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Summer Essentials: Must-Have Items for Your Purse in 2024

As the summer begins, people spend more time outdoors. But dehydration, sunburn, and insect bites can be joy killers. How can we prevent these and enjoy summer activities? A well-organized purse is an easy hack to make your summer more enjoyable. An elegant purse filled with summer essentials blends style, convenience, and preparedness.

Purse essentials this summer

Most states in the U.S. record their hottest temperatures during July and August. Intense summer heat prompts us to take better care of ourselves, which can be done by carrying summer essentials in our purses. We can be better prepared for the summer just by organizing our items. Here, we discuss a few essentials for this season.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen

The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause sunburn, photodamage to the skin, and even skin cancer. Therefore, sunscreen is a must-have item in your purse.

Chemical and physical sunscreens offer protection from harmful UV rays, but each comes with its own pros and cons. Chemical sunscreen provides sun protection but can irritate sensitive skin. Meanwhile, physical sunscreen (sunblock) is well-suited for sensitive skin, but it might leave a white residue on the skin. Hence, some people prefer tinted sunblock that does not leave any residue. In any case, read labels carefully to know more about the ingredients in sunscreen.

Sun protective factor (SPF) is another detail that needs to be carefully selected. Check for products that have SPF 30 or higher.

Lip balm with SPF

Lip balm with SPF

Just like face sunscreen, lip balm with SPF protects the lips from UV damage in the sunlight. However, research has shown that few people use lip balm with protection. Increasing awareness about sunscreen and using lip balm with SPF can also help prevent skin cancer. Keep a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher in your purse and apply it frequently during summer.

Hydrating facial mist

Hydrating facial mist

During summer, the facial skin may appear dehydrated, inflamed, and tired. A hydrating facial mist can aid in restoring its youthful appearance. Typically available as sprays, certain facial mists have calming and cooling botanical extracts such as rose, thyme, rosemary, or coconut water. Facial mist can help reduce redness and nourish sensitive skin, and some products contain ingredients with anti-aging properties. However, available research data on facial mists and their properties is negligible. Consult your cosmetologist before using facial mists.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Eyes can easily get sunburned during outdoor activities such as skiing and trekking. The UV rays can inflame the cornea or the outer layer of the eyeball and cause photokeratitis or eye sunburn. Eye sunburn usually heals within 72 hours with appropriate treatment. However, it is essential to prevent eye sunburn with a simple step. Sunglasses with a well-fitting frame can help in reducing sunburned eyes. Use sunglasses that meet the standards specified by the American National Standards Institute. Keep your sunglasses in a hard case in your purse.

Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer

Although the pandemic is over, hand sanitizer remains a summer essential. Viruses that cause 'summer cold' and other respiratory diseases can be transmitted as people hang out in large groups. Most respiratory viruses spread through droplets and close contact with people while shaking hands or hugging. Hand sanitizers can help in reducing the spread of the disease.

Mini perfume

Mini perfume

Mini perfume can help control body odor and provide lasting freshness throughout the day. Individuals allergic to perfumes may consider botanical products such as rose or sandalwood extract. Talk to your cosmetologist and discuss the right option for you to control the sweat and body odor.

Blotting papers

Blotting papers

Sebaceous glands secrete sebum on the face, which can eventually together with dead skin cells clog the pores and result in acne. Blotting paper helps reduce the oil on the skin's surface. Research has shown that although using blotting paper doesn’t decrease sebum production, it may reduce the severity of acne.

There are no clear recommendations about using blotting paper, but there are some anecdotal reports of people using non-medical blotting paper twice a day to reduce sebum. However, avoid using blotting paper after applying sunscreen as it may reduce sunscreen efficacy.

Mini first aid kit

Mini first aid kit

While outdoors, medical emergencies may arise, and a first aid kit can help in offering immediate relief. A mini first aid kit is definitely an essential as medical help may be a few minutes or hours away and time is of the essence. For wound care, include the following items in the kit:

  • Bandages
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Ointments
  • Cloth tape
  • Cold compress

Additionally, include over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and antihistamines. Depending on the situation, additional items may be necessary in the first aid kit; for instance, persons with diabetes may need to have glucose tablets or their routine medication.

Reusable water bottle

Reusable water bottle

Staying hydrated while doing outdoor activities is crucial. Dehydration can lead to mood swings, mental confusion, constipation, and even kidney stones. Broadly speaking, adults need to have 44 ounces of fluids (water) daily. This amount can vary depending on age, gender, and environmental factors.

Carry a reusable water bottle with you to ensure you drink enough water. If you prefer, you can use a folding water bottle that rolls and fits in your purse easily. Fill up water bottles periodically, as needed, at drinking fountains that provide safe drinking water.

Healthy snacks

Healthy snacks

Outdoor activities can stimulate hunger, and having a healthy snack can be beneficial in reducing physical stress. Depending on your schedule, carry one or more healthy snacks listed below:

  • Protein bar
  • Fresh fruits
  • Cheese
  • Edamame
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix

Instead of salty prepackaged snacks, cut vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, and celery are refreshing during summer afternoons.

Insect repellent

Insect repellent

Insects and arachnids such as mosquitoes and ticks can spread diseases like malaria or Lyme disease. Using insect repellent can reduce the chances of insect bites. Read carefully the instructions on the label as the method of application for insect repellents may vary (e.g., spray over the clothes or apply on the skin). Make sure that skin-applied insect repellents have ingredients approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Cooling towels or wipes

Cooling towels or wipes

While you are out, especially in the intense heat, sweat and dirt can accumulate on your skin. Wipes or cooling towels can help remove sweat or dirt on your skin and help cool down further. Some people prefer using facial wipes formulated for acne-prone skin. For people with sensitive skin, alcohol-free and fragrance-free wipes are also available. Check your local or online pharmacy to learn more about the options available to you.

Moisturizer

Moisturizer

During summer, intense heat and dehydration can cause the skin to lose its glow. Although moisturizers can help restore the hydrated look of the skin, oily moisturizers can clog the pores, facilitate bacterial growth, and ultimately cause acne. Use a lightweight moisturizer with SPF 30 or higher. Some people prefer using tinted moisturizer for a smoother appearance.

Face mask

Face mask

While visiting crowded places such as amusement parks or movies, using a face mask may be a good idea. Although we are out of the pandemic phase, variants of coronavirus and other pathogens that cause respiratory illnesses still prevail. A face mask may help minimize the transmission of diseases, especially in older or immunocompromised persons. Also, check the local county website to know the current recommendations regarding face masks.

Portable fan

Portable fan

A personal portable fan can help cool down rapidly after hectic outdoor activities. Most of these small fans operate on rechargeable batteries for 4–5 hours. Be sure to charge the batteries before you go out. Portable fans are lightweight, cordless, and can easily fit into your purse. Some fans also offer a mist option, which further helps in rapid cooling.

Makeup products

Makeup products

Hot weather causes sweating, which can smudge the makeup. Hence, another summer essential is makeup products that stay on even when the weather is hot. For instance, waterproof mascara stays on your eyelashes even when sweating profusely. Use a lightweight moisturizer that does not clog the pores. Also, look for a lightweight foundation with SPF 30 or higher. If your makeup does not have SPF 30 or higher, apply sunscreen on your face before applying makeup.

Hair accessories

Hair accessories

The American Academy of Dermatology Association has recommendations for hair care during the summer. Use a leave-in conditioner that contains zinc oxide to protect hair from UV rays. Also, when you pull your hair back, use covered hairbands. Scrunchies or cloth-covered hair ties are a great option to carry in your purse. Alternatively, you can use a hair tie or hairpin that does not pull your hair tightly.

General items to keep in your purse

Apart from these summer-specific items, you may need a few general or all-season healthcare items in your purse this summer. For instance, pads or tampons, any routine medications, lenses, socks, and others. If you suffer from chronic pain, you may carry a pain relief gel in your purse.

Also, keep your health insurance card, doctor's contact information, or emergency contact in your purse. Additionally, take a minute to review healthcare apps on your phone. Update necessary healthcare apps (e.g., activity trackers, meditation) periodically and delete apps no longer in use.

How to organize your purse

An organized purse can help you take good care of your skin and hair during the summer and all year round. Here are a few tips for organizing your purse:

  1. Take the time to organize your purse every week, if not every day. Depending on the location you are visiting (e.g., beach, park, fishing), your purse contents may need to change.
  2. Although we share the right contents for a summer purse here, consider using a larger tote bag or a smaller shoulder bag that accommodates your summer skincare needs.
  3. Use transparent plastic pouches to keep liquids such as sunscreen, perfumes, and moisturizers.
  4. Purse organizer inserts are available if your purse doesn’t have a dedicated spot for items such as keys, cards, snacks, and others. It will prevent the intermingling of healthcare items with items of daily use. When organized well, your purse can carry a lot more items than one can imagine.
  5. Clean your purse regularly and toss out any expired items such as expired sunscreen, medication, and more. Replenish items such as wipes and hand sanitizers periodically.

Staying healthy during summer can be a challenge. Having a well-organized purse can help us minimize the effects of intense heat. Include summer essential products such as sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, sunglasses, hydrating facial mist, and hand sanitizers. Carry a healthy snack such as a fruit or breakfast bar and a water bottle in your purse. And last but not least, clean and reorganize your purse often to match your daily schedule.

At Healthnews, we are curious about the must-have items in your purse for this summer. Have you tried any of the products suggested in this article? Share with us in the comments section or on our social media with #summerpurse.

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