7 Summer Skincare Tips for Protecting Your Skin From the Sun

Jun 18, 2024 16:23:49PM

With summer well underway, you’re probably heading outdoors for pool time, backyard barbecues, and picnics in the park. Just remember that more sun time requires more diligent skin preparation and care, as UV rays can damage unprotected skin in as little as 10 minutes, according to research. Repeated and prolonged exposure to solar radiation can lead to burns, skin cancer, and photoaging — which causes redness, blotchiness, wrinkles, pigmentation, decreased elasticity, texture changes, and spider veins. Photodamage occurs in the skin’s deepest layers, so it can take years before the damage is visible.

Instead of taking these chances, consider following these summer skincare tips to keep your skin safe throughout the season's fun!

1. Check the UV Index and Avoid Peak Times

The UV Index measures ultraviolet (UV) radiation, a high-energy ray that can damage your cells and cause cancer. The index ranges from 1 (low) to 11 (extremely high), with greater UV levels having more potential for skin damage and requiring less time to cause harm.

UV exposure varies on different days and times, so checking the UVI forecast before jumping into summer activities can help you avoid peak exposure. If the UV forecast shows a three or higher for the day, you need to wear sunscreen at a minimum. UV rays tend to be the strongest from 10 AM to 4 PM, so try to stay in the shade during those times or take extra precautions.

2. Wear Sunscreen — And Remember to Reapply!

Sunscreen is one of the most basic yet essential precautions to protect your skin from sun exposure. No sunscreen can block UV exposure completely, but dermatologists say an SPF of at least 30 can block up to 97% of harmful UV rays. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going out to allow the product to absorb fully, and remember to reapply at least every 2 hours. Don’t miss your scalp, ears, neck, chest, lips, or the tops of your feet, and have a friend help you cover your back if it’s exposed.

Don’t underestimate the power of the sun. It can do damage:

  • In rainy weather
  • In overcast conditions
  • Through reflections
  • Through car windows

You can even get sun damage without a sunburn to show for it. Play it safe, and always wear sunscreen. 

3. Care for Your Skin From Within

The things you put in your body also contribute to your skin health. Choose whole foods chocked full of nutrients, including foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein, to support skin health and repair. Snack mindfully, opting for healthy, low-sugar options that support your wellness. You can also take oral sunscreen supplements, which may provide antioxidants that prevent sun damage on a molecular level. 

The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking at least 15.5 cups of water daily for men and 11.5 cups for women for radiant, healthy summer skin. If you struggle to drink enough water, we recommend a water enhancer to make it more enjoyable! Avoid alcohol, which can cause damaging inflammation and dehydration, and smoking, which deprives the skin of the nutrient-rich blood flow and oxygen it needs to thrive. 

4. Take Advantage of Shade and Protective Clothing

One of the easiest ways to enjoy outdoor time without the destructive effects of the sun is to simply cover up. Lightweight, protective clothing like sun shirts, swimming suit cover-ups, maxi dresses, long-sleeve wetsuits, and hats provide excellent coverage without being too hot. An alternative is to find shade beneath a leafy tree or bring an umbrella or pop-up shade so you have some respite from sun exposure.

5. Use Sun Aftercare

After a long day of sun exposure, your skin needs nourishment and moisture. Sun aftercare with ingredients like botanicals, mint extract, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and cooling aloe vera is a great way to rehydrate the skin and minimize inflammation and redness. For best results, apply a moisturizing product like this right after exposure and again after a cold shower. This should happen in addition to the daily moisturizing regimen your skin needs each morning and night.

6. Know If Your Medications Cause Sun Sensitivity

Specific prescription and non-prescription drugs can make you more sensitive to the sun or make your skin more susceptible to damage. According to the FDA, the categories of drugs that have this effect include some antibiotics, diuretics, retinoids, oral contraceptives, and cholesterol-lowering drugs, to name a few. Ask your doctor if your specific medications put you at risk of increased sun sensitivity. 

7. Visit a Dermatologist If You Notice Sudden Skin Changes

Skin damage can happen very quickly and may require immediate attention. To notice changes more easily, you should check your skin at home at least once each month. If you have a new or existing mole that changes in color, shape, size, or texture, make an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as possible.

We hope these tips help you enjoy a worry-free summer without the drag of a painful sunburn or the anxiety of sun damage. Have fun out there!

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