How to Protect Your Skin from the Elements of Summer

In the heart of summer, you make the most of the long days, warm temps, and fun outdoor activities. Whether you’re hitting the pool, the shore, or your backyard, you need to keep your skin in mind as you shed layers to soak up rays.

While exposing your skin for 10-15 minutes of sunlight daily does boost your essential vitamin D levels, too much of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage your unprotected skin. 

Timothy Scott Beck, MD, and his team at Life Point Medical in Clayton, Georgia, want you to enjoy your summer, but keep your skin healthy and protected at the same time. Here are some of their best tips.

Be liberal with sunscreen

A broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher applied every single day is a simple way to protect your skin.

A higher SPF level — like 30 — is warranted on days when you intend to spend lots of time in the sun, such as a trip to the beach or a long hike. In the summer, the sun’s rays are more intense and the days are longer. This means you have a lot more time for sun exposure. Plus sweating, swimming, and extended periods of time mean sunscreen wears off, so regular reapplication is necessary. You should reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. 

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. 

Stay covered during the hottest, brightest part of the day

The hours between 10am and 4pm are when the sun’s harmful UV rays are at their brightest and most direct. Seek shade or indoor activities during these times whenever possible to protect your skin and keep it as healthy as possible.

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 yourself from the UV light that can still reach your skin. 

Keep yourself covered

While hot temperatures may make you want to bare it all, wearing clothes made of tightly woven, breathable fabrics help protect you from the sun’s powerful rays without you having to apply large quantities of sunscreen.

Linen and cotton make good fabric choices. Choose loose fitting and lightweight long-sleeve shirts, pants, or long skirts instead of tank tops and shorts, and don’t forget to shield the skin on your face with a wide-brimmed hat. Quality sunglasses with polarized lenses that block UV rays are also a good idea to protect your eyes.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Good hydration all year long is an important practice, but it’s especially essential in the summertime. Hot, humid days accelerate water loss, leaving both your body and your skin prone to easy dehydration. 

No need to diligently track every last glass of water you drink; simply evaluate 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. 

All liquids contribute something to your overall fluid intake, but certain choices are better

from a health and hydration standpoint. Soda, juice, and iced coffees have their place, but water is truly the best choice. If you crave some pizzazz, squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice into your water glass.

Hydration improves with good product choices as well. Besides being a good source of water, summer staples like cantaloupe, watermelon, blueberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes are rich in the kinds of antioxidants that promote collagen renewal in your skin. You may also choose IV hydration services offered at our office to boost your hydration status, especially if you’re feeling fatigued or you partied a little too much.

Adopt healthy skin care habits

Your skin’s pores can get more clogged in summertime, when sweat, sunscreen, chlorine, sand, and other environmental contaminants are prevalent.

Exfoliate daily to help cleanse your pores and allow for better surface hydration from moisturizers and lotions. Do skip exfoliation if you get a little too much sun and choose instead a soothing application of aloe or another botanical lotion formulated to reduce redness and inflammation. 

At a consultation with Life Point Medical, you can learn more ways to protect your skin and be checked for signs and risks of skin cancer. Call our office or use the convenient online tool to schedule an appointment today.

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