Skin Care for Florida Summer

skin care for summer in floridaIt is critical that you take care of your skin, especially in summertime when the UV levels are at their highest and most damaging.  Sunburns, as well as cumulative sun exposure over time, will lead to skin cancer.  Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US.  One in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime, some of them will die from it. Not only can sun exposure lead to skin cancer, but it can also cause premature aging and dull, wrinkled skin.  Here are some easy tips to help your skin this summer.

  1. Cleanse – Cleansing is the first step in a good skin care regimen.  Most people get oilier in the summer.  If this is the case for you, you might consider switching to a foaming cleanser, gel cleanser, or a cleanser with salicylic acid in it.
  2. Exfoliate – Exfoliators are great at removing dead skin cells which make our skin appear dull and rough.  Dead skin cells harbor pollutants, buildup of products and daily grime.  Not only  do exfoliators make our skin look more radiant, but they also help skin cells regenerate more quickly.  Just be careful, since they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays.  It might be safer to use them at night.
  3. Hydrate – Everyone knows that drinking water helps your body function properly, flushes toxins out of your body, and prevents dehydration, which can occur in the hot summer months.   Hydration is equally as important for the skin.  The sun can dry out your skin especially if you get sunburned. Chlorinated pools also wreak havoc on your skin.   While you might not need a heavy cream or petrolatum based moisturizer in the  summer, you can switch to a lighter lotion based or gel moisturizer.
  4. Protect – It is very important to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the summer sun.  A broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30-50 that has both UVA and UVB protection is best.  You must apply 1 oz to cover your entire body (1/4 teaspoon or nickel size just for your face) every day and every 1-2 hours during the day.  If you are using a physical sunscreen, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, you can apply it right before you are exposed to the  sun.  If you are using a chemical sunscreen, like avobenzone, you must apply it 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.  Some makeups and moisturizers now come with SPF.  Don’t forget lipstick, lip balm or chapstick with SPF 30-50 as well.  Other necessary accessories for protecting yourself in the sun are a wide brim hat, sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection, and sun protection clothes with UPF 30-50.  Antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, can help protect the skin by limiting the production of free radicals, which can damage skin cells and decrease collagen production which leads to aging and wrinkling.
  5. Sunless tanning – If you must have a tan for summer, the only safe tan is a sunless tan.  Dihydroxyacetone is the ingredient in sunless tanning creams and spray tans.  It safely coats the outer dead skin cells. Stay away from tanning beds, as they are more deadly than the sun.  Also, avoid tanning pills, as they are not FDA approved and can cause bad side effects
  6. Sun burns – If you do get a sunburn, there are things you can do to lessen the symptoms; however,  you can never reverse the damage.  Aloe vera can help soothe the skin. Cool compresses and cool showers can also soothe the skin. You must drink plenty of fluids and stay well hydrated. It is important to keep the skin well moisturized, but  not with petrolatum based moisturizers as they can lock in heat.  NSAIDS and hydrocortisone 1% cream can alleviate some of the redness and inflammation. If you get blistering or develop fevers, chills, confusion or pus, you should go to the emergency room.

Wishing everyone a fun, safe summer! Don’t forget to schedule your yearly skin check.

Sincerely,

Dr.Jennifer Trent, MD

Posted in: Skin Care

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