After a long winter, we understand that you can’t wait to pack away the coats and boots and slip into a tank top and sandals. Though the summertime is a welcomed change of pace and temperature, there are some things you should consider before you soak up the sun, especially when it comes to your skin.
The sun and your skin
Your skin has a love-hate relationship with the sun. When the sun’s rays hit your skin, the cholesterol in your skin starts to produce vitamin D, which is vital to maintaining strong, healthy bones and helping your gut absorb calcium and phosphorus.
On the other hand, the sun can cause serious damage to your skin if you’re not careful. Sun rays give off a type of radiation called ultraviolet (UV) light which can burn the skin quickly, damage the structural proteins below the surface, and result in a variety of cosmetic and health issues, including wrinkles, lack of elasticity, and, in the worst cases, skin cancer.
Fortunately, you don’t have to give up the outdoors in the name of saving your skin. Here are five ways you can care for your skin in the summer.
#1: Make friends with SPF
Have you ever wondered what the number on your bottle of sunscreen means? We’re here to tell you.
SPF stands for sun protection factors, and it’s a measure of how much UV radiation it’ll take to burn your skin. The higher the SPF value, the more UV radiation it’ll take to burn your skin.
But be careful — SPF doesn’t necessarily correlate to the amount of time you spend in the sun. An SPF of 15 doesn’t mean you can spend 15 hours in the sun without getting burned.
You have to take into account a variety of factors, including time of day, your skin type, how much sunscreen you’re wearing, and how often you reapply. Also, keep in mind that the sun can still reach your skin even on overcast days.
For this reason, we recommend that you always have broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 on hand to apply and reapply liberally throughout the day. Talk to us about makeup and moisturizers that have sunblock built-in, so you can protect your skin during your normal beauty and skincare routine.
#2: Wear protective clothing
In addition to sunscreen, clothing is your next best line of defense against the sun. A wide-brimmed hat keeps the harsh UV radiation from burning your ears, scalp, eyes, face, and neck.
You can also protect your skin by wearing dark colors that absorb UV light, choosing fabrics like polyester and unbleached cotton to keep the sun’s rays at bay, and wearing clothes that are woven or knitted tightly to keep as little of your skin exposed as possible.
#3: Avoid the hottest times of the day
The sun isn’t the same from sunrise to sunset. In fact, it’s most aggressive between late morning and early afternoon, so do your best to avoid being outdoors during those times. If you have to be outside when the sun is at its hottest, find a shady spot or open an umbrella to keep away from the harmful rays.
#4: Don’t forget your lips
Your lips are just as susceptible to sun damage as your skin, if not more so. To keep them from becoming dry, cracked, and scaly, find a chapstick with an SPF of 15 or higher and reapply it frequently (about every two hours).
Avoid wearing baby oil, petroleum jelly, or shiny lip gloss if you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period. You should also try to wear darker shades of lipsticks or lipsticks that have built-in SPF for added protection.
#5: Soothe damage quickly
If the worst happens and you get a sunburn, don’t panic. It happens to the best of us even when we try our hardest to avoid it. But you can still care for your skin if you address a sunburn properly. Here are some rules of thumb for sunburn care:
- Take cool baths or shower
- Apply a moisturizer or aloe vera
- Relieve pain and swelling with NSAIDs
- Drink extra water
The best thing you can do for sunburn is to encourage healing by avoiding unnecessary sun exposure. That is especially important if your skin has blistered.
If you’d like more information, or you’d like to explore your aesthetic treatment options for sun-damaged skin, request an appointment online or over the phone at our Providence, Utah, office today.