Summertime means beaches, boats, barbecues, and baseball games. You don’t want it to mean sunburn, skin damage, and increased risk of cancer! So you’ll want to change your summer skin care regimen to reflect all that outdoor exposure. Here’s what to do.
Blue skies and sunshine entice you to spend time — and lots of it — outside. But before you run out the door, the first items on your summer skin survival list should be sunscreen, sunscreen, and more sunscreen. Of course, sunscreen is important year-round, but you need to be extra vigilant during summer for two reasons. First, the sun’s rays are stronger in the summer months, increasing the potential for harm. Second, the season’s fashions — think bathing suits, sundresses, shorts, and sandals — leave much more of your skin exposed to those rays.
To play it safe, start the season with a new bottle — sunscreen carried over from last year may be less effective at blocking the sun’s rays. Choose a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. The SPF tells you how long you have protection before you’ll burn. It’s a multiplier, so if you would start to burn in 10 minutes while unprotected, an SPF of 15 should protect you for 150 minutes. Once you get into high SPFs, though, the difference in protection is minimal. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. If you plan on swimming or expect to sweat, opt for a waterproof or water-resistant sunscreen.
Apply your sunscreen before you leave the house — ideally, 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure starts. Use plenty to protect all the skin that’s exposed in summer. Remember to reapply often to maximize effectiveness. Just one sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer, not to mention put you through several uncomfortable (ouch!) days, when — face it — you’re not at your most attractive. And don’t forget your lips — the thin skin is especially vulnerable to sunburn. Always keep handy a tube of lip balm with an SPF of 15 or more.
Sunscreen is only part of your summer arsenal to protect your skin against the sun. Cover up with sunglasses, a hat, and long sleeves and pants when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. When possible, reschedule outdoor activities to times of the day when the sun’s rays are weakest (and the most comfortable!) — before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
While sunscreen is number one on your list, your skin needs additional attention in summer.
Sunless tanners. You grew up with the idea of a “healthy glow,” and nothing you hear to the contrary will make you prefer peachy-pale to sun-kissed skin. Fine. Choose sunless tanners to get the look of sun without the summer skin damage.
Smooth shaving. If your shaving habits get sidelined in the winter, now’s time for a refresher. Choose a quality razor and remember to replace the blade regularly. Skip the shaving cream in favor of a shaving lotion — lotions usually include a moisturizer to keep your legs smooth and silky. Shaving your legs from the ankle up will give you a smoother finish, but if you’re battling razor burn, switch directions and shave downward, in the direction the hair grows.
Swap moisturizers. Unless you’re a desert dweller, your skin probably won’t feel as dry in the summer as it does in the winter. The season’s high humidity levels help keep skin moist. You’ll still need a daily moisturizer, but you may want to switch from a heavy cream to a lighter lotion. Switching to a lemon or other fruity scent can help you feel more summery, too. Stay hydrated. Drink more water to help your skin glow. Even if you don’t feel sweaty, water evaporates from your skin in the heat. Keep a cup close at hand to stay hydrated and healthy.
With the right summer skin care routine, you’ll be ready for whatever fun the season has in store for you.