Warm weather, pool parties, and outdoor grilling are trademarks of summer. However, spending too much time in the sun without proper precautions can accelerate aging and contribute to various skin issues.
Here are a few ways to protect your skin without ruining your summer fun.
1. Use sunscreen.
Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Use an SPF of at least 30 and apply the sunscreen generously. If spending long periods outdoors, you’ll want to re-apply the sunscreen every two hours, more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
Store the sunscreen in a cool environment and check the expiration date before use.
2. Avoid peak periods of sun.
The late morning and early afternoon hours are when the sun’s rays are strongest. Prolonged exposure during this period increases the risk of sunburn. If you have to be out and about under peak sun, try to find shade. Apply sunscreen to minimize damage from the sun’s UV rays.
3. Wear protective sunglasses.
Wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect the skin around your eyes, which is especially prone to sun damage. Sunglasses can also protect you from developing cataracts when spending long periods under the sun.
4. Wear a hat.
The back of the neck is especially prone to sun damage. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat provides shade from your head to your shoulders.
If big hats aren’t your style, wear a baseball cap and apply sunscreen to the unprotected areas of your face and neck.
5. Wear protective clothing.
If venturing out during peak sun hours, consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to minimize skin exposure.
If you’re worried about being too hot, wear white or light-colored clothing; black or dark-colored clothing will absorb the light and make you warmer!
6. Monitor your skin.
Check your skin for reddening, peeling, and new freckles or moles. Consult a dermatologist if you notice any changes. Consider visiting a dermatologist for routine skin checkups.
7. Avoid tanning salons.
Tanning beds bombard your skin with concentrated UVA and UVB rays, increasing the risk of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Tanning beds can also damage your eyes. When it comes to getting that summer tan, slow, steady, and protected under natural sunlight is the way to go.
8. If you take medication, check your label for any warnings about sun exposure.
Certain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, antihistamines, antibiotics, and antidepressants may increase your sensitivity to sunlight.
Read labels and talk to your doctor and pharmacist to learn about possible risks.
9. Avoid smoking.
Smoking accelerates skin aging. The chemicals in smoke shrink the capillaries in the skin, causing the skin to pale. The reduced blood flow also interferes with the transport of oxygen, vitamins, and minerals vital to skin health. Smoking also reduces the strength and elasticity of skin, giving it a tight, wrinkly appearance.
Lastly, smoking increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Talk to a doctor for ways to quit smoking.
10. Eat smart.
A nutritious, balanced diet provides your skin with the vitamins and minerals it needs to look and feel healthy. Choose vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains. Limit saturated fats and sweets.
Above all, drink plenty of water to keep your skin from drying out.
11. Manage your bathing habits.
Hot, long showers and strong soaps remove natural oils from skin, leading to dryness and flaking. Limit your bath time and choose mild soaps. Dry your skin gently with a soft towel and apply moisturizer to keep your skin in top shape.
Excess stress can lead to breakouts and other skin issues. Get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, have fun, and unwind to keep stress levels low and protect your skin. Many people benefit from deep-breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga.
Protecting your skin in the summer months doesn’t have to be a chore.
By being proactive and making smart choices, you can keep your skin healthy all year round. For more tips on maintaining healthy skin, talk to a dermatologist, or another healthcare professional.