Ahhh... summer. Sun, sandals, swimsuits and bare skin. But with double the fun of beach hair and short-shorts comes the double the danger — wrinkles, freckles, skin thinning, sunburn, sunspots (also known as age spots), uneven pigmentation, melasma are the aftermath of sun exposure. Ninety percent of wrinkles are caused by the sun and while intentional overexposure (tanning, sunbathing) is incredibly harmful, two-thirds of all sun damage is, surprisingly, incidental (walking the dog, driving).
Thus said, sunscreen is not limited to the poolside or beach – it should be applied, religiously, on a daily basis. Opt for moisturizers and body lotions with SPF and if possible, always choose a higher SPF for your face. Don’t forget your hands especially when driving. Hands are an instant giveaway to your true age, so invest in a hand treatment that offers SPF protection.
Meanwhile, grab your favorite wide-brimmed, floppy hat and follow these easy tips to your skin healthy and cancer free this summer... and hopefully many summers to come!
- Moisturize with SPF. Applying moisturizer with SPF is essential regardless of the season. With the onset of warmer weather, however, consider switching your current moisturizer for another with higher SPF and lighter formulation to prevent sun spots, freckles, and early signs of aging. Revision Skincare’s Intellishade, an anti-aging tinted moisturizer with SPF 45, is a favorite of Modern Family’s Julie Bowen, and the winner of NewBeauty magazine’s Beauty Choice Award.
- Don’t forget your feet. With summer comes open-toed shoes and sandals, so be sure to exfoliate, moisturize, and protect exposed feet as well. Take into account that sunscreen will rub off faster than it would from the rest of your body from rubbing against the straps of your shoes and abrasive sand. Thus, it is recommended to reapply more frequently to prevent burnt feet.
- Boost your block with antioxidants. Skincare products containing antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and green tea can help reverse sun damage. Try switching your regular iced tea for iced green tea, and layer on antioxidant rich serums such as Revision Skincare’s Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
- Keep hydrated. Drink water throughout the day. If you’re on the go, try bringing a bottle and a container of fresh fruit to prevent dehydration and heat stroke.
- Exfoliate. “A light fruit-fusion peel or microdermabrasion once a month helps rejuvenate skin, leaving it soft and brighter,” says Dana Martinez, owner of Lecada Medical Artistry. “It clears up dulling, dead skin cells, which not only helps even out any discoloration, but also draws excess oil out of the pores and leaves skin less shiny.” If you aren’t a sun Goddess, and can commit to staying covered up, a chemical peel might not be a bad idea either. “It helps remove existing skin damage, clears out the pores, slows oil production, and it tightens the look of pores.”
- Treat sunburns. “It’s all about getting the inflammation down as soon as possible to curb damage in the skin and to calm redness,” Martinez cautions. “Soak a facecloth in a bowl of skim milk and ice and apply it to the area for five to ten minutes. Taking an aspirin or ibuprofen will also help with redness and swelling.”
- Treat sun spots immediately. Dark splotches on the forehead, cheeks and upper lip (also known as melasma) make their peak appearance in summer, and it’s often triggered by heat as much as sun exposure. A facecloth soaked in ice water, then wrung out and held to the neck, cools the blood that’s flowing to the face and reduces redness. Keeping a vitamin spritzer or atomizer in the ice chest is a great idea. And when dark spots do appear, consider Fraxel Laser Treatments or ask your physician for a prescription strength melasma cream, like the custom-compounded one by Trinity Medical Pharmacy
- Go easy on the eyes. The summer elements can be particularly harsh on the fragile skin around the eyes. Sunglasses are chic, but they’re also instrumental in protecting our eyes. Wear them diligently alongside a fast-absorbing, peptide-rich eye cream like Revision Skincare’s D-E-J eye cream.
So, no excuses, get with the program. Some effort on your part will result in healthy, radiant skin long after the summer glow fades.
The aestheticians at Lecada Medical Artistry can create a specially tailored skincare regimen for you to ensure your skin’s optimal health in any season. Lecada is located at 3710 West Azeele Street in Tampa. Call 813-874-2332 to schedule your appointment.[Originally published in Panache Vue magazine, May 2014]