Benton’s Aloe Soothing Masks. But once it’s settled into a regular old tan, you’re going to want to go in with an exfoliator, which will buff away any dead skin cells, so that your brightening treatment (vitamin C, your next step) can penetrate the skin properly. This exfoliator also uses Lactic Acid to increase cell turnover (this basically meaning it prompts your skin to push fresh, un-sun damaged cells to the surface). Many exfoliators are stripping on the skin; these are not — they’re actually filled with soothing aloe vera. Tans aside: these gentle-yet-effective exfoliating pads are wonderful for weekly use to ensure your skin stays smooth, bright, and clear; they’re perfect for anyone who deals with dullness or occasional pimples.

When it comes to evening out a tan on your face, vitamin C is going to be your hero ingredient. Vitamin C works to even out any damaged skin pigment caused by everything from picked acne scabs to sun damage. After consistent daily use, you’ll notice that your weird tan is slowly starting to fade away, and your complexion is generally more even and bright. I love this Vitamin C serum from Mad Hippie in particular — it’s rich in other antioxidants like vitamin E and ferulic acid (which strengthens your skin against all sorts of environmental stressors), and soothing, nourishing, and moisture-boosting ingredients like chamomile and hyaluronic acid.

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Help Me, Rio: I Got a Mask Suntan