Now that the much-anticipated summer season is finally in full swing, you’re probably doing everything you can to make the most of longer days, warmer temperatures, and consistent sunshine.
But even if there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as shedding your layers to hit the beach and soak up some rays, spending too much time in the sun can harm your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
While it’s true that exposing your skin to 10-15 minutes of sunlight each day is the best way to boost your vitamin D levels, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can also damage your unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to keep your skin healthy and protect it from the harmful UV rays through the warm summer months and beyond. Here are a few of our best tips.
Apply (and reapply) sunscreen
Including sunscreen in your daily skin care routine is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect your skin in the summertime, when the days are longer, the sun’s rays are more intense, and you’re more likely to spend a substantial amount of time outdoors.
If it’s cloudy or you don’t plan to be outside much, a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher offers ample protection. But if you plan to spend a good amount time in the sun, go higher — opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Proper application means using enough sunscreen to thoroughly cover all areas of exposed skin, including your face, neck, ears, the backs of your hands, and the tops of your feet if you’re wearing open shoes.
Because sunscreen wears off over time and in the water, reapply it every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
Avoid the midday sun
Easier said than done, right? Still, when it comes to protecting your skin and keeping it as healthy as possible through the hot summer months, you can really up your game by staying inside — or at least in the shade — between 10am and 4pm, when harmful UV rays are more intense and direct.
While staying in the shade is incredibly helpful when your plans take you outside in the middle of the day, you should still wear sunscreen to protect your exposed skin from the UV light that can still reach your skin.
Another way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays — and avoid having to apply large quantities of sunscreen every day — is by wearing clothes and accessories that provide more complete coverage.
Stay cool and protect your skin when the temperatures soar by wearing clothes made of tightly-woven, breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. Choose loose and lightweight long-sleeved shirts, pants, or longer skirts instead of tank tops and shorts, and don’t forget to shield the skin on your face with a wide-brimmed hat.
Keep yourself well-hydrated
While you should always strive to keep yourself adequately hydrated, it’s especially important in the summertime, when hot, humid days accelerate water loss, leaving both your body and your skin prone to easy dehydration.
Contrary to popular belief, staying hydrated doesn’t require you to keep track of how much water you consume throughout the day. Instead, simply go by the color of your urine — if it’s clear or light yellow, you’re hydrated, but if it’s cloudy or dark yellow, you’re dehydrated. Aim to keep the color of your urine as light as possible all day, every day.
Although all liquids count toward your fluid intake, water is always a healthier choice than soda, juice, or any other sugary drink. If you’re craving carbonation, try seltzer water. If you’d like a bit more flavor, try squeezing some fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice to your glass.
And don’t forget that your diet can also help you stay hydrated, provided you eat plenty of produce. Besides being a good source of water, summer staples like cantaloupe, watermelon, blueberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes are also rich in the kinds antioxidants that promote collagen renewal in your skin.
Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, repeat
Gentle and thorough skin cleansing is more important than ever in the summertime, when sweat, sunscreen, chlorine, sand, and other environmental contaminants clog the surface of your skin with dulling debris.
Daily exfoliation helps clear your pores, allowing better surface hydration from moisturizers and lotions. If you forget to wear sunscreen one day, skip the exfoliation process and soothe your overexposed skin with aloe or another soothing botanical lotion formulated to reduce redness and inflammation.
To find out how you can protect your skin and keep it healthy all year long, call our AIDM office in Hoboken, New Jersey today. Or you can use the easy online tool to schedule a visit with Dr. Forouzesh any time.