Summer Skin Care

It’s summer! Time to shed all those winter layers and bare some skin. After nine months of covering up, it can be easy to forget the sun protection, but don’t. Skin is actually your body’s largest organ. It is vital to your overall health, protecting, providing sensory information, regulating temperature, and absorbing key nutrients while getting rid of toxins through secretion.

Unfortunately, skin also has a long memory, actually accumulating damage caused by UV radiation. As a result, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer at some point, not to mention the risk of cataracts and premature aging. Here’s what you need to know:

Clouds and cooler temperatures don’t matter. The fact is harmful rays can penetrate on the cloudiest days, and non-summer seasons (fall, winter, and spring) actually account for at least 20% of our overall UV exposure.

Skip the tanning bed. Many people still believe that tanning beds offer a safe alternative to the sun. Not so. In fact, just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

The best sunscreen is the one you’ll use. With the wide selection today in many forms from wax sticks to spray, even tinted, find what you like and stick to it. Look for sunscreens that are water resistant, have an SPF of at least 15, and provide broad-spectrum protection (both UVA and UVB).

Don’t be stingy, and don’t wait until you’re already outside. Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure. A good rule of thumb is that the amount should take you a full minute to rub in. If that’s lotion, think one ounce or enough to fill a shot glass on your face and body.

Think physical. Clothing can offer very effective sun protection, starting with a good broad-brimmed hat. Today you can even find clothing with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating that tells you what factor of UV light it will absorb (UPF 30 means only 1/30th of UV light will penetrate the fabric).  Even if you don’t purchase fancy UPF-rated clothing, go to your closet. Selecting articles made of unbleached cotton, darker colors, or tight weaves will give you a better measure of sun protection.

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