Summer is right around the corner. Many of us around the U.S. have been hiding beneath layers and layers of clothing all winter long. Now, with the warm summer weather upon us and the fun outdoor activities that we have planned, our skin will be exposed to sun, chlorine, salt water, and more.
So how can you prep your skin for the months ahead?
From The Inside Out
Start taking vitamin C and vitamin B-complex. Vitamin C helps combat free radicals, which cause cancer. Vitamin B helps strengthen the skin, hair and nails. Try to reduce your intake of carbohydrates, sugars and salt, as they tend to cause bloating and give the skin a tired, dry look.
The Skin You’re In
Exfoliate! As part of your daily routine, you should be using a body wash with a mild exfoliator to help remove dry and dead skin. This helps to unclog pores and gives the skin a fresh and radiant glow.
Next, especially if you live in a warm climate all year, visit your dermatologist and have a full-body check up. It is important to make sure that there are no suspicious lesions on your skin that may require action. You certainly do not want to worsen any skin condition by exposure to the summer sun. Being pro-active is key in combating skin cancer.
Use a daily moisturizer with at least SPF 15 to protect yourself from sunburns. If you plan on going to the beach or pool, make sure to use SPF 30 or higher on all exposed skin.
There are common areas of the body that oftentimes get neglected when sunscreen is applied, including the back of the neck, ears, eyelids, tops of hands and feet, and lips. Make sure to focus on those areas too! Get a good lip balm with sunscreen in it and remember to apply lotion to all areas of your skin that will be exposed to sunlight. In addition, make sure you pick a long-lasting sun block that will uphold sun, water, wind, sweat, sand and chlorine without the need for multiple reapplications.
When you’re shopping around for sunscreens, look for ones that contain lightweight ingredients … not ones that are heavy with oils that will clog pores and cause breakouts. Some of the best oil-fighting creams include zinc and titanium.
If you have existing scars, you should cover those up with either a swim shirt or extra SPF of 30+ to help protect them from becoming more visible and prominent.
Thinning or no hair? No worries…just remember to protect the skin on your head with a hat or SPF30+ lotion. It is all too common that people forget about their heads and get scalp sunburns which can be quite painful when it comes to everyday activities such as brushing one’s hair and using a hair dryer.
After sun exposure, use cocoa butter and aloe-based lotions to help nourish, cool and replenish your skin, as well as to help hold onto that summer glow.
Last, but certainly not least, stay cool and hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. If your body is dry, your skin will be too.
[Editor’s Note: First and second degree burns are more common than you think during the summer months. These burns often cause blisters, welts and scarring. If you or a loved one gets a severe sunburn, seek medical attention immediately. During the healing process, remember to ask your doctor about scar fading creams that will help reduce the appearance of scars that can result from these types of serious sunburns.]