Summer comes with a lot of challenges for your skin, especially if you’re battling signs of aging. Exposure to sun rays can accelerate the aging process, but at the same time, you need the sun to produce vitamin D and nitric oxide, a molecule known to reduce the chances of heart attacks.
Below, we asked Dr. Pompeyo Chavez, our expert at Soulage Wellness & Aesthetic Center in Bastrop, Texas, to explain how much sun exposure is recommended and what habits you should implement to keep your skin healthy and youthful throughout the summer.
Exfoliate on a regular basis
Your skin naturally eliminates dead skin cells every 28 days, but stress, dry air from the air conditioner, and an unhealthy diet can slow down this process.
To ensure your skin always looks its best, you can remove the dead skin cell layer either through manual exfoliation (with dry brushes) or chemical exfoliants, which break the bonds of cells.
If your skin is on the thick side and suffers from flaking, dry brushes may be your best option. For acne-prone skin, chemical exfoliants work best, as they go deeper into the skin layer, declogging pores.
Protect yourself against UV/UVA damage
Scientists don’t fully understand the effects of sun exposure on the skin and what it does to the body, but they do know that about 20 minutes per day is enough to get your daily recommended dose of vitamin D. In the winter, due to lower levels of radiation, you may be able to walk outside without sunscreen for several hours at a time.
However, while some exposure to sun rays is necessary to maintain your health, prolonged exposure can cause oxidative stress and increase your risk for photodamage, oxidative stress, and skin cancer.
There are several ways to go about protecting your skin against sun rays, including wearing a hat, glasses, and UV-protective clothing.
Creams and lotions that protect against sun damage with a sun protection factor (SPF) above 30 are usually recommended in the summer. SPF is an indication of how long you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned.
You may need to reapply your sun protection product every two hours for the best protection.
Prevent your skin from getting dry
Moisturizing in the summer can be tricky. On one hand, sebaceous glands produce more oil due to warmer temperatures, which may make it seem like you don’t need a moisturizer, but sebaceous glands can also produce more oil to overcompensate for dehydration.
If you’re afraid of greasy skin, give water-based moisturizers a try. They keep your skin moisturized, and they’re lightweight and get absorbed far quicker into the skin.
Get professional skincare advice
Skincare can be complicated. Every year, a new “miracle” skincare ingredient is touted to be the cure of all skin-related issues. However, few of the products found on the shelves are actually proven to work.
Dr. Chavez recommends only medical-grade skincare products like EltaMD and Colorescience® Finishing Touch™ products that are shown to work in clinical studies. If you’re unsure about how to protect your skin this summer, contact us to schedule an appointment for expert advice and access to proven skincare products.