Even in San Luis Obispo, where the temperatures are always on the mild side, summer is a time when we all tend to head outdoors and spend more hours in the beautiful summer sunshine. Getting some sun is great — a little sunshine can lift your mood and provide your body with an important dose of vitamin D. But when it comes to the sun’s UV rays — especially in the summer when the sun is its most potent — it’s easy to overdo it. And that means your skin can wind up getting damaged.
Too much UV exposure is a primary cause of premature aging, including wrinkling and sagging skin, and it can also cause sunspots and other areas of discoloration that can make your skin look worn out. Plus, UV exposure increases your risk for skin cancer, regardless of whether or not you have fair skin or light-colored hair. Does that mean you need to avoid the summer sun and spend all your time indoors? Of course not. It just means you need to take a few extra precautions to make sure your skin stays protected. Here’s what to do to keep your skin healthy and fresh all summer long — and beyond.
Know when to stay in
The sun is at its most intense between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. To keep your UV exposure to a minimum, it’s a good idea to avoid direct sunlight during these hours if you can. If you must be outside, limit your sun exposure and stay in the shade as much as possible.
Wear sunscreen every day
Yes, even if it’s cloudy or outright pouring rain. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more, and use at least an ounce (about the amount it would take to fill a shot glass) for your arms and legs — more if your torso is exposed. Reapply it throughout the day, especially after swimming or if you’ve been perspiring a lot.
Sure, summer may be all about bathing suits, tank tops, and short shorts. But skimpy clothing means lots of skin is exposed to the sun. Consider adding a swimsuit coverup when you get out of the pool or ocean, or top your tank with a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, at least while you’re outdoors. Lightweight pants or a long skirt are good choices for midday; save the shorter stuff for the evening or late afternoon when the sun’s rays aren’t so strong.
Rock a hat
We’re talking the kind of hat with a big, all-around brim to keep the sun from shining on your scalp, ears, face, and neck. If a baseball cap is more your style, be sure to apply sunscreen to your ears and the back of your neck.
Use plenty of moisturizer
Sun, dry air, and water exposure all tend to dry out your skin. Use a lightweight moisturizer to help your skin retain moisture and suppleness, and look for facial moisturizers that have SPF 30 or more “built-in” to their formulas.
Drink lots of water
Skin gets most of its hydration from the inside, and that means it benefits from lots of water. If water is too plain for your liking, fruit juices and other non-caffeinated beverages are good, too. Just avoid coffee, energy drinks, and green and black teas that contain caffeine, which can actually draw moisture out of your body.
Review your medications
Some medicines can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, including some anti-aging products, acne medicines, and antidepressants. Ask your doctor if any medicines you're taking might increase your risk for sunburn. Do the same for any vitamins or nutritional supplements you're taking.
One more way to keep your skin looking its best year-round: Schedule routine skin care treatments to slow down the signs of aging and help skin stay healthy. At Open Canvas Laser, we offer the most advanced skincare options and state-of-the-art treatments, all customized for every patient’s individual needs. To learn more about the treatments we offer or to schedule a consultation visit, book an appointment online today.