Face it . . . how to protect your skin from the sun

So, we have all seen them. You know, those cute 20-something surf girls in the teeny weenie bikinis? They have that bronzed and beautiful skin with the bright killer smile. We know them, hell, some of us were them a few years ago. But, it is inevitable . . . we age. The bonus is we get sexier and our surfing gets better but our face, well, it gets wrinkled and weathered. How do you protect your skin from the sun and still look amazing?

What happens to the surf girl skin when she gets to be 30-something or, god forbid, 40-something? In most cases bronzed and beautiful skin becomes wrinkled, saggy and leathered. Unfortunately even the best sunscreen is not going to save the surfer girl’s skin; you need way more than that. So how do you surf 120 days a year or more and expose yourself to the sun, wind and Mother Ocean and not end up looking like a freakin’ hag by the time you’re 50? Plus, how do you do it without Botox? Screw vanity . . . how do you do it without ending up having skin cancer scraped off your face?

After more than 14 years on the water, I am now averaging 120 surf days per year. Each year I pray it increases. I still have good skin. Actually, according to most, I have very good skin. It is not perfect, I have laugh lines and wrinkles around my eyes and my skin is not as firm as it once was but considering the time I spend in the sun and the wine I drink, I’m rockin’ it. Plus, I have to say I am Botox and chemical injection-free and always will be. I prefer my wrinkled forehead intact when I am 60 verses having it fall to my nose (that’s gonna be a great look, don’t ya think? Oh well, forehead lifts will be very popular in 20 years.) So before you think you have to inject stuff into your face to look younger and still be in the sun, here are some tips that might help along the way. God knows, over the years I have pretty much tested a good portion of the sunscreen and skin care section of our beauty industry, plus spent a shit load of money in the process.

Now before I give the tips, I am going to assume that everyone is using good skin care products. (Yes, that means not the crap from the drug store, but the good stuff. I would like to mention that not all the good stuff is $150+ an ounce. This is where it’s up to you to find what works for you and is in your price point.) I am also going to assume that everyone is using a cleanser, day cream with SPF or foundation/tinted moisturizer/BB cream with SPF and a night cream. If you’re not, you better start. Because even Botox is not gonna save ya.

Top Five Tips for Aging with Grace and Being a Surf Sista

  1. Wear a hat! Duh!

All the time. Ball hats for surfing/running/driving, big floppy sun hats for the beach/pool days, fedora for style, and even the tie on waterproof surf hat (they are not sexy but in the midday sun, they are essential).

  1. Wear a rash guard with long sleeves.

I watch some of my girlfriends surf bare back and I cringe. Are you on the water to surf or show off your tits and new bikini? Dazzle the masses on the beach when you can apply more sunscreen. When you’re on the water, cover up. It’s better than having scars all over your back from mole removal.

  1. Zinc it up!

Over the years I have tried every single sunscreen and I have to say, they all suck! In my case, it didn’t matter how much I spent (and they are not cheap, especially when you go through a tube a week!) I either still got burnt or I broke out in zits or both. Usually both. Plus, the chemicals in sunscreen dried out my skin, making me look older! A few years ago I switched over to straight zinc, mainly because I was tired of getting burnt. But it was heavy and greasy on my skin and I hated having the white face (I’ll admit the pink was fun!). However, a few years ago I found a great skin cream that is zinc-based with SPF 45. The best part is it’s made for sensitive skin so you don’t break out and it is transparent, so no white face. Plus, it works and you won’t burn. Try the Cliniderm Gentle Protection Lotion.

However, if I am on the water midday or sunset I still apply my HeadHunter Zinc Facestick on my nose, cheekbones, forehead and ears (don’t forget those buggers).

how to protect your skin from the sun
Very, very important: zinc for the lips. I have used two and love them both. The first one is from Elemental Goods called All Good Lips with SPF 12.

The other is stronger – HeadHunter Lip Balm SPF 30.



how to protect your skin from the sunLip balm for health/moisture plus extra like bug bites/burns/rashes is from Elemental Goods call All Good Goop. It’s a must in the surf bag.
Please DO NOT use Chapstick or Blistex. They don’t work and you become addicted to them.



  1. Peel, Peel and Peel Again.

On the months that you are off the water, use a glycolic peel. Peel your face once a week for six weeks. You can either go to a spa and have it done or buy an at-home glycolic peel kit. Here is my favourite: Neostrata Skin Renewal Peel Solution. This will remove the sun-damaged layers of skin a little bit at a time. I would also add in a hydrating masque afterwards. The biggest key to looking younger is hydrated skin.

TIP: Make sure you do your neck and chest as well – this area shows the age more than your face.

**If you are never off the water, (and are clearly a very lucky girl!) then do your peels when the swell sucks, at least twice a month. Make sure to really wear your sunscreen for three days afterwards!**

  1. Serum, Serum, Serum.

If you have never heard of it, start researching. But after the age of 35 I would highly recommend an anti-aging serum twice a day before your day and night cream. There are many on the market; I use by Neo Strata has fruit and peptide stem cells to reverse the signs of aging. The bottom line is I have used them religiously and then taken a break. The result is my skin is smoother, has fewer lines and is more hydrated when I use them. Here is the one I use: Neostrata Anti Aging Serum.

My Conclusion
Good luck and remember . . . it’s not all going to work for you. So do your own research and find something that does. Surfing and looking after your skin is kinda like great sex with a stranger… just protect yourself and keep doing it!

If you like this blog then please share it, if you have surf or skin question send me a message and I will do my best to answer it.


Marjie Martini

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