10 Tips to Protecting Your Skin in the Summer
Summer is right around the corner, and with the changing season comes beach days, barbecues, swimming pools, flip-flops, and lots of time in the sun!
Being outside enjoying the warm weather is one of the best parts of this season. 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.
If you don’t protect your skin from the sun, you may end up getting burned and feeling miserable while everyone else is having fun. Besides any immediate discomfort a sunburn causes, overexposure to the sun can cause irreversible skin damage.
10 Tips to Keep Your Skin Protected from the Summer Sun
Here are some tips for protecting your skin this summer and all year round.
Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
Hydrating and cooling from the inside-out also has a direct impact on your skin and hair, as well as an overall effect on the body. 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.
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.
Sunscreen is an effective way to minimize your risk of skin cancer and signs of early skin aging caused by the sun. Except for babies under the age of six months, everyone should wear sunscreen anytime they’re outdoors. While it's nice to use a product with a higher SPF, it's more important you find a sunscreen that you like because you'll use it more.
Make sure to apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go out. Put on enough so that it takes a full minute to rub in. If at the beach, spread at least 1 ounce -- enough to fill a shot glass -- on your face and entire body. Use more if you need to for good coverage.
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.
Use Lip Balm
Your lips need sun protection, too. They can quickly get sunburned and develop skin cancer as with any other part of your body. Look for lip-specific products that have SPF 15 or higher. Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher if you have a history of lip and skin cancer. Apply the lip product every two hours or so, based on the amount of contact with the UV rays.
Cover Your Head with a Wide-Brimmed Hat
Hats with brims at least three inches in diameter are an effective way to limit your face’s exposure to UV rays. Baseball caps or other hats with a narrower brim may not protect all of the areas on your face that may be exposed to the sun, like your ears, nose, and neck.
Also consider covering the rest of your body with protective clothing. When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts, which can provide protection from UV rays. If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing is certified under international standards as offering UV protection.
Watch Your Ink
Summer sun can be tough on tattoos, so be sure to provide adequate SPF protection for your ink. After sun, be sure to apply a balm specific for repairing and preserving your tattoo, especially if it is a new one.
Protect Your Eyes with Sunglasses
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.
Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.
Avoid the Sun During Peak Hours
As much as you may want to bask in the intense heat and gain some summer color, be mindful that certain times of the day are unideal for lounging in the sun. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. Try to stay in the shade if you must be outside during that time of day—or avoid it altogether, if you can.
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.
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.
Give your skin the much-needed break with the right disinfectant. Your go-to cleanser should be one with antibacterial properties and something that is mild on your skin.
Adopt a Lightweight Dual-Purpose Moisturizer
The heavier creams and cleansers you may use to protect your skin in winter may be too much during summer. If you're not wearing a winter coat, why should your skin? Adopt a lightweight, dual-purpose moisturizer that contains sunscreen instead. Make sure that the moisturizer you choose contains a SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin against summer sunburns and other dermatology concerns.
Sunburn isn’t fun, but it can happen. Anyone with a sunburn should avoid further sun exposure. You can reduce the heat of the burn by taking a cool bath or shower, then using a gentle moisturizing cream after to minimize dryness. Apply over-the-counter 1 percent hydrocortisone ointment twice a day for a few days to help with the inflammation and irritation, being sure to avoid the eyes. You can also try an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to ease minor discomfort.