As seasons change, so do our skin care needs. In summer, the sun draws many of us outdoors. This is only natural, especially after months of harsh winter weather, but protecting your skin is particularly important in the summer. Why?
While the sun keeps us warm, it also releases radiation that penetrates and changes skin cells. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Melanoma is especially deadly, and between 65 and 90 percent of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet light.
The same sun that burns skin also dries it out, and sun damage leads to unattractive signs of aging, such as wrinkles and age spots.
But wait – don’t close the curtains and lock the doors. Plan for plenty of fun in the sun, but take precautions every day to protect your skin. Here are some tips.
Wear sunscreen – Choose sunscreen with an appropriate sun-protective factor, one that shields your skin from UVA and UVB rays. Of course you will apply sunscreen to your face – but don’t forget your neck (front and back), your ears, the backs of your hands and even the tops of your feet. To give your skin time to absorb the sunscreen, apply it 30 minutes before heading out.
If you’re going swimming, apply sunscreen to all exposed skin before you go in the water and then again when you get out.
Shield your face – Facial skin is more susceptible to overexposure. Wear a hat with a broad brim, enough to cover the back of your neck and fend off unattractive age spots. Eyes can get sunburned too, but sunglasses with UV-protection can help keep them safe.
Moisturize – Sun-damaged skin can accelerate the aging process, and the skin around the eyes and on the neck are often the first areas to reveal the signs.
Skin absorbs moisturizers easier and looks healthier when the top layer of dry skin is gently removed by exfoliation.
Moisturizing protects your skin from the drying effects of the sun, chlorine and salt water. Lotions and creams work best when applied just after a shower or bath.
Repair any damage – If you get too much sun, run cold water over the affected areas and apply soothing aloe vera gel. If your skin peels, apply moisturizer. Wear loose, soft clothing and stay out of the sun until your skin heals.