As the weather finally warms up, most of us will be making time for our favorite outdoor activities. Whether you like a great hike and a weekend of camping, or a relaxing day at the beach soaking up the sun, it’s important to take the effects on your skin into consideration. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and it’s important to take care of it to the best of your ability in order to prevent both short- and long-term damage. Here are 5 tips for protecting your skin this summer so you can enjoy the sun safely:
Learn Your Skin Type
Just as fitness experts recommend learning more about your body type before beginning a new workout regimen, dermatologists and estheticians stress learning more about your skin type before trying new products or treatments. There are 5 main skin types: dry, oily, sensitive, normal, and combination. Each type requires different care in order to maintain its overall health. Using a heavy moisturizer on oily skin can result in unwanted breakouts, just as a harsh or scented soap can irritate sensitive skin. Summertime can increase the chances of these dilemmas as normal skin can dry out easily in the heat and oily skin can produce even more sebum after sweating. By learning your skin type you can avoid these skin-care disasters and gain a better understanding of what products will work best for you.
It may seem cliché, but the best thing you can do for your body is also the best thing you can do for your skin. Skin cells, like every other cell in your body, rely on water to function at peak levels. Drinking at least 8 glasses, or 64 ounces, of water everyday helps to rid the body of toxins that affect your overall health. In an article for Women’s Health Magazine, Dr. Julius Few explains that, “a variety of structures in the skin that support collagen require water to work effectively.” Collagen helps keep your skin plump and elastic which, in turn, helps keep out external particles and irritants that can cause clogged pores and blemishes. When the weather heats up, your body loses more water at a faster rate; before you head out for the day, make sure you have a full, reusable water bottle or cup with you and remember to refill it whenever you’re running low.
Use Broad Spectrum SPF- And Reapply!
You’ve probably heard the gospel of sunscreen many times in your life, but it really is crucial to the overall health of your skin. Sure, avoiding a sunburn is reason enough to apply when you’re headed to the pool or the beach, but a broad spectrum SPF is a necessity every day— even when the risk of a burn is low. Before you head out to the patio for brunch or your annual Memorial Day BBQ, make sure you’ve applied at least an SPF 30 sunblock (SPF 50 is even better). If you’re going to be more active or getting in the water, remember to reapply every 2 to 4 hours to ensure maximum protection. There are some excellent sun protection products on the market that make reapplying a breeze, even if you’re already wearing makeup, so there’s no excuse not to keep your skin shielded from the sun.
Don’t Forget Your Lips
Your lips are different than any other part of your body and need their own specific sun protection. While lips have all the same layers as the rest of your skin, the first protective layer, the stratum corneum, is thinner on your lips than anywhere else on your body. Your lips don’t have moisture producing sebaceous glands, meaning they rely on the moisture from your mouth which can lead to chapped, irritated lips. If that wasn’t enough to convince you that your lips are in need of extra protection, consider this: your lips do not have melanin— the body’s natural UV protector. All these factors combined make your lips vulnerable to dryness, cracking, and sun damage. Protect them with a lip balm containing SPF and reapply liberally throughout the day to keep them soft, moisturized, and safe from UV rays.
Treat Any Damage ASAP
Slip ups happen even to the most careful, but it’s important to treat damaged skin with the care it needs and avoid making the situation worse. If you do fall victim to damaged skin, whether dry, sunburned, or peeling, the best thing you can do is treat it and avoid the sun until the effects have subsided. When you have sunburnt or damaged skin, it’s easier for the cells to become even more damaged and worsen the condition. This can lead to long-term effects like dark spots, wrinkles, and even skin cancer. Keep damaged skin moisturized throughout the day and gently exfoliate away any dead cells in the shower with a soft loofah or sponge. If the damage is deeper than your typical sunburn, a visit to a dermatologist may be in order. They can prescribe specialty products to help repair your skin or refer you to an esthetician for regular upkeep.
Protecting your skin doesn’t mean avoiding your favorite warm-weather fun. With SPF, the right moisturizer, and knowledge of your skin type, you can enjoy fun in the sun all season long!
About Author: Coco Jeannine is a blogger and copywriter from Southern California. Her hobbies include wine, fashion, and photography. You can find her ranting on Twitter, read her wine reviews, or check out her professional work.
Image Copyright 123rf.com