Summer is here! So, are you going to enjoy it fully or hide indoors? We have gone from being total sun-worshippers to total sun-phobics! There has got to be a happy medium. All things in Moderation. With the proper preventative measures and precautions taken, there is no need to be either one or the other.
As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for over 30 years, I have learned that you just can’t tell a client to stay out of the sun completely! Most of us love to be able to enjoy the summer outdoors getting a golden tan, playing sports, swimming, and going to barbeques! So, instead of speaking only about the dangers of sun exposure, it’s important I also extol the benefits of a little sun.
Nowadays, everyone knows that too much sun exposure can be a danger to our skin. The key is balance. There are several health benefits as well. Besides the fact that a tan makes people feel good about themselves; it also improves your mood, boosts a healthier immune system, stimulates the body’s production of Vitamin D, helps with bone health, lowers blood pressure, and helps with better sleep! I’ve even heard some clients say that a healthy tan makes them feel AND look thinner! It’s definitely a self-esteem booster!
So, in order to prepare for summer fun in the sun, I’ve listed a few things that you should do before, during, and after you head out into the sunshine that will give you some peace of mind:
BY ALL MEANS….DON’T GET BURNED!
Everyone knows that the most common form of sun damage to their skin is a sunburn. Its unsightly and very painful….and frankly, can ruin your day or vacation! So, taking adequate measures to protect your skin before heading outdoors is not only smart but important. The EPA recommends that you take action steps to help you and your family be “Sun Wise”. Check out their Action Steps for Sun Protection at www.epa.gov/sunwise
SUN-PROOF YOUR SKIN
Talk to your Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon on which types of sunscreen would work best with your skin type. Make sure you apply at least a minimum of SPF 15 every 2 hours or so. I truly recommend the sunscreens with Zinc Oxide! Zinc Oxide is the best, safest, and most effective UV filter there is on the market today. Too much sun for long periods of time isn’t good for your skin, either. I see too many clients come in asking how they can reverse their damaged skin so they can look youthful again. Those age spots, sometimes called sun spots, are an accumulation of sun damage which triggered melanin-producing cells to lose control and produce too much pigment. No one likes having Age Spots!
“Sun protection doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive – it needs to be consistent. Keep it simple, but do it forever!”
― Hillary Fogelson, Melanoma Survivor and Author of Pale Girl Speaks
HYDRATION IS VITAL
While outdoors, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is crucial as you increase your outdoor activities in the heat as you perspire. This advice cannot be stressed enough as it not only helps you with hydration, but it helps your skin as well.
CONSIDER A WIDE-BRIMMED HAT
A stylish hat that compliments your beach attire will protect you from the harmful effects of the sun. According to OutdoorResearch.com, certain brimmed hats have UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) which acts like sunscreen! So, look great while doing a great service to your skin!
UV SUNGLASSES ARE A MUST
You’re eyes and the surrounding skin are highly sensitive to the elements. Over exposure to the sun around the eye area is quite dangerous and damaging. Investing in a great pair of UV sunglasses is so vital to the health of your eyes. The Mayo Clinic notes that UV rays can damage the skin on your eyelids as well as the more sensitive parts like your cornea.
KNOW THE BEST TIMES TO AVOID THE SUN!
The EPA suggests that UV levels are at their highest from mid-morning to afternoon – say from 10am to 4pm. Seek shade whenever possible, continue to wear and re-apply sunscreen, sunhat, cover-ups, and sunglasses throughout the day if you find yourself outdoors for most of the day.
DON’T FORGET THE UMBRELLA!
I know….I know….too much to carry to the beach! However, you’ll be ever so grateful for that umbrella as you seek some shade when that mid-day sun hits! A shaded tree, umbrella and cover-ups all can help you keep your skin safe from sun damage.
WHAT TO DO ONCE THE DAMAGE IS DONE
So, you forgot to use sunscreen, didn’t apply enough, or follow any of the advice listed above! So, what do you do? It is time to soothe the over-exposed skin. Using super-soothing cooling gels often help prevent peeling and reduces redness and inflammation. It is also very important that you get a skin exam from your physician. Prior to exposing yourself to the sun, it is vital to find out if any medications you may be taking could cause you to have a sun allergy or if you have sun sensitivity; which usually runs in the family.
So in closing, if you love to be outdoors in the summer feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, then go for it! Just remember to respect the elements and take proper precaution when taking care of your skin!
If you would like to learn more about summer skin care, please call me to request a consultation at (401) 331-0202. I can help you design a skin care regimen specific to your own unique skin care needs. Our Fraxel Dual laser corrects damage from the sun. Have a safe and fun summer!