THERE are many things that are great about the sun. It just feels good to be outside, exposed to warmth and fresh air. Time in the sun gives that general sense of wellbeing. Many people love to exercise out- doors, even if it’s just going for a walk. And we all need the vitamin D you get from it that has a positive impact on your health.
However, your concern for healthy skin care during the summer time is important these days. The UV index is increasing and so is its resultant damage to the skin. Here are seven steps to protecting your largest—and most exposed—organ:
7 Steps to protect your skin in summer
1 My first recommendation is, of course, to use sunscreen. There is no real need to use sunscreen that has more than SPF 50. Going beyond that gets you only minimal additional protection.
2 It’s also important to remember that your head is exposed to the sun as well. Since it’s difficult to get sunscreen onto your scalp, the best way to protect it is just to wear a hat.
3 Depending on the colour and other variables of your clothing, when you are outdoors you may still need sunscreen over areas that are clothed. If you are wearing thin, light-coloured clothing you may need to apply sunscreen even to covered areas of your body.
4 The other part of your body you need to be careful with during the long hours under the sun is your eyes, which are also easily injured by the sun. This is a concern not just for the summer time but throughout the year. Using sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB is important. Long-term damage from the sun can lead to eye conditions such as macular degeneration. So make sure you don’t neglect your eyes this summer.
5 Remember to use topical antioxidants at night to help reverse any sun damage. If you have age spots, you can ask your dermatologist about hydroquinone and retinol. However, there are also natural alternatives such as liquorice, vitamin C, vitamin A, resveratrol, grape extract, and various other products that can even be found in your local neighbourhood drug store. Using antioxidants to help reverse damage done during the day is essential for overall skin health.
6 Antioxidant therapy should involve more than just topical creams or serums. The most important antioxidants you want to add to your skin regimen come from the nutrients you get in foods like fruits and vegetables. Your skin needs nutrients to grow healthy and look vibrant. When your diet is full of processed foods and sugars, your skin tends to look dull. With excess sugar in your blood from a high-sugar diet, you are more prone to getting sun spots and wrinkles. Your diet is as important as your topical skin regi- men to the long-term health of your skin. A diet high in fruits and vegetables keeps your skin more resilient against the damages of the sun from the inside out.
7 My last recommendation: Remember to hydrate your body and your skin. Water is an essential part of all cellular functioning. Cellular repair requires water to make sure the repair process occurs at an optimal level. After a fun day in the sun, drink lots of water to provide your skin cells with some healthy topical moisturizers.
In the long run, if you make sure to take the necessary steps in skin health prevention, you can help to slow down the skin aging pro- cess while still being able to enjoy the sun.
More Inspiration: Check out this cool article on how to use nature to de-stress!
Author: Dr. Julie T. Chen, MD, is an integrative medicine physician with her own practice in San Jose, CA. She is a regular contributor to Optimyz Magazine.