When you switch out your winter wardrobe to shorts and sandals, be sure to also think about your skin care for the warmer weather.
It’s essential that you take care of your skin, especially in the summer, when the sun is more direct and we are outside more and exposing more skin to the sun. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime.
“Summer is a time when you get the most UV radiation. That radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer. It also causes aging,” said Jenny Nelson, MD, Avera dermatologist.
Follow these tips to keep your skin healthy:
1. Sunscreen: You need more than you think. Look for a sunscreen with an SPF 30-50, which is the recommendation from the American Academy of Dermatology.
If you usually purchase only one to two bottles of sunscreen a summer, you’re not applying enough. “Sunscreen bottles are typically 3-5 ounces. The recommended quantity of application is 1 ounce (or one shot glass) if you are an adult wearing a bathing suit. Couple that with reapplication every two to four hours, and you should be going through a bottle rather quickly,” Nelson said.
If you’re doing any swimming or sweating, reapply the sunscreen every two hours or a minimum of four hours if you’re just sitting.
2. Wear sun-protective clothing. You’ll stay cooler when your skin is covered and be protected against harmful ultraviolet rays. Plus, you won’t have to apply sunscreen to those covered areas. Look for long pants, long-sleeve shirts, hats with a wide brim, or swim shirts, which work especially well for kids. “I really encourage swim shirts for kids,” Nelson said.
3. Soothe your skin. If you do have over-exposed skin, take care to treat the sun damage. Most sunburns can be treated with Vaseline or a gentle moisturizer to ease the sting or burn.
4. Take care of your body — and your skin will reflect it. Lifestyle choices really do make a difference in the health of your skin. “Not smoking and staying out of the sun — those are the most important,” Nelson said.
5. Follow a healthy skin routine. Your skin care routine depends on your goals, Nelson says. If you’re looking for healthy skin, use a mild, non-drying soap, along with a moisturizer and sunscreen. Cleansers tend to be less harsh than soap. “If your goal is anti-aging, a moisturizer, sunscreen and retinoid have the most science behind them,” Nelson said.