As the temperatures increase our thoughts turn away from our snow skis and toward our water skis. We start planning picnics and kids sporting events start taking up Saturdays. Just as our wardrobe gets an overhaul from parkas and sweaters to flip flops and shorts, our skin also needs an adjustment for the summer switch out.
Here are seven tips to help ease the transition to fun in the sun.
1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen – It has been estimated that approximately 85% of aging comes from cumulative sun damage. This can start early in our lives and continue on. Skin cancers continue to increase.
According to the skin cancer foundation.
· Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.1
· One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
Tips for sunscreen use
A) Use a broad spectrum SPF 15 or greater
B) Limit time in the sun or use extra precaution from the hours of 10 and 4.
C) Use clothes, sunglasses, and broad brimmed hats when able to.
D) Reapply every 2 hours and more often if in the water. (2-3 times a day)
Find a sunscreen that is right for your skin type. If you have dry skin, use a moisturizing sunscreen. For oily skin find a sunscreen that is lighter, possibly a gel or lotion.
Sunless tanners are a great way to get the look you might want without all the unwanted skin damage and aging effects.
Don’t forget the kids. Keep children under 6 months out of direct light.
Zinc is one of my favorite sunscreen ingredients and won’t irritate sensitive skin. It tends to work better and cover a larger range of UV radiation.
2. Make-up – Summer is a good time to switch away from liquid foundations and opt for lighter mineral based makeups. Especially those that come with a sunscreen.
3. Don’t forget the feet – as we move away from socks and into flip flops and sandles our feet can take a beating. A good and thick foot moisturizer will help keep away from that thickened, cracked heels that can be painful and take months to resolve. The feet sweat and then dry out leading to cracks. Keeping the feet moisturized will keep you more comfortable.
4. Lip love- make sure you are using lip balm that has at least an SPF of 15 in it and remember to reapply.
5. Razor bumps – many women shave more often as their legs get ready for the big summer show. A couple helpful hints to keep razor bumps down include changing razors as soon as they start to show signs of dullness. Using an over the counter benzoyl peroxide wash or antibacterial soap prior to shaving also can decrease the formation of shaving bumps. Sometimes shaving in the shower or bath while the skin is wet can help decrease unsightly bumps.
6. Cleansing and moisturizing – In the summer time it is even more important to remember to wash your face twice a day. During the day sweat and dust build up and cleansing that off at night can help keep the skin refreshed. In the summer time the skin also benefits from moving away from the thicker winter moisturizers to less heavy moisturizers. Particularly helpful are those that contain sunscreen. Often time moisturizing with exfoliating moisturizers such as alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids help to renew and refresh the skin and keep it in top shape.
Summer is a time for enjoying all those wonderful family function and outdoor activities that we like to do. Taking care of our skin can help us have fun, look young, and protect our skin.
Brian Williams M.D.