Summertime Tips to Keep the Sun from Wreaking Havoc on Your Skin

That sun-kissed glow may seem appealing but the sun’s rays can be a menace to your skin. The National Institute on Aging has pointed to sunlight as a major culprit of wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. Spending too much time in the sun can make you look old before your time. 

The sun not only can steal your beauty, but it can affect your health, too. Prolonged exposure to the sun raises the risk of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be about 96,000 new cases of melanoma in 2019, and more than 7,000 of those will be fatal.

These facts may be scary but they don’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors this summer. You do, however, need to take some precautions. Take good care of your skin and it will take care of you for a lifetime.

Sunscreen and sunblock

Most people use the terms sunscreen and sunblock interchangeably, but they’re not the same. While both provide protection from the sun, they work quite differently. Sunblock sits on top of the skin, creating a physical barrier. Sunscreen is a chemical barrier and actually absorbs the sun’s rays. Both are suitable methods of defense and which one you use depends on your preference, activity, and skin.

The effectiveness of both sunscreen and sunblock is measured in SPF. This stands for sun protection factor and it tells you the amount of time it takes for the skin to be affected by the sun while wearing the product compared with exposed skin with no protection at all. Skin protected with a product of SPF 30, for example, takes 30 times longer to burn.

Before you head out to bask in the sun, apply product at least 15 minutes before exposure. Use a sunblock or sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Look for products that offer broad spectrum protection and are water resistant.

Dress appropriately

You may not want to cover up from head to toe while you’re out on the beach, but some smart wardrobe choices can go a long way to keeping your skin safe from the sun. One often overlooked accessory that can give you great protection while still being stylish and functional even at the beach is a wide-brim hat. This simple item can offer substantial protection for your face, neck, and shoulders.

For days when you’re wearing more than a bathing suit, look for clothing made of unbleached cotton, high-luster polyester, and satiny silk. These fabrics are better at absorbing or reflecting the sun’s rays and offer better protection. Darker materials tend to be better at absorbing UV light while fabric with a tighter weave does a better job of keeping those rays out.

Protect your lips and eyes

We often forget to protect our lips from the sun and that may be why the lips are a common site for cancer. Look for lip balm with at least SPF 15 and reapply every two hours. If you must wear lipstick, choose one with SPF protection and wear darker shades as they’re better at absorbing UV rays.

The sun is damaging to the eyes as well and can cause problems such as cataracts. Wear sunglasses with a brown or gray tint that offer protection of UV 400.

Take care of yourself

Give your body a fighting chance by taking care of yourself inside and out. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Eat healthy food filled with antioxidants to fight free radicals within your body. Keep cool and listen to your body. Don’t push yourself beyond what your body can tolerate.

Repairing damaged skin

Sometimes even our best intentions aren’t enough. If you do end up with a sunburn, cool the skin by taking showers on the cold side and applying products with aloe vera. Take extra care with sunburned skin and don’t expose it further to the sun.

If your skin has suffered from too much repeated sun exposure, you may find that it has lost its youthful radiance. Wrinkles, sagging, and discoloration are just a few of the signs that your skin may be damaged. But don’t fret, it's not beyond repair.

Visit Dr. Kevin Charlotten at Q-Care Aesthetic Laser Care in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens, New York, and get your skin assessed. There are noninvasive treatments available that can rejuvenate your skin and reverse the damage that the sun has done over the years. You can walk out with a fresher look and renewed confidence. 

Call our office today or book your appointment online.

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