Summertime is all about having fun in the sun. And while soaking in those rays can have its benefits, too much sun exposure can be detrimental to your skin and your overall health. No one enjoys the pain, swelling, redness, and itchiness associated with sunburns, of course, but ultraviolet (UV) radiation (which comes from the sun) is also one of the leading skin cancer risk factors. So, everyone should want to avoid sun-damaged skin and take steps to minimize this risk. The question is, how? Here we’ll go over how to prevent, lessen, and reverse summer sun damage.
As much as you might dislike the feeling, look, and/or smell of sunscreen, slapping it on whenever you plan on going outside can save your skin from most of the sun’s harmful effects. Indeed, dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen year-round and also note the importance of wearing it indoors, as UV radiation can penetrate windows. At the very least, though, make sure you apply it if you’re going to spend time outside, especially on hot, sunny summer days. Also, re-apply your sunscreen as directed (typically every 2-3 hours when outside). Look for a quality sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (50 or higher, ideally). If you’re not sure what product(s) to choose, here is a helpful list of the best and latest sunscreens available.
A high-quality sunscreen is key to reducing summer sun damage, but it’s not the only way to avoid sun damaged skin. Simply covering up with clothing can help shield your skin from UV rays, too. Of course, layering up may be the last thing you want to do on a hot summer day, and doing so may lead your body to overheat. Fortunately, even wearing light clothing and accessories (i.e. long-sleeved T-shirt, hat, sunglasses, etc.) can make a difference.
Remember that shade is your friend, especially in the summer. Not only are shady spots cooler, they also act as natural force fields from UV radiation (which is why they’re cooler). Of course, some of the sun’s rays can still deflect onto your skin, so don’t rely on shade as your skin’s sole protector this summer. Also keep in mind that as the sun changes locations, there will be more or less natural shade available. To offset this, consider making your own shade with umbrellas, tents, awnings, etc.
As previously mentioned, shade comes and goes as the day progresses. This is due to the sun’s angle in relation to your location. The sun is highest in the sky (and therefore its rays are the most potent) between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M, so it’s often best to avoid outdoor activity during this 4-hour period. That said, even if you are outside before or after this range, the sun’s rays will still hit your skin as long as it’s in the sky at all. So, continue to wear sunscreen and protective clothing no matter what time you’re out during the summer.
It’s always important to keep your body and skin hydrated -- it’s especially crucial if you’re out in the summer sun for a long time. The sun’s powerful rays can quickly dehydrate you, leaving your skin more susceptible to damage while leaving you physically fatigued. Keep drinking water and spritz your skin with water on a regular basis to stay alert and protect your skin.
Despite your best efforts this summer, you may still fall prey to sun-damaged skin. If so, you should act quickly and invest in the proper skin care for sun damage to mitigate any discomfort, restore your skin’s healthy appearance, and stave off further problems. Some of these options include:
As always, consult your dermatologist before trying any of the above treatments or procedures for sun-damaged skin.
If you want to look and feel your best this summer, proper skin care must be a top priority. Let the experts at Premier Dermatology Partners help you determine the best ways to care for your unique skin. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.