Now that it’s summer, the weather is beautiful, and we’re all looking forward to spending time outside. Spending short periods of time in the sunshine can benefit you by boosting your mood and mental health if you keep your skin protected.
To enjoy your natural dose of vitamin D without risking premature aging and skin cancer, it’s important to take care of your skin this summer when you go outside. Raymund J. Llaurado, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande, California, shares these tips to help you keep your skin healthy and youthful-looking this summer.
Why good summer skincare matters
Almost everyone loves spending time in the sun, but unprotected skin exposure to the sun is also the leading cause of premature aging. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays cause 80% of the aging in your skin.
After years of spending unprotected time in the sun, your skin is highly susceptible to developing premature wrinkles, sun spots, and marks and patches that can develop into skin cancer. Fortunately, with the right summertime skincare routine, you can prevent these problems from developing.
5 summer skincare tips to keep your skin healthy
1. Always wear sunscreen
Wearing sunscreen every day is the best way to block the sun’s harmful UV rays and maintain your healthy, glowing skin. To get the biggest benefit, put a minimum of 1 ounce of broad-spectrum sunscreen, 30 SPF or higher, on your face and other exposed body parts every time you go outside. Don’t rely solely on the SPF protection in your foundation and other makeup products.
Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply every 90 minutes to two hours. Be especially careful about reapplying sunscreen regularly if you are swimming, sweating, or spending time at the beach or pool, as sand and water reflect the rays of the sun.
2. Choose protective clothing and accessories
Protect your eyes, face, ears, and neck by pairing sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection with a hat. On your body, wear clothing with tightly-woven fabrics and in darker colors, which provide more protection than lighter clothing and fabrics that are loosely woven. Wear long pants and shirts when you can.
3. Avoid the sun during the most dangerous times of day
Between 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest, you should avoid the sun as much as possible and stay indoors or in a shaded area. As a good rule of thumb to determine when the sun is at its brightest, seek shade anytime you stand in the sun and notice your shadow appears shorter than you.
4. Treat sunburns right away
If you do accidentally get a sunburn after spending time in the sun, treat it immediately with at-home care to minimize the damage to your skin. Apply aloe vera or an alcohol-free moisturizer on the sunburn, and avoid direct sun exposure to the sunburned area until it heals completely.
5. Be extra cautious if you take certain medications
If you take some kinds of medications, you’re more susceptible to the sun and need to be especially careful about taking precautions when you go outside. These include some antibiotics, blood pressure medication, anti-inflammatory medication, and antifungals. Getting chemotherapy can also make your skin more prone to sun damage.
The best way to keep your skin healthy and ward off aging is prevention, but if you’ve developed signs of premature aging, such as wrinkles or sun spots, Dr. Llaurado can help reverse the damage. Dr. Llaurado offers non-surgical treatments, such as chemical peels and laser resurfacing, which heal sun-damaged skin.