Summer Time Skin Care Tips
Being out in the sun is something that most of us enjoy, but for those who live in areas where it isn’t warm and sunny every day, it’s easy to forget how important using precautionary measures is when spending time outside in the sunshine. The sun provides some extraordinary benefits to our health; however, if not enjoyed in moderation and with care, sun exposure can pose immense danger to the health of our skin, eyes, and body. Luckily, there are many easy ways to protect ourselves from the dangers of the sun while still enjoying its benefits.
Sun: Pros and Cons
The sun is a symbol of happiness. In fact, it’s not only a symbol of the feeling, it actually increases our happiness! When we’re exposed to the sun, our bodies produce more Serotonin, the “happy” hormone, leaving us in a better overall mood with less stress. Sunlight also helps to regulate sleep. Our circadian rhythm, a 24-hour cycle based on light and darkness, tells our bodies when to produce Melatonin, a hormone that causes drowsiness and is increasingly produced by the body in darkness. When we receive sunlight, it causes our internal clocks to work properly and helps fight drowsiness during the day. Sunlight also supplies our bodies with Vitamin D, an essential nutrient for calcium absorption and bone growth.
Despite its many attributes, the sun also has some blatant downsides, especially for those who don’t follow guidelines for sun protection:
- Cataracts-Exposing the eyes to sunlight for prolonged periods of time can result in the development of cataracts: spots on the lens of the eye that cloud vision. The sun’s Ultraviolet rays can also irritate and burn the eye’s lens.
- Sun Burn- Sun burn is the result of being exposed to the sun for too long without proper protection. It is characterized by red, irritated, tender skin, but it can also be accompanied by headache, fever, nausea, and blistering skin.
- Heat Exhaustion-This can occur after prolonged exposure to sun for several days without proper fluid intake. When exposed to the sun without being hydrated appropriately, the body cannot cool itself effectively. Symptoms of heat exhaustion typically include weak pulse, sweating, fatigue, headache, and dizziness. If ignored, it may cause heat stroke, which can be fatal.
- Wrinkles-UV rays can cause collagen in the skin to deteriorate, resulting in wrinkles. Although collagen can regenerate, it often does not return the skin to its original firmness and elasticity, so skin becomes aged and loose.
- Skin Cancer- Sun burn and excessive exposure to the sun without protection can also result in skin cancer, including the most serious type: Melanoma. Melanoma begins growing on the skin but can spread to other areas of the body.
How to Guard Against Sun Damage
If you’re going to work or play in the sun, the general recommendation is to avoid sun exposure during the hours when the sun is strongest: typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. However, if this isn’t an option, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend a few things you should do to keep yourself safe in the sun:
- Shade-Use natural shade, such as a tree, or create your own with a tent or umbrella. Seeking shade at least part of the time you’re outside will reduce your risk of sun burn and skin cancer.
- Clothing- Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and wide-brimmed hats also offer some protection from UV rays. Clothing with tightly-woven fabric will be most effective but should be coupled with other protective measures. Special clothing made to be worn in the sun offers UV protection as well and will be labeled to inform you of its protective qualities.
- Sunglasses- Sunglasses will shield your eyes from cataract-causing UV rays and will protect the delicate skin that surrounds the eyes. Select wrap-around sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB protection for best coverage.
- Sunscreen-Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on all skin prior to going outside, and apply a thicker layer to skin that will be exposed. The higher the SPF, the more effective the product will be in protecting your skin. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Be sure to protect your lips with a lip balm that contains at least SPF30, and check to make sure your sunscreen is not expired before application.
One last important note on sun safety is that sun can begin damaging the skin in as little as 15 minutes, and UV rays still reach the skin on cloudy, hazy days, not just when the sky is clear! We strongly recommend skin checks with a dermatologist annually.
If your skin is already showing signs of photo-aging, it is never too late to adopt good “sun hygiene” habits. Although there is no substitute for good sun habits and no “magic wand” unfortunately, the professionals at Cosmetic Laser Centers SM can help you restore your skin’s youthful look.
To start, we offer esthetician services such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion which rejuvenate the skin. Additionally we carry dozens of skincare products from luxury product lines (SkinMedica®, eltaMD®, Neova®, Vanicream®), including serums and retinols, to restore and prevent skin damage. Cosmetic Laser CentersSM offers a variety of facial sunscreens including the popular UV Clear from eltaMD® which has been featured in nearly every fashion and beauty magazine recently.
If you are looking to do even more for your skin’s sun-damaged appearance then Dr. Krysinski’s physician assistant, Sarah, also treats wrinkles with neuromodulators (Botox® Cosmetic ,Dysport®), fractional lasers, photofacials , dermal fillers (Restylane®, Juvederm®) among other treatments to combat aging from the sun and other factors.
We look forward to helping you improve the negative effects of sun exposure and bring back your most beautiful skin! Contact Cosmetic Laser Centers SM at 724-935-4200 for a consultation with Sarah in either our Warrendale or Robinson Township offices.