Summer in Houston arrives with a vengeance around late April or early May and the city tries to break its fever in late October if we’re lucky. So for those of us with photo-sensitivity or any sensitivity to heat, we need an all out battle plan. Here’s a peek at my war chest and how I try to get through these tough summers!

  • UV protection on my car windows
  • La Roche Posay Sunscreen—for a long time this sunscreen was only available in Europe. Why is it that those Europeans seem to know all the best secrets? No doubt it is the best sunscreen, lotion, and moisturizer rolled into one, that I have ever tried for my hands, face, body, and ears. I buy several different kinds to cover my bases and stock up so I don’t run out. Many dermatologists swear by this stuff and you should too! The secret is Mexoryl SX—an ingredient that helps block out short UV rays, the nasty rays that can drive your lupus into a rage!
  • Portable SPF wipes—these are available from a lot of different brands, such as Dermalogica, and are handy to keep in the car, in your purse, in your office and in your beach bag so you can keep reapplying sunscreen throughout the day. No worries about your tube of sunscreen overheating.
  • SPF spray for your hair—I use Aveda’s Sun Care spray on my hair to give my strands an extra layer of protection.
  • SPF eye cream—the skin around your eyes is super delicate, and if you have lupus, it is also prone to rashes, so load up on the SPF eye cream. After much trial and error, I have found that Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care Ultra Protection cream (SPF 30) provides great coverage and is not irritating. And this is coming from a super sensitive, dry eye, Restasis girl!
  • Hats and scarves are so chic right now there is no reason not to sport one every weekend. I keep a scarf in my car now to wrap around my hair on super hot and bright afternoons. I don’t need to lose any more hair!
  • Sunglasses with UV protection—you might as well splurge on some super cute sunglasses (or two pair!)
  • Chapstick—I never leave home without my Nivea chapstick. Nivea A Kiss of Moisture Hydrating Chapstick has SPF 4, which is just what you need on your precious pucker. My lips are chronically chapped, no matter what time of year it is. And even in humid Houston, they still peel. Gross. But with Nivea, I’m at least a little more likely to get a kiss from my beloved.
  • Patio umbrella—we invested in a large one for our deck and we are considering a second umbrella to provide extra shade because all of the adjusting to block the sun is just a tad bit annoying. Look into portable patio umbrellas for picnics and the beach too.
  • Portable seat—It is festival season and that means a lot of sittin’ and waiting in line in the sun. You can tolerate all that pain like I used to or you can buy a great little portable seat on a stick from your local sporting goods or camping store. It’s so awesome. You may think you’ll be embarrassed to carry it around. But I swear to you, other healthy, fit people will be jealous. Case in point—every year at Comic Con in San Diego, when we have to wait in four hour lines, everyone is frothing at the mouth for a chance to sit on our little chairs!

As a former sun-loving California babe, I am determined to stay friendly with the sun. I hope these tools are helpful to you and I look forward to hearing how you beat back your disease while letting in the light!