This summer, keep the spotlight on your skin as you navigate sunscreen, pools, sweat and the heat. It sounds like a lot to keep track of, but there are many simple steps you can take to make sure your routine doesn’t fall by the wayside.
This summer, and all year-round, it should be your goal to protect your skin from sun damage. Sun damage can not only accelerate signs of aging like wrinkles and age spots, it can also cause skin cancer. Though skin cancer is a very treatable form of cancer, it can be dangerous if it goes undetected. Sunlight contains a harmful type of solar radiation called ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet rays cannot penetrate the body beyond skin, but they don’t need to to cause trouble. When skin cells are exposed to UV radiation they actually are destroyed, including the DNA contained within them. When skin cells attempt to regenerate, a genetic mutation can take place. This genetic mutation will cause skin cells to replicate at an accelerated, unnatural rate. This is skin cancer. Skin cancer lesions are unsightly and can be large and appear in multiple places at once. Treatment for skin cancer, even when detected early, can run the risk of causing scarring or other permanent damage to the skin.
Protecting yourself from skin cancer and the other ill-effects of sun damage is not difficult. Find a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Use an ounce of sunscreen on your body every two hours when you’re out in sunlight. No matter how much time you spend outdoors, sunburns are possible even outside of the summer months. Many cosmetics, like makeup and concealers, contain sunscreen. For everyday use, an SPF of 15 is common and acceptable for makeup. You can take other steps to avoid sun damage as well. Avoid being out in peak sunlight hours. There are resources for finding this in your area, but during the summer it’s from about 11am until 2pm. Wear long sleeves and pants when possible, as well as hats that can cover your head and face. Opt for summer clothing with a UPF, which refers to its ability to block or reflect UV light. Keeping your skin free of sunburns and sun damage is one of the easiest ways to keep your skin healthy.
While summer does bring more humidity and moisture with its sweltering heat, that doesn’t necessarily mean your skin’s going to be free of dryness without a little help. Sunlight and heat, regardless of your sunscreen can suck moisture from the skin very quickly. Sweating and chlorine from pools doesn’t help dry skin. The best ways to combat summer dryness is very similar to how you’d handle it in the winter. Moisturizing consistently at night and in the morning is a good place to start. While it’s counter-intuitive, spending too much time in the water can actually dry your skin out so it’s best you don’t soak in the pool for too long. If you’re experiencing facial dryness from windy and sunny days at the beach, treat yourself to a facial. Besides being relaxing, facials also help balance out and restore skin’s moisture. They also keep oiliness at bay, and cleanse out pores as an added bonus.
If you have some existing skin problems, like eczema or psoriasis, summer can be a real bummer. Summer heat, humidity and again, chlorine from the pool, can all make the symptoms of eczema more unbearable. The biggest triggers for eczema are your body heat and the humidity. Humidity can make itching worse, and even contribute to eczema’s spread across your skin. It’s important to keep your temperature regulated, which means making sure your home, workspace, and even your car are all a fairly consistent temperature. Other issues, like psoriasis or hyperhidrosis can also get worse in the summer. It’s possible that summer will call for you to step up your treatment during the warm season.
This year, make summer your best skincare season. If you’re looking for other tips and tricks on keeping up with your skin in the summer, reach out to the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates.
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