With the weather warming up, you’re probably finding yourself spending more and more time outside exposing your skin, our body’s largest organ, to the sun’s potentially harmful rays. There are many things you can do to enjoy the sun yet keep your skin healthy, protected, and looking young.
Here are some easy do’s and don’ts for you to remember as you head into the warm weather:
1. DO apply broad-spectrum sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays.
Use one with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s rays, and reapply it every two hours. Keep in mind that the sun is at its strongest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and your car windows don’t filter out UVA rays.
2. DO use lip balm with an SPF rating.
Lip balms with a base of coconut oil or shea butter are some great natural options for locking in moisture. Avoid medicated lip balms, which may irritate your sensitive lip mucosa.
3. DO wear sunglasses to protect your eyesight, and avoid squinting, which causes wrinkles.
Opt for polarized lenses, which are darker and reduce glare.
4. DO keep skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Infusing your water with fruit like orange slices, blueberries, and lemons gives you a boost of antioxidants. These help protect your skin from sun damage and free radicals. Caffeinated drinks will dehydrate you, so avoid those when you’re enjoying the heat of summer.
5. DO dust cornstarch over areas that are prone to chafing, such as the inner thighs, tummy, and underarms.
Sweating can combine with skin folds to create painful red, irritated areas. Keep these areas dry and comfortable by sprinkling cornstarch on them.
6. DON’T forget to cleanse, especially in the evening following your summer activities.
The grime, sweat, leftover sunscreen, and makeup can block pores, leading to breakouts.
7. DON’T apply retinoids (like tretinoin and retinol) before going into the sun.
Retinoids can make your skin sensitive and more prone to burns and irritation. Discontinue all retinoids one week prior to going on a beach vacation. Also avoid undergoing chemical peels or aggressive exfoliation if you plan on being in the sun.
8. DON’T spray chemical sunscreen onto your children.
These sprays create a cloud of sunscreen (which may contain hormone-disrupting agents) that your children might breathe into their developing lungs. If you use a spray, spray it into your hand and rub it onto your child’s skin. Better yet, use a physical sunblock from a tube, and slather it generously over your children’s skin to protect them from getting burned.
9. DON’T scratch bug bites!
This can lead to infection if you break the skin, and bacteria from under your fingernails can get into the wound. In addition, the healing skin could scar.