The summer sun is out in all its brilliance, but don’t let that affect your brilliance as you decide how to best protect your skin against those potentially harmful UV rays.
With the beginning of summer, we’re all anxious to hit the pool, soak up that glorious sunshine and get that golden goddess glow. And while all of those are great summertime desires, it’s important not to neglect your skin in the process.
Magazines have been addressing the hot topic in their summer issues, with Martha Stewart Living‘s July issue promising “Martha’s Skin-Care Secrets” and More Magazine offering the inside scoop with “Skin Doc Confidential: What They Use Themselves, What They Never Touch.”
To get an insider’s opinion on summer skin care, we spoke with Dr. Michel McDonald of Vanderbilt Dermatology about some of the new trends popping up in skincare, as well as the best ways to enjoy the summer months without facing the potentially serious consequences of damaged skin, and we loved what she had to say.
When going outside in the hot summer months, Dr. McDonald recommends trying to do the majority of your outdoor activity before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. to avoid the strongest UVA an UVB rays. She also points out that new lines of sun protection clothing are making it easier to protect your skin while you’re outside.
“I see more and more offerings of sun protective clothing in all price ranges,” she points out. “I also see sunscreens with only physical blockers titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and no chemical blockers. These can be less irritating than chemical sunscreens. I also see better sunless tanning products on the market every year.”
When it comes to protecting children’s skin, Dr. McDonald says time of day is everything.
“I recommend avoiding taking them out for activities in the middle of the day and utilizing at least an SPF 30 sunscreen,” she suggests. “There are some great ones for the face that are ‘no tears’ formulas. There are also good spray formulations available, which children often like better than lotion.”
Even when using the right sunscreen, it’s important to remember to reapply every two hours when out for long periods of time, she advises. To get kids more involved with the process, Dr. McDonald recommends having your child set the timer on your phone so he or she gets into the habit of reapplying. Plus, great sun protective clothing is becoming available for children as well.
If you’re seeking out that glow this summer, consider opting for a good sunless tanner or a lotion with a bit of a shimmer. Though that tan might feel great in the short-run, the long-term consequences make it, well, pale in comparison.
“There is no safe tan from UVA or UVB rays,” Dr. McDonald reminds. “Getting a tan or glow signifies that you have damaged your skin and increases your long-term risk for skin cancer. Also, skin repeatedly tanned from ultraviolet rays shows signs of aging faster than protected skin. This includes dark spots, increased sagging of tissue due to damage to elastin and irregular pigmentation.”
To prevent these and other undesirable side effects, take care this summer to protect your skin, and remember you can still gain the great benefits of sunlight–like Vitamin D–even when you’re taking care to to get too much exposure.