Your skin is your largest organ. It’s also the most exposed. Although protecting your skin from the sun is perpetually important, the increased temperatures and added appeal of outdoor activities summer bring make it particularly important from mid-June to mid-September.
Sun exposure can raise your risk of sunspots, excessive wrinkles, deep lines, and skin cancer. More than 2 million Americans are treated annually for basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. And more than 68,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with the most serious type of skin cancer: melanoma.
To learn more about the condition of your skin and specific ways sun may be causing damage, contact Starkey Medical Esthetics, or book an appointment using our online booking feature.
Choose sun-safe places to spend time outdoors
Where you choose to spend outdoor time during summer months can play a major role in the health of your skin. Selecting picnic areas, parks, and beaches that offer areas of shade, for example, can make it easier to protect your skin, should you end up staying outside longer than planned or run out of sunscreen. A park that has plenty of trees or a covered picnic area provides more protection than a wide open space with only sparse coverage. Choose such places during 10am - 4pm especially, which is when the sun is brightest.
Apply appropriate sunscreen often
The best sunscreen options for summertime skin protection are broad spectrum, meaning they provide protection from both types of sunlight that can damage your skin, including UVA and UVB rays. If you’ll be perspiring or engaging in water activities, make sure it’s water-resistant. Lastly, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, applying it generously and reapplying it every two hours—or more often, if you spend time in the water or have been sweating heavily. Water-resistant sunscreen, though helpful, isn’t fully waterproof.
Wear sun-protective clothing
The apparel you wear can help protect your skin from cancer and other skin problems, too. Whenever possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and a long skirt or pants. You can also look for clothing designed specifically for sun protection, which are often lightweight and allow some ventilation, so you’ll be less likely to overheat. If you plan to spend time in a bathing suit, consider taking along a cover-up or t-shirt for added protection during some or all of your time outdoors.
Eat a nutritious diet
Eating a healthy diet won’t negate the need for external sun protection, but certain foods provide nutrients that are especially good for your skin. Beta carotene, for example, an antioxidant prevalent in sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, and mangoes, may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, while helping your skin better resist damage and disease. The antioxidant lycopene, found in watermelon, guavo, papaya, and grapefruit, may help similarly. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are believed to reduce inflammation, a characteristic strongly associated with skin cancer. Good omega-3 sources include oily fish like salmon, walnuts, and flax seeds.
If you have questions about your personal skin needs, reach out to Starkey Medical Esthetics. Michele Meinhart and our whole team would be glad to assist you.