While travel can make a positive impact on your health by relieving stress and getting you more active, it can also take a toll on other parts of your body. During the past year I’ve started to notice and pay attention to how much travel affects my skin.

I’ve never really been a big sunscreen user because my skin takes to the sun pretty well and it’s harder for me to get a sunburn than most people. But even though I haven’t been getting sunburnt, the sun has definitely started to take effect on my skin’s tone and texture. And it took this past year of long term travel for me to really take notice, pay attention and do something about it.

Your skin the largest organ in your body, and your face is the most exposed part. Sun exposure has a big part in how your skin ages. Once you’ve gotten those sun spots and wrinkles it’s pretty hard to go backwards and get rid of them (trust me I’ve tried).

Even if you’re just going away for a weekend you should never travel without sunscreen (or suncream as some other countries might call it). All that sunshine adds up.

You are outside more than you’re used to.

When you’re not traveling, you are spending most of your day inside at the office. You can get away with just the SPF that’s already in your face moisturizer. But when you’re traveling, you often will spend the entire day outside, and for multiple days in a row. All of the sudden you are going from your just spending your commute and lunch time outside to spending six or more hours outside and during the sunniest parts of the day.

You might be getting more UV exposure where you’re traveling.

The closer you are to the equator, the more sun exposure you are getting. And other elements can increase your sun exposure like being in higher altitude, on a snowy mountain, taking certain travel medications or just being in certain countries (like Australia). Spending the day outside in NYC is much different than spending the day outside in Central America.

It’s hard to find and more expensive.

I’ve found that most countries are not into as high SPF’s as we are in the US. I know I’ve heard the rumor that after something like SPF 30 the numbers don’t matter but it still brings me comfort to use my 50 and 70. I often see just SPF 10 and 20 on the shelves around the world.

Also depending on where you are your favorite brand might be more expensive or not available. And different sunscreens cater to different markets in the world. For example, a lot of sunscreen in Asia has added whitening cream. And in some countries sunscreen isn’t used the way we use in the US so it might not even be available in small cities.

travel beauty sunscreen

My favorites.

My go-to face sunscreen when I’m wearing makeup is Origins Mega-Defense SPF 45. I apply it after my moisturizer but before my makeup primer. And I haven’t tried it officially yet but I’m so excited about Glossier’s new everyday face sunscreen Invisible Shield. I’m definitely ordering it and giving it a test run.

If I’m headed to the beach or not wearing makeup because it’s too hot outside I go with Neutrogena’s Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 55. It’s light enough that you can use it pretty liberally and it is not as chalky or greasy as regular sunscreen.

For my body I’m pretty brand loyal and always use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 70. I do like the convenience of aerosol sunscreens but sometimes you can’t fly with them, the container is larger and I find for days at the beach it doesn’t work as well. Cream rubs in and protects much better.

Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you. -Maori Proverb

There’s nothing more amazing than a gorgeous sunny day in a new place at the beginning of a new adventure. Soak in all the experiences, just leave out the UV rays along the way.