How to Hit the Waves without Hurting Your Skin and Surfer Hair
Nothing compares to the freedom that comes with riding the waves. As stimulating as it is for your mind, however, surfing can be rough on your body. Between the sun and the salt, a long day spent in the ocean can be stressful on your hair and skin. You wouldn’t dream of missing the next big wave, but you shouldn’t have to miss out on healthy hair and skin while surfing to your heart’s content.
As a surfer, you need a skin and hair routine that works as hard as you do. Try these simple tips to keep your skin and hair protected during your next surf.
5 Simple Tips for Skin and Hair Protection
As you paddle toward an approaching swell, all you’re going to be thinking about is getting the timing just right and riding that wave for as long as you can. You don’t have time to worry about sunburn or your hair drying out when you’re surfing, which is why it’s all the more vital that you take steps to protect your skin and hair before you hit the waves for the first time.
Here are five simple tips to help you protect your skin and hair as a surfer:
1. Wear water-resistant sunscreen 35 SPF or higher
There’s no knowing how long you’ll be out on any given day – it all depends on the waves. Whether you’re out for 30 minutes or three hours, however, it’s equally important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Wear water-resistant sunscreen 35 SPF or higher and apply it 30 minutes before you get into the water. Pay particular attention to exposed areas of skin like your face and neck.
2. Make sure your gear is fitted correctly
Whether you’re hitting the waves in a full bodysuit or your favorite bikini, it’s essential to make sure your gear is fitted correctly. Water will find its way in, and a long day at the beach can lead to chafing. Check the size and fit before you get into the water and consider wearing a rash guard or putting on a layer of healing ointment to protect against chafing. At the ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel, they offer a wide variety of rental suits to fit you correctly.
3. Rinse with fresh water before you hit the surf
Your hair craves moisture, so it will soak it up as soon as you hit the surf. To prevent your hair from soaking up too much saltwater, wet it with fresh water before you go into the ocean. If you surf often (especially if you follow it with a post-surf shampoo), your hair can become stripped of its natural protective oils. A good rinse before you surf is critical, but another rinse plus skipping the shampoo and heading straight for the conditioner after you’re done for the day can help keep your hair healthy.
4. Coat your hair with coconut oil to keep it hydrated
Another secret to keeping your hair healthy and hydrated as a surfer is to give it an extra layer of protection before you hit the waves: coconut oil. After rinsing your hair in freshwater, comb a little coconut oil through the wet strands. You don’t need to apply a lot – after all, you don’t want your head to feel greasy, but a thin layer of coconut oil will act as an extra barrier to keep your hair from soaking up too much saltwater.
5. Make good use of your time between swells
Each time you have a few minutes on the beach, it’s a good idea to reapply sunscreen and lip balm. Even the best water-resistant sunscreen only works for up to 90 minutes, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re taking a break for lunch and won’t be heading back out immediately, rinse off with freshwater and take a few minutes to rehydrate and rest in the shade.
Post-Surfing Skin and Surfer Hair Tips
When you finally call it a day and you’ve put your board in the rack and made the trip home, it’s time to do a little post-sun skin and hair care. The first thing you want to do is take a cold shower. A nice cool shower will feel refreshing after a day in the sun, and it may help stave off sunburn inflammation if you skipped your midday sunscreen reapplication. Wash your hair thoroughly as well to get rid of salt buildup and to prevent bacteria from taking up residence.
The next step after cleaning yourself off is to rehydrate and restore your skin’s moisture barrier. You don’t necessarily need any heavy creams or emergency moisturizers – a lightweight summer moisturizer and your daily face cream should be enough. If you’re looking for a little extra moisture or relief for chafed skin, a little jojoba oil will do the trick. Apply it after you’ve showered and leave it on overnight, but you may want to rinse the excess oil off the next morning if you’re hitting the waves again.
If you’re not planning to be out in the sun again the next day, it’s an excellent opportunity to do a little more intensive repair work. Apply acne treatments, anti-aging cream, or serums as needed and throw on a hydrating face mask for an added degree of skin repair and rehydration.
Spending a day at the beach is good for your soul, but all that sun, sand, and saltwater can be tough on your skin and hair. Taking the time to prep your skin and hair before you surf is just as important as taking the necessary steps to repair, rehydrate, and restore it afterward. The less you have to worry about your skin and hair, the more time you get to spend enjoying the thrill of riding the waves.